Review: Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane

27 Oct

Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane
Mass Market: $7.99
Del Rey (May 2010)
ISBN: 978-0-345-51557-5

Favorite Lines: “Mr. Dunlop’s ghost gave her the finger. Asshole. Why couldn’t he just accept the inevitable? He’d been an ass in life too, according to her records.” (p. 1)

For a week in 1997 ghosts attacked and brutally murdered humans all over the world. By the time the ghosts wielding razors, glass, ropes and hatchets were contained, only a third of the world’s population remained. And those people only survived because one group had stepped forward and forced the ghosts to retreat: The Church of Real Truth.

Chess Putnam is a tattooed witch/ghost hunter who works for the Church. She is also a drug addict who is deeply in debt to a local drug lord, Bump. When Bump decides to call in the debt, Chess is given a choice. Pay up the thousands of dollars she owes him, or discover if Bump’s newest acquisition, the airport, is haunted. If it is, get rid of the ghosts.

Unholy Ghosts is a dark urban fantasy and book one in Stacia Kane’s Downside Ghosts series. The series is based in the Downside, a slum ruled by the local drug lord. The drug lord, Bump, has his own gang and is in charge of all the vices in the area, but he’s also at odds with the Slobag gang. It’s not unheard of for the two gangs to fight over territory, so when the Slobag gang learns about Bump’s plans to enlarge his drug empire, it decides to step in and use Chess too.

Chess Putnam, is a pill head who is trying her best to keep her life divided into two categories: work and home. At work she debunks ghost stories and at home she pops pills to keep moving both physically and mentally. Chess is an extremely flawed heroine. I wasn’t sure how I felt about her in the beginning, but I had a definitive opinion by the end. How could I have faith in a druggie? It took awhile, but I did. Despite the moments when I wanted to punch her in her face and say “put the f-ing pills down, dumb ass.” The fact that Chess is a functioning drug addict helped. Had she been a fall on the floor and lay there kind of girl, she never could have been a lead character in this dark series. And I have to admit, one of the lures of the story is waiting for her drug addiction to get the best of her.

On a side note, I love bad boys. I seem to pick them left and right. In Unholy Ghosts, Bump’s enforcer is a man named Terrible. I adored Terrible from the moment I saw him. His broad shoulders, crooked nose and jutting forehead had nothing on his protective nature. He is a character that I couldn’t get enough of.

Unholy Ghosts has moments when I wanted to hurl (hint: white worms). It scrapes the bottom of the barrel for a forgotten and rough kind of humanity. The kind of people who are capable of and willing to do what needs to be done without allowing morality to impede it. It is a wonderful start to a new series.

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