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Fantasy Review – Deep Down

DEEP DOWN by Deborah Coates

Review by Cyndi J. (cyndij)



You could call this urban fantasy but there’s no urban…let’s say it’s rural fantasy. It’s the second book featuring ex-soldier Hallie Michaels, who died (and was revived) in Afghanistan, and came home to solve her sister’s murder in WIDE OPEN, which I reviewed earlier.  You’ll want to have read that one first before starting this.  Everything seems to have settled down for Hallie; she’s got a tentative relationship with Deputy Boyd Davies and there are no more ghosts. Now she just needs a job. Living with her dad on the ranch is okay, but both of them need their space.

Elderly neighbor Pabby needs some help on her ranch, but when Hallie visits she sees black dogs hanging around at a distance from the house. Pabby is astonished that Hallie sees them – they are harbingers of Death, kept at a distance by Pabby’s hex ring because Pabby is determined it’s not her time to die. But one black dog is fascinated by Hallie and actually talks to her.

Meanwhile, Boyd is being haunted by ghosts from his past, and even as they coalesce around Hallie, he’s not ready to talk about it with her. But the black dog tells Hallie there is a reaper loose in the world, one with its own mission, and she’s going to have to deal with it. Hallie is going to have to travel into the world of Death itself to fix the crack that was left open.

I really like the world Coates built in this series. You can readily imagine the open countryside of South Dakota, the cold, the wind, the endless stretches of road with nothing on them.  The paranormal events are vivid and easy to believe in. Hallie’s got iron determination and just refuses to be pushed around by anyone, whether they’re from this world or not. I also liked how the these events, while a new story, are enabled by what happened in the last book.























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