cover image Strange Country

Strange Country

Deborah Coates. Tor, $26.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7653-2902-8

Serial killings and macabre motives are the order of the day in this solid third adventure (after Wide Open and Deep Down) featuring psychic Hallie Michaels, whose return from the land of the dead has opened her life up to a plethora of supernatural incursions. Someone is assassinating residents of West Prairie City, S.D., and Hallie and her boyfriend, deputy sheriff Boyd Davies, wind up square in the killer’s sights when Boyd uncovers magically powered stones at two crime scenes. His findings also implicate five townspeople—including the first two victims—in a cabalistic confederacy forged 20 years earlier. Meanwhile, Hallie is vexed by a series of mysterious notes and phone calls that she believes are related to her ongoing pas de deux with Death. Coates plots this novel as a conventional murder mystery, with the usual paranormal activity serving as colorful filigree to a well-wrought tale of Midwestern noir. Unresolved subplots suggest that further adventures are in store for Hallie and Boyd. (May)