Wide Open

Deborah Coates
Wide Open Cover

Wide Open


Hallie Michaels is a sergeant in the US military in Afghanistan. She has ten days home leave to her rural South Dakota community following the death of her sister. We soon discover that Hallie can see ghosts following a near death experience in Afghanistan.

Upon arrival home Hallie discovers that people think her sister Dell killed herself but Hallie doesn't beleive that to be the case. The setting of rural South Dakota is an interesting one where it seems everyone knows everyone else and their business. Being unfamiliar with the environment I can't really work out whether the characters are true to life or outrageous stereotypes. I have read reviews from people that suggest the characterisation is pretty accurate.

The number of ghosts Hallie sees increase and we have the entrance of a police officer who up unitl late on in the book you're not sure what side he is on and whether he is a help or hindrance. Hallie uncovers more missing women and associated ghosts and is in a race against time to find out what happened to her sister before she has to return to Afghanistan.

The best thing about the novel is that it is a decent page-turner and the pacing is pretty quick. What I didn't like about the novel is that there is no depth to the novel at all. Whilst it's quickly clear who the villain of the story is there is little attempt at explanation as to how the supernatural 'works'. I'm also a pretty broad minded reader and I like 'grittiness' in a novel but I found the consistent swearing a little off-putting, enough to detract from enjoying the book.

I don't think I will bother with the sequel.