Saturday, March 24, 2012

Book Review: Wide Open

Wide Open by Deborah Coates is a fantasy-suspense book with a tenacious heroine. Sergeant Hallie Michaels is sent home on a ten-day compassionate leave. One day she’s fighting in Afghanistan. The next she’s home to attend the funeral of her sister. But she doesn’t come alone. The ghost of fellow soldier, Eddie Serrano, comes with her. And when she lands, her sister Dell’s ghost joins.

Wide Open is a book with ghosts. But it’s really about whether Hallie can prove the sheriff wrong when he says Dell committed suicide. In fact, almost everyone believes it was suicide. Hallie believes it was murder and she’s got ten days to prove it. The only person who seems willing to stick by her is the deputy sheriff, Boyd.

Bit by bit, Hallie begins to piece together a puzzle of a huge company that claims to make rain from air at will, a strange cult, people willing to kill for riches, and a scared community. And more ghosts. She also begins to wonder how Deputy Sheriff Boyd shows up wherever she goes.

At the beginning of the book, I was taken aback by the ghosts. I wasn’t expecting a ghost book. But I soon realized it’s not a book about ghosts, but about a woman trying to solve her sister’s murder and in the process save a beat-down community, all within a short time and while somehow staying alive so she can go back to Afghanistan and the war. She also has to figure out what secrets Boyd’s hiding and how he always seems to know where she is.

The author, Deborah Coates, brings the people and countryside to life. She makes the reader feel like they know these people. If you’ve ever lived out in the country, you probably do know folk like them.

Amazon Hardcover and Kindle
Barnes and Noble Hardover and Nook

I give Wide Open by Deborah Coates a rating of Hel-of-a-Storyteller because she tells a story of magic, death, ghosts, and fighting to survive and makes it all believable.
FTC Disclaimer: Wide Open was sent to me by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, in New York. This did not influence my review. Frankly, I don’t believe in ghosts. But I know there are people who do believe in ghosts. And while reading a book with ghosts in it, I can suspend my disbelief and enjoying reading a book with a ghost or two or ten in it. I like seeing how authors handle ghosts in books. Coates didn’t write the standard ghosts. They didn’t talk to Hallie or torment her or play tricks on her. They were there, needing her to do something, but not telling her what that something was. I’m glad I don’t see ghosts, although there are times I’d like to have one last talk with some in my family who have died. I do, however, plan to come back and haunt some folk. Uh huh. I have some tricks up my sleeve. Y’all probably think I’m talking about haunting family members, but I’ve come to know a lot of folks on the Internet. Uh huh.


  1. I love the fact that you've distinguished "a book with ghosts" from a "ghost story". I'd probably read the former, but not the latter. And the comment about knowing country folks resonates!!!

  2. This book sounds really good to me. Thanks, Helen, for the review. And the cover is gorgeous.

    I feel some connections to my own with the setting of a beat-down community and was taken aback by the sheriff's name, as it's my protagonist's too, and you don't often see it. Excellent review!

  3. Hi Helen and Deborah .. that sounds a very interesting book - especially the mix .. in this day and age.

    One for the TBR list definitely - cheers Hilary

  4. It sounds like a good premise. Thanks for reviewing it for us, Helen!

    I'd love to go haunting with you. Look me up in the aether, will you? Of course, that won't be for another 40 years or so for both of us...

  5. great review and the book sounds interesting.

    As usual, your disclaimer is a highlight. :)

  6. For some reason, I thought this book was fantasy. It sounds more like a mystery with ghosts in it.

  7. Interesting mix for a book.
    I hope it's a long time before the ghost of Helen haunts my blog!

  8. That is a lot of different elements in one book.

  9. That's a great review! Thanks. I never heard of Deborah Coates or Wide OPen. Now I know.

  10. I don't believe in ghosts either, Helen ... unless you count the voices in the head ... in which case they're everywhere ... 'be quiet, all of you! I'm trying to write a comment ... '

  11. I'm not much of a believer in ghosts either. If they're there, I've never felt them. But then, I suspect there are other things to do besides watching me at my computer.

  12. Very interesting plot idea! I wonder how she comes up with this idea.

    The Spinster’s Vow


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