I first discovered Deborah Coates when I stumbled across her novel Wide Open, which is the first book in this trilogy. From the first page, I was enthralled and entranced with the paranormal romantic thriller about a young female soldier back from Afghanistan who can see and interact with the dead, trying to solve her own sister’s mysterious death. Now, in the sequel, Deep Down), I am again reminded why Coates is one of my favorite new authors. These are no ordinary “ghost stories” by any means, bordering as well on the urban fantasy genre with a dash of romance thrown in for good measure.
Coates reintroduces us to Sargent Hallie Michaels, a feisty young soldier now back from wartime who is able to see, sense and interact with the dead—and, well, other things that exist beyond our own reality, let’s just say. Set in the heart of America in South Dakota with a real down-home country feel, the story takes us on a breathless thrill ride from the moment Hallie is asked by an elderly neighbor and friend to look into the mysterious black dogs that have been harassing and stalking her. The dogs are just the tip of the iceberg, leading to a mystery far beyond the scope of even Hallie’s understanding and experience, for these strange dogs are harbingers of death—and the REAL Death shows up later wanting something from Hallie she is not willing to give.
Just as in Wide Open, Coates combines amazing storytelling with nonstop suspense and a budding if tightly wound sexual tension/romance between Hallie and the local straitlaced deputy, Boyd Davies, who is an integral part of the arrival of Death on their collective doorstep. The South Dakota environment and landscape plays a powerful role as well, adding depth to the story and to the characters who try to make a living and a life there.
Deep Down again combines contemporary and urban fantasy with paranormal thrills and romantic suspense in a most satisfying way, never scrimping on story or character as we embark with Hallie and Boyd into Hell itself where they come face to face with the Grim Reaper and their own mortalities.
Can’t wait for the third and final installment to this amazing and highly entertaining trilogy.