Thursday, March 22, 2012
Wide Open by Deborah Coates
Hallie doesn't understand anything, it seems. She doesn't understand why or how Dell died, and there seems to be controversy about it at the sheriff's office. Some people are saying that Dell committed suicide and Hallie knows that can't be true. She doesn't understand why there are a series of mysterious fires in the area; fires that seem intentional and focused like arson but are started by lightning. She doesn't understand how a man she dated a few times before entering the military is now the head of a new company that is employing more and more people in the area, but none of the employees can describe exactly what the company does. She can't understand whether she likes or dislikes the new deputy in town, Boyd, who seems a part of it all. Most of all, she can't understand why so many women in the area have gone missing in the last few years while she has been away.
Deborah Coates has written a knock-your-socks-off story in this debut novel. It is hard to characterize, as there are elements of feminism, of magic, of life on the ranches and farms of South Dakota. Coates has created one of the strongest heroines imaginable in Hallie, a women who has seen a lot and is not ready to roll over and give in to despair. It has crime and fantasy, all the elements mixed into a glorious tale that grabs the reader by the throat and won't let go. The story builds to a gripping finale, one that leaves the reader gasping. This book is recommended for both mystery and fantasy readers.