Downside Ghosts, Book 1
Author: Stacia Kane
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Del Rey
SUMMARY: The world is not the way it was. The dead have risen and constantly attack the living. The powerful Church of Real Truth, in charge since the government fell, has sworn to reimburse citizens being harassed by the deceased. Consequently, there are many false claims of hauntings from those hoping to profit. Enter Chess Putnam, a fully-tattooed witch and freewheeling Debunker and ghost hunter. She’s got a real talent for nailing the human liars or banishing the wicked dead. But she’s keeping a dark secret from the Church: a little drug problem that’s landed her in hot and dangerous water.
I bought a copy of Unholy Ghosts because I love Stacia Kane's writing. I didn't know what to expect of her new book because there has been much made of the main character having an addiction to drugs. I personally think it's a case of "much ado about nothing". Stacia's new book is a gritty, original urban fantasy with characters that live in a world turned upside down when the spirits of the undead rise with a vengeance, killing and wreaking havoc until the Church of the Real Truth makes it all "right" again for the citizens who have lost friends, family, their government and their way of life.
Chess, the main character, is a witch working for the church debunking those who claim to be harassed by ghosts, which if true, will gain them some righteous bucks since the church has guaranteed a ghost free world. Is it no wonder that Chess is addicted to pills, smoke and powder? The author doesn't glorify drug use. This isn't a case of drugs, sex and rock roll for entertainment. It's Chess trying to cope with her past and her present in the only way she knows how. I've never been addicted to drugs or alcohol, but I want through a period in my life where getting up in the morning was no easy task. I look back at that time and realize it's rather fuzzy to me because I was moving from day to day but not really living. I think the author portrays Chess and her additions with uncanny realism.
The characters in Unholy Ghost are vivid and fascinating. First impressions are at times correct and at other times dead wrong. Terrible is an enforcer for one of the local drug lords. When we first meet him in the book he gives the impression of a typical mafia goon with more muscle than brains. As I got farther in the book he became one of my favorite characters. His outer shell serves a purpose in the world he lives in, but he's so much more. Lex is another local drug lord that wants something from Chess. He's a mystery in some ways, but doesn't pretend to be something other than he is. He's sexy and badass. I found myself fascinated with him, but at the same time wanting to yell at Chess to run fast and far.
Unholy Ghost has mystery, fast paced action, magic gone wrong and it takes a look at all sides of human nature. There is evil and then there is what appears to be good, but may be something else entirely. The book has more than a little horror thrown in the mix, along with suspense. I loved it, and can't wait to read the next two books in the series, which will be coming out July 6 and July 27th, 2010.
You can read the first five chapters of Unholy Ghosts here.