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WesternSFA
Deep Down
by Deborah Coates
TOR, $16.99, 304pp
Publication Date: February 11, 2014
This is the sequel to “Wide Open.” Hallie Michaels was in the Army when she died for several minutes during an operation in Afghanistan . After the experience, Hallie can see ghosts. She spent the first book dealing with her sister’s murder by a would-be evil sorcerer. Click here for the review of “Wide Open.”

She’s still in South Dakota staying with her father and sometime-dating the local deputy sheriff, Boyd. A neighbor, an elderly woman named Pabby, asks Hallie to help her with some black dogs that are prowling her property. The dogs turn out to be harbingers – of death. Pabby explains her property is warded against death and that it isn’t her time. But she can’t leave. Interestingly enough, one of the dogs takes an interest in Hallie and talks to her.

The problem in the story is a renegade reaper. One whose job is to simply bring in those whose time has come. But this reaper wants to live forever – as a human again. And he’s figured out how to do that. Unfortunately, it will probably destroy all of mankind. But Hallie has a very good idea of how to stop him. The only issue is whether she can do it and still survive.

There are times when I appreciate the use of hyperbole in a story; exposition can have its place, as well. I’ve even enjoyed some Stephen King stories with a surfeit of descriptors. But I really respect a story told concisely and sparingly. And I respect these stories. Coates also has a tremendous ability to use dialogue to put the reader in the moment. If this sounds like your kind of story, you shouldn’t miss these. ~~ Catherine Book

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