Unholy Ghosts (Downside Ghosts #1)
by Stacia Kane | Harper Voyager (May 2010)
Ebook, 352 Pages | Urban Fantasy
Carolyn’s Original Review: June 2010
Original Rating: 4.5/5
Carolyn’s Take: I think I have squealed enough about this book, so let’s just finish by saying that I cannot wait to read the rest of the series – I’ve heard it gets even better! Unholy Ghosts is a brilliant addition to the Urban Fantasy genre and I can’t recommend it enough!
I’ve read so many raving reviews about this series that I knew I had to read it. Stacia Kane has created a very unique urban fantasy world, with ghosts as the monsters, but more compelling is her unique characterisation.
Strangely, the very thing that I eventually loved about this book was also the reason it took me a little while to get into it a first. Our two lead characters are Chess and Terrible and they’re more like anti-heroes than heroes. The creation of these characters by Kane felt like a brave move and puts this series apart from other urban fantasy series.
Our heroine, Chess is a debunker for the church, responsible for hunting ghosts and investigating hauntings. She’s also a drug addict. Chess is a raw character, a mix of pain, too many issues to mention and at the same time brave and believes in the purpose of the church and protecting innocent people. She’s fascinatingly complex, and despite her addictions it’s a testament to Kane’s writing that I couldn’t help but both fall and route for her.
The two other lead characters worth of mention are Terrible (yes Terrible) and Lex. Both men are heavily entrenched in the drug underworld of Downside and work for rival drug lords. Unwittingly Chess’s drug debts lead her to become involved and indebted to Terrible’s boss Bump. Before she knows it she’s up to her elbows in a ghost investigation that is most definitely not sanctioned by the church and could end up with her losing her job or worse.
Enter Lex, who is naturally working cross purposes to Bump and Terrible’s motives. Against her will, Chess ends up in a dangerous situation somehow needing to work to both gang’s demands and still remaining true to her role at the church.
Again Terrible’s characters demonstrates Kane’s clever writing ability, here with a hero that is described as terribly ugly and is Bump’s top enforcer. A job that involves killing, murdering and torturing Bump’s enemies and yet I still really liked him! Lex, equally as ruthless, but the opposite to Terrible in outward appearances, he’s rather hot! Which adds an interesting dynamic to the story.
The overall mystery of the book is great too, I didn’t guess who the baddy was and it’s always nice for that to be a surprise, the action is fast, gritty and evenly paced. Making sure I did not get bored at all!
This is a fantastic start to a new urban fantasy series and despite all her flaws I loved Chess. Roll on book two…
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