Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Deep Down by Deborah Coates

Call it horror. Call it fantasy, or even a supernatural mystery. But,  Deborah Coates' Deep Down has to be called riveting and powerful.

In Wide Open, Coates introduced Hallie Michaels, a twenty-three-year-old Afghanistan war veteran who returned home to South Dakota after her sister's death. And, after her own death. Hallie was dead for seven minutes in Afghanistan before she was resuscitated. And, afterward, she could see ghosts.

That doesn't mean she's prepared for the events of Deep Down. Hallie is antsy, and doesn't know if she should stay at her father's ranch, although she's developed strong feelings for Deputy Boyd Davies. They're two of a kind, touched by something not of this world. While Hallie can see ghosts, Boyd's dreams of the future can come true. And, then even normal life starts to unravel when Hallie stops in to check on a neighbor. At Pabby's, Hallie finds black dogs surrounding the yard. They can't cross the iron bars that were placed in a circle around the yard years earlier. Pabby and others warn Hallie that the black dogs are harbingers of death. But, Pabby knows it's not her time yet. And, one of the dogs finds Hallie fascinating.

And, then Hallie comes across an accident. She's the first one on the scene, and Boyd responds to the call. But, what Hallie and Boyd sees is an accident that happened seven years earlier, in Iowa, when Boyd's wife was killed. And, the man who died in the truck that day, Travis Hollowell, was there, demanding that she ask Boyd about his wife. When Boyd responds by leaving town on a search, Hallie is left to deal with the turmoil. The black dogs mean a reaper is coming to take someone. Hollowell continues to haunt Hallie with accidents, people are disappearing, and, finally Death appears. Just a normal couple days in Hallie Michaels' life, "Or as close to normal as someone who has been blown up, attacked by a reaper, and has talked to Death could feel." Even then, it's not over. Boyd's return means the attacks get stronger, until Hallie is forced to follow a black dog into Death's realm in order to return the world to normal.

Deep Down is a powerful, unforgettable story. Every scene is vivid, and there's non-stop action, fueled by desperation. Hallie Michaels is the linchpin to this story, a remarkable character. She's a little lost, not knowing her next role after leaving the army. But, she's strong, honest, angry, and determined to take care of the people she loves. She knows it's important that there be a line between the living and the dead. When that line gets too thin, she'll go to hell and back to make things right. "Black dogs and reapers and now Death. Yeah, her life wasn't weird at all."

It's hard to forget Hallie Michaels and her unsettled world. And, it will be equally hard to forget one  of the black dogs. Coates is a superb storyteller, sucking the reader in, and never letting go. Fantasy? Horror? Whatever you want to call Deborah Coates' books, Wide Open, and now Deep Down, they're worth reading.

Note: Coates' first book in the series, Wide Open, is a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel.

Deborah Coates' website is www.deborah-coates.com

Deep Down by Deborah Coates. Tor. 2013. ISBN 9780765329004 (hardcover), 304p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.


Jane R said...

I just finished reading Coates's first book, Wide Open, a couple of days ago. I'm still not sure what to think of it and that's an unsettling feeling for me. Hallie is a compelling character and I especially wanted to know more about Boyd. This series is definitely outside the box for me but I know I'll be reading Deep Down in the near future.

Lesa said...

Her books are unsettling, Jane, and Deep Down even more so. Take a break, and then see what you think when you read this one.

Charlotte said...

A few questions for you today.
Are you settled in your home now?
Do like the town you are living in?
Do the fur babies like their new home?
Have you decided to stop the weekly give away? Have missed the fun of waiting to see if by chance I might win.
Hope to find answers if you have the time.
Thanks again for this great blog. I look forward to it each day.
Have a good day.

Lesa said...

Hi Charlotte,

Yes, I am settled in my new home. And, Evansville is terrific. Once the weather gets nicer, I'm looking forward to having time to really explore the downtown. As of right now, we've had cold or rainy weather most of the time. A little sun will be nice!

Ah, the fur babies. It has taken them a little time to adjust. The apartment has just as many rooms, so they have space that they could separate, but there have been some territorial issues, and a few "accidents". Since I find them when I come home at night, I don't know who is responsible. Hopefully, they'll settle in.

I'll be doing giveaways again soon. I didn't bring a lot of my books with me. Instead, I gave most of them away. So, I've had to stockpile a few. Giveaways should start any day now!

Thank you, Charlotte.

Charlotte said...

Spring will be here before you know it, well here in the south it will be soon. It might not be as soon as you would like.
I am glad you are happy where you are. So sorry about the fur babies. Hope they settle in real soon. No one likes to come home and clean up after them. When you know they know better. Glad you are starting the give aways again. I really have enjoyed them, as you very well know:) I should have waited a little longer, and I wouldn't have had to ask about it. You did have a lot of books that you were giving away. It would have cost a few dollars to have moved them all.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.
Take care of your self and your fur babies.

Karen C said...

All I can say is WOW. Your review has definitely piqued my interest and I've added both books to my TBR list. Our library is pretty small, but maybe I'll get lucky.

Susan said...

Lesa, I read Wide Open because of your year end list, and I loved it. I am so glad you recommended it. I'm delighted to see the follow-up in the series, and it is going right on my book want list! I really like how practical Hallie is about seeing ghosts.

Lesa said...

Karen, I hope you're able to get these books at your library. Great, Susan! I'm so glad you liked Wide Open. Don't you love Hallie? She's so down-to-earth about everything.