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Wide Open (Wide Open #1)

3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  830 ratings  ·  177 reviews
Wide Open by Deborah Coates is the first book in a series of “startlingly original” (Booklist) contemporary fantasy novels set against the sweeping prairies and desolate byways of the American Midwest, creating “a rural backwater where the normal and paranormal seamlessly merge.” (Publishers Weekly)

When Sergeant Hallie Michaels comes back to South Dakota from Afghanistan o
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 13th 2012 by Tor Books
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Community Reviews

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3.5 stars

Sergeant Hallie Michaels can see ghosts. Arriving home to Rapid City she is greeted at the airport by the ghost of her dead sister, Dell. Hallie has travelled for twenty-four hours straight from Afghanistan to arrange her sister's funeral. The cause of her death is thought to be suicide but Hallie is unconvinced. When Hallie starts digging a little she is shocked to discover that Dell's death was not the only recent, unexplained death in the area. Up against forces she can barely grasp
Deborah Coates debut novel Wide Open is written with a spare elegant style, uncomplicated, purposeful prose much like her protagonist Hallie Michaels. Its a story about the intersection of life and death, power and sacrifice, self realization and stubbornness. Its a modern fantasy, a mystery and a ghost story. Its very good.

Hallie has returned to South Dakota on a 10 day leave from her army posting in Afghanistan because her sister Dell has died in what seems to be a one person car accident. Kno
Hallie Michaels, a soldier in Afghanistan, is sent home to Prairie City, South Dakota, for ten days of compassionate leave when her sister Dell dies in a car accident. Rumor has it Dell committed suicide, but Hallie doesn’t buy it. And since her own recent brush with death in the war, Hallie can see ghosts, including Dell’s. Hallie is determined to find out why Dell really died and enable her sister to find peace — and she’s only got ten days to do it.

Hallie is a fantastic protagonist: sympathet
*** Originally posted to: Bookish Blog

Wide Open is a compelling, character-driven mystery with a splash of supernatural that will have you hooked from page one with its evocative and flavorful prose, hot South Dakota atmosphere, and brilliantly complex characters. With her excellent storytelling, Deborah Coates smoothly weaves ghosts, secrets, and magic into a heart pounding tale of one woman's quest to uncover the mystery behind her sister's death. Deeply moving and bone chilling, it's a book
Rachel Neumeier

As it happens -- just so this is all out in the open and everything -- Deb and I have the same agent, and I’ve met Deb a couple of times, and hey! She’s a dog person! She actually owns a GERMAN PINSCHER. You know nobody just stumbles into owning a German Pinscher. You have to be a real dog person to even know they exist.

Naturally I wanted to love her book!

Whew! Because I did. WIDE OPEN’s being marketed as an urban fantasy — well, contemporary, because it sure isn’t urban — or a paranormal, and
Amy Plum
I enjoyed this book! Really loved the main character, Hallie, and how I-fought-in-Afghanistan kick-ass she is.
Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews)
You may also read my review here:

I love discovering new authors, and I especially love it when I discover one that will go on my autobuy. You know the feeling I’m talking about, where in the first few pages you know you’re really gonna like a book? That’s how I felt with Wide Open. Wide Open is Hallie Michaels’ story, and right away, you know you’re in for something unique. It begins when Hallie returns to South Dakota from Afghanistan to attend her siste
Megan (Book Brats)
When I was invited to participate in the blog tour for Deborah Coates’ debut WIDE OPEN, I didn’t know what to expect. I hadn’t heard much (anything) about this book before I received the synopsis in my email. Well, it called to me and told me, “Read this book!” The plot, the setting, the ideas – the synopsis is really good in so many ways. I heartily accepted Tor’s offer and received my copy of WIDE OPEN and dove in.

WIDE OPEN is the story of young soldier Hallie, a South Dakota native who has co
Tiffany Reisz
Very gritty modern fantasy. I think Dean Koontz fans would enjoy this one a lot. More guns. Less twee.
Hmmm. So this is one of those books that I was enjoying well enough one day, but when I picked it up the next, it no longer worked for me.

I liked some of it. I liked the premise of the series. I liked the genuine good guy love interest. But I got tired of all the awkward dialogue. It's deliberately awkward, but I got tired of all the stumbling over words and failing to say important things.

And while I liked that the supernatural premise of the series isn't quite explained, I didn't like that plo
Qwill / The Qwillery
Hallie Michaels sister has died. She returns to South Dakota on compassionate leave from the war in Afghanistan. She only has her leave to figure it out what may have happened and she's not exactly thrilled about seeing ghosts including that of her sister, Dell. She's sure that Dell has not committed suicide.

Hallie is a woman of action and very few words. She's angry and often acts without thinking, but her actions elicit responses that give her clues to what is going on. At times I found Hallie
All Things Urban Fantasy
A tough, self-contained heroine, I was invested in Hallie and her mythology immediately. The ghosts that silently haunt her made for a believable and compelling story, but the unfolding conspiracy and villain (to steal a quote from one of the characters) "seem[ed] so.. unlikely."

With all the Urban Fantasy I enjoy I like to think that I’m pretty adept at suspending disbelief, but perhaps that skill makes it all the more jarring when I can’t. I loved Hallie. Her silent suffering and in-your-face w
Jenny Q
A very imaginative chiller thriller combining some pretty cool elements--ghosts, the starkness of the prairie, the dynamics of small-town life, weather anomalies--for a spooky, fast-paced mystery. There's a hot cop, too :) The story clips along at a fast pace and features quite a few characters, all of which seem to either be hiding something or avoiding Hallie as she searches for answers in her sister's mysterious death. Only she seems to be the only person who thinks it's mysterious; everyone ...more
Carolyn (Book Chick City)
Reviewed by Rebecca for

WIDE OPEN by Deborah Coates is an interesting book that blends crime fiction with fantasy, creating a unique story with an ending that can’t be predicted.

It begins with Hallie Michaels returning from Afghanistan on compassionate leave from the army for a mere 10 days. Her return is not under happy circumstances, as she has been called home to bury her sister, Dell. Everyone tells her that her sister committed suicide, but Hallie is convinced otherwise
Ramsey Hootman
Props to Tor for publishing something so far out of the box. Wide Open is urban fantasy... but not really. It's also a mystery... but not really. Partly literary... but not really. I'm not much of a UF or mystery reader, so props to the author as well for keeping me staring at the words on my glowing cell phone screen in bed, long after I should have been asleep.

I think, at its core, Wide Open is a traditional ghost story. Actually, it reminded me of a kind of adult version of the ghost stories
By the clearest definition of the word, Hallie Michaels is a soldier. She’s tough, she’s blunt and she prefers action to words. In Wide Open, she’s also home on a ten day leave to mourn the death of her sister, Dell. From Afghanistan, she’s brought more than war wounds and the violent memories of her seven minute death. Also tagging along is the ghost of her friend and fellow soldier and when she leaves the tarmac, she discovers that Dell’s ghost has joined the fray. It’s a ghostly group that on ...more
S.M. Reine
This book. THIS BOOK.

Hallie is on leave from the Army because her sister committed suicide. While in Afghanistan, she died for seven minutes, and now she can see ghosts. She's suffering from some PTSD, a lot of grief, and the belief that there is no way in hell that her sister would have killed herself. It sounds like a pretty typical setup for an urban fantasy novel - and it is - but the way this book is written rocked my face off. It was gloomy, moody, atmospheric, and just so deliciously dark
Hallie Michaels is home from Afghanistan, but not for a good reason. She has been given ten days compassionate leave to come home to bury her sister, Dell. She arrives home full of grief and straight from the war zone where she was recently involved in a firefight that left her dead for seven minutes. Hallie was brought back to life, but you can't say it didn't affect her. She can now see and feel ghosts, and her combat friend and Dell both go with her everywhere.

Hallie doesn't understand anythi
Not much of a title, but the book itself I found face-paced and intriguing. I feel like I've read a lot of "dead relative" stories lately, and very few of them have conveyed so accurately not the sorrow and weeping but the dullness and rage that (in my experience) accompany the loss of someone close to you. So kudos for that, and for showing the main character tackling her grief by stubbornly and angrily solving the mystery around her sister's death. If only everyone could be lucky enough to get ...more
Right now I'm browsing through different mysteries to see if there are worthy candidates for my mystery book club. Either I'm getting really cranky, really worried about how people will like books, or unlucky, or maybe there's just not much top-shelf stuff out there.

Wide Open is a "rural fantasy", as opposed to urban fantasy. A young soldier comes home to South Dakota for her sister's funeral. It seems to have been a suicide, but there's no way she'll believe that, so she starts asking questions

This book is a festival of mediocrity.

It's not *bad* - it's just stunningly dull, for an urban fantasy murder mystery full of ghosts and magic. I didn't know that was possible.

It's not a long book, but reading it was an epic slog. 200+ pages of precious little happening - main character being irrationally angry; main character having an extended internal monologue about how much time has passed since the start of the book and how little time she has left to solve the puzzle, people i
I found this book to be a real page-turner. The plot was nicely twisty, the characterizations very good, and the atmosphere was brilliantly well done- perfectly moody and often sinister.

I'm giving it 4 out of 5 stars, though, because some of the questions we were encouraged to ask at the beginning never really got answered, even though the plot as a whole was resolved. The Big Bad's magical prowess was not adequately or coherently enough explained for my taste, too- and there were several red he
I got this book a while ago on an Amazon Kindle deal, and I thought from the description and the other positive reviews that I would really like it. I tried, but while it had a few nice aspects, overall it did not engage me.

I did like the setting as South Dakota is not a standard setting for a paranormal book so that was refreshing. Also the main character doesn't know/ believe in magic and the supernatural so the reader and the main character are discovering the rules of the world together. It
Too much unnecessary swearing. Too bad.
Book Reports

Since her own brush with Death in Afghanistan fairly recently, Hallie sees ghosts. While home on temporary leave for the purported suicide of her sister Dell, she now sees her too. Only no one really believes it was suicide.

And so the mystery begins.


The cover is attractive, but, though it looks like a stormy night with a huge tree front and center, the book is about storms and lightning and murder in South Dakota. I'm not absolutely sure, but it seems to me that South Dakota is
So this one was recommended by Charles de Lint so I thought I'd give it a try. The charm of this book was in the character of the heroine. The mystery was so so and I'd pretty much figured it out early on and parts of it were predictable but I loved the heroine.

She was home on compassionate leave from the army to attend her sister's funeral. She was tough and competent. I liked that she wasn't girly. She wasn't TSTL. She didn't need a guy to do her thinking or her fighting for her. I also enjoy
Deborah Coates’ debut novel WIDE OPEN will leave you rushing to turn the pages too fast as you try to work out the mystery surrounding Hallie Michaels’ sister Dell’s death. This book was un-put-downable. Not a word, I know, but I devoured this chilly ghost story in one sitting and was constantly kept on the edge of my seat trying to put all the pieces together.

Hallie has arrived back Stateside on compassionate leave from the army after learning of her sister’s death. She exits the plane with gho
Grace Fonseca
After reading that blurb, I got curious about this book. Was so happy that I got to read it. It really sounded great, it was really good and interesting.

What I liked about Hallie in particular is that she doesn’t run from her problems, but rather goes straight towards them and confronts them, even if it doesn’t always go as planned.

Hallie is devasted to lose her sister and it very clearly shows in the book. She wants answers, but either they don’t have the answers or they do, but they can’t
K. Bird
I liked Wide Open so much that I finished it and immediately went and ordered the 2nd in the series, Deep Down.

Wow, in a brusque, stoic way.

From the opening paragraphs, this book pulls you body and soul into the stoic, terse, windblown prairies of South Dakota ranch and farmlands. Hallie, the protagonist, is a non-nonsense, emotionally repressed, angry daughter of a small town rancher. When we meet her she is returning home on sudden leave from her army posting in Afghanistan due to the death of
Gwyneth Stewart
It's rare to find a book that serves up a new twist on an old favorite, in this case ghost story, but Wide Open really delivers. It starts with Sgt. Hallie Michaels being called home from duty in Afghanistan because her sister has died. But when she arrives at the airport, she is met by her sister--or at least her sister's ghost. Ever since Hallie had a near death experience while on patrol in Afghanistan, she can see ghosts. It's too much to say she can communicate with them. Mostly, they just ...more
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I grew up on a farm in western New York. I currently live in central Iowa. I work in IT by day and train dogs and write books by night. I live with a Rottweiler, a German Pinscher and a lot of books.

I am a fan of flyover country, wide open spaces, weather, books, working dogs, gutsy heroines and steadfast heroes.

My first novel, Wide Open, was published by Tor on March 13, 2012. My second novel Dee
More about Deborah Coates...

Other Books in the Series

Wide Open (3 books)
  • Deep Down (Wide Open, #2)
  • Strange Country (Wide Open, #3)
Deep Down (Wide Open, #2) Strange Country (Wide Open, #3) What Makes a River How to Hide Your Heart Magic in a Certain Slant of Light

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