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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Unholy Ghosts (Downside Ghosts Series #1)

Unholy Ghosts (Downside Ghosts Series #1)
by Stacia Kane
(picture and blurb from barnesandnoble.com)

The world is not the way it was. The dead have risen, and the living are under attack. The powerful Church of Real Truth, in charge since the government fell, has sworn to reimburse citizens being harassed by the deceased. Enter Chess Putnam, a fully tattooed witch and freewheeling ghost hunter. She’s got a real talent for banishing the wicked dead. But Chess is keeping a dark secret: She owes a lot of money to a murderous drug lord named Bump, who wants immediate payback in the form of a dangerous job that involves black magic, human sacrifice, a nefarious demonic creature, and enough wicked energy to wipe out a city of souls. Toss in lust for a rival gang leader and a dangerous attraction to Bump’s ruthless enforcer, and Chess begins to wonder if the rush is really worth it. Hell, yeah.  
My thoughts:
Chess lives in a world where God doesn’t exist, where ghost are horrible entities that have only a desire to do harm and the only way she can escape the loneliness and nightmarish memories of growing up is to use drugs.

Chess feels that the only thing in her life that she takes pride and integrity in is her work. Chess is a church witch, an employee of  The Church of Real Truth where she has been trained to banish spirits and solve haunting mysteries. She has been dealt horrible life circumstances having no family, being tossed from abusive foster home to abusive foster home. She is constantly making, or rather forced into making bad choices.

When Bump, her drug supplier request her help with a haunting he has, Chess must do the job for him, or who knows what the circumstances will be. She is accompanied by a frightening tank of an enforcer named Terrible that helps her solve the mystery of Chester Airport. Too bad the help she is giving Bump inundates all aspects of her life. I was constantly wondering and guessing the outcome of the story – only to be happily surprised by the ending.

I cannot help but love Chess. Her ability to keep parts of her soul protected and find integrity within a corrosive world is admirable. She fights for what she believes in, sells herself short and is learning to trust others. Chess treats all people the same, she can see people for who they are and is very just in her judgment of people. Chess can bring the best out in those around her. I admire her good qualities. I want her to find happiness and the peace that she feels she doesn’t deserve or cannot have.

Stacia Kane writes hauntingly descriptive drug withdrawals, emotional pain, joy and fear. Drugs, alcohol, abuse and addiction are all subjects that I do not have any experience with so you would think it would be difficult for me to relate to Chess, but its not. Kane puts the reader directly in Chess’ body and mind. I found my heart racing, hands shaking and stomach lurching right along with Chess’ withdrawals, fear and excitement. As you see Chess and Terrible blossom into profound characters of diverse and dynamic acquaintance’s you will find beauty in a dark world.

Would I recommend Unholy Ghost as a teen read? No I wouldn't. If I had to rate this book it would be rated R. There is very much swearing (F-bomb), casual sex, drug abuse/addiction and some violence. Unholy Ghost is not for the faint of heart, but I believe any true paranormal urban fantasy fan will enjoy it. I actually think this book would make a great TV series.