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Fantasy Review – Strange Country

Strange Country by Deborah Coates

Review by Cyndi J. (cyndij)


STRANGE COUNTRY is the third of the Hallie Michaels trilogy. I reviewed WIDE OPEN and DEEP DOWN previously. Picking up only a short while after DEEP DOWN, Hallie is fretting about the request she received from Death, but it disappeared before she could give an answer.  She plans to say no as soon as she can figure out how.  The black dog Maker, who is a harbinger of death except when he’s watching Hallie,  is still hanging around. And Beth, the sister of Boyd’s late wife, shows up again with a demand Hallie really doesn’t want to listen to. With all that pending, there’s another problem.

Boyd was on patrol when he received a report of a prowler from Prue Stalking Horse. As he’s checking out the place, a sniper shoots Prue dead on her front porch.  As the police start their investigation, two state agents show up and one of them has some interesting questions.  Hallie is also determined to find out what’s happening, and she’s asking questions of Laddie Kennedy, who’s saying that the dead are now talking to him all the time instead of just occasionally.

There’s a connection between Prue, Laddie, and a couple other local people, and of course it has to do with magic. Magic that harks back to the first book.

Excellent world-building, good pacing, and really good characters. I love Hallie’s grit, stubborness, and “get the job done” mentality. Boyd is still a bit of an enigma to me, but I can believe in him, and I liked that Coates included his POV this time. Minor character Laddie gets some growth. I wasn’t sure why Agent Gerson was in the plot,  however –  she didn’t have much to do. I especially liked how Coates loosely tied together all the various happenings in the area, but left some mystery behind.  This is a nice trilogy, with a strong mystery whodunit element along with the supernatural.




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