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Deborah Coates

Deborah CoatesDeborah Coates lives in Ames, Iowa, and works for Iowa State University. She grew up on a sometime dairy farm in western New York, went to a couple of different universities and got a couple of different degrees. She has lived in Indiana, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Iowa. She’s been a farmhand, a factory worker, a statistician, a researcher, an educator and an IT professional. She has dogs. Deborah Coates’ short fiction has appeared in Asimov’s and Strange Horizons, as well as Year’s Best Fantasy 6, Best Paranormal Romance, and Best American Fantasy.

Taylor County

Taylor County — (2012-2014) Publisher: When Sergeant Hallie Michaels comes back to South Dakota from Afghanistan on ten days’ compassionate leave, her sister Dell’s ghost is waiting at the airport to greet her. The sheriff says that Dell’s death was suicide, but Hallie doesn’t believe it. Something happened or Dell’s ghost wouldn’t still be hanging around. Friends and family, mourning Dell’s loss, think Hallie’s letting her grief interfere with her judgment. The one person who seems willing to listen is the deputy sheriff, Boyd Davies, who shows up everywhere and helps when he doesn’t have to. As Hallie asks more questions, she attracts new ghosts, women who disappeared without a trace.  Soon, someone’s trying to beat her up, burn down her father’s ranch, and stop her investigation. Hallie’s going to need Boyd, her friends, and all the ghosts she can find to defeat an enemy who has an unimaginable ancient power at his command.

Wide Open: Impressive debut

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Wide Open by Deborah Coates

Hallie Michaels, a soldier in Afghanistan, is sent home to Prairie City, South Dakota, for ten days of compassionate leave when her sister Dell dies in a car accident. Rumor has it Dell committed suicide, but Hallie doesn’t buy it. And since her own recent brush with death in the war, Hallie can see ghosts, including Dell’s. Hallie is determined to find out why Dell really died and enable her sister to find peace — and she’s only got ten days to do it.

Hallie is a fantastic protagonist: sympathetic yet flawed, honorable but full of jagged edges. She is thrust back into the civilian world at the beginning of Wide Open and finds that she’s just not used to it anymore. Her temper burns a little too hot. She is annoyed when friends do things that would be foolish in the war zone, such as when her friend Brett moves too slowly. S... Read More

Deep Down: Coates has a great knack for character

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Deep Down by Deborah Coates

Hallie Michaels is back in civilian life for good, but she’s not sure yet what she wants to do with that life, and she’s loath to be tied down to any one option. An old Army friend offers her a job that would take her away from her small South Dakota hometown again. She’s tempted to take it, but when she checks on her elderly neighbor Pabby Pabahar at her father’s request, Hallie discovers a mystery that may keep her in town for a while.

Pabby’s property is surrounded by black dogs that no one but Pabby and Hallie can see. The dogs, as it turns out, are harbingers of death; they appear when someone’s “time” approaches. What’s really weird is that Pabby knows it’s not her time. Her mother was psychic and predicted Pabby’s date of death — still some years in the future.

Death omens showing up at the wrong time turn out to be t... Read More

Strange Country: A memorable rural fantasy

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Strange Country by Deborah Coates

In the TAYLOR COUNTY series, Deborah Coates has blended a wide-open prairie landscape, eerie magic, and great characters to create a memorable rural fantasy. She has said that Strange Country is the final book in the series.

Hallie Michaels has moved into the Pabahar place and finds herself staying inside its protections more often than she cares to admit. She knows one day there will be another reckoning with Death, and she’s in no rush to have that conversation. But cryptic messages start showing up, telling her the time to face her fear is approaching.

Meanwhile, Deputy Boyd Davies — Hallie’s maybe-boyfriend — responds to a call about a prowler only to have the woman shot dead by a sniper right in front of him. When the police comb her house, they find an older body and some unusual sto... Read More

More speculative fiction by Deborah Coates

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsWhat Makes a River — (2011) Publisher: There’s a Thing in Lake Michigan and it’s after Beth’s roommate. Beth wants someone else to take care of it. But when no one steps up, not even the mysterious Paul, who does this kind of thing for a living, Beth realizes that she’ll have to do something herself before it’s too late.fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews


Cowgirls in Space — (2011) Publisher: They called themselves the Junkyard Girls, used to ride drill team in the summer parades all over Nebraska. One hot July day in the back of the junkyard where they practiced, Big Patti found a Thing. The Junkyard Girls–and the world–would never be the same….


fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsChainsaw On Hand — (2013) Publisher: “This is what winter’s like in South Dakota on the plains–you wake up and it’s full dark still, maybe five o’clock in the morning and you know without ever throwing the covers off, without ever getting up, that it’s at least twenty below zero outside.” Chelly used to think she knew her ex-husband Bobby better than anyone. She used to think he knew her. But that was before he started seeing angels. Or maybe fairies. Or really handsome trolls. Now she has to figure out what it means to live in South Dakota in the winter with a chainsaw on hand.fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews


Magic In A Certain Slant Of Light — (2013) Publisher: Nora knows science. She knows what’s going to happen before it happens. She knows that Jeff will leave her and she doesn’t know what to do about it.


fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews46 Directions, None Of Them North — (2013) Publisher: Aliens are landing in Fairbanks, Alaska on June 21st. One lone high school student knows it’s going to happen because — text messages on her cell phone, duh! She’s determined to get there. Somehow. Best friend? Boy friend? Dad? Mom??? Someone’s going to help her, aren’t they? This ebook also includes secret bonus story, Flyboy (well, not really secret because I just told you about it, plus it’s listed in the Table of Contents, but the point is, it’s in there).fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews


How To Hide Your Heart — (2013) Publisher: Max hunts nightmare Things in the dark and mostly alone. Then, he meets Beth who’s too skinny and too shy and no one ever notices her. Beth knows about Things. She doesn’t want to. She pretends she doesn’t. But both Max and Beth know that sometimes you have to do what needs to be done. And sometimes you don’t have to do it alone. How To Hide Your Heart is a pre-quel to the story What Makes A River, originally published at tor.com and also available for the Kindle.


fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsThe Whale’s Lover — (2013) Publisher: Tish has come to the end of the universe to hunt the leviathan. She’s come to escape her past. On Pretoria, in the middle of a vast and endless ocean, it turns out the one thing you can’t escape is yourself. And when you call the leviathan, sometimes the leviathan is calling you.


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