Aug 10, 2010

Unholy Ghost - Paranormal Book Review

Unholy Ghosts (Downside Ghosts, Book 1)
by Stacia Kane
Del Rey; Original edition (May 25, 2010)

Unholy Ghosts is a dark, mesmerizing tale with a heroine, Chess Putnam, who has always felt different and alone. She stumbles through life and gets through the hours with a wide assortment of drugs. Her only true haven, the one place she feels safe, is at the Church of Real Truth. This is an organization that preaches "there is no god". The Church runs the country since the horrific time when the dead rose and walked the earth destroying the living in their wake.

After a blistering upbringing in a series of foster homes, each one more horrible than the last, the Church took an interest in her because she had the valuable gift of magic. She was shown how to enhance her powers and began working for the Church as a Debunker.

A true haunting is rare anymore now that the church is in control, but there are often people willing to run a a con hoping they can make the Church pay them money. That's where Debunkers like Chess come in. She can feel the power when a ghost is involved and knows how to use her magic to exorcise it. She can also easily spot a hoax.

Chess does her job reasonably well. The pay isn't great but it keeps her supplied with drugs. Too bad her dealer decides to quadruple the amount she owes him and informs her that the only way she can pay off her debt is by doing a dangerous job for him - get rid of whatever is haunting the small airport just outside of town. He needs it for his business.

Terrible, yes, that's his name, is a big, muscular guy with a sacred face and broken nose. He is designated as her body guard. Chess doesn't care much for him but overtime she changes her mind. He is fearless in guarding her even in the face of strong, spine-chilling black magic.

It took me several pages to get into this story, but at some point in the second chapter I became hooked. Chess may not be a character to admire, but she has a deep vulnerability that makes you care what happens to her. The character of Terrible as well as Lex, another fearsome man in her, life are just as vividly depicted. The action sequences, and the plot, are so well done I scribbled in my notes, "at times I feel like I'm watching a 3-D Cinemax movie. I was completely captivated."

Lots of darkness pervades this story yet their are rays of something like hope for Chess and the others. Life may actually be worth living. I can't think of enough great things to say about Unholy Ghosts. It is Urban Fantasy with a difference.


Unholy Magic (Downside Ghosts, Book 2)
Del Rey (July 6, 2010)

City of Ghosts (Downside Ghosts, Book 3)
Del Rey (July 27, 2010)


Darlyn said...

I will need to read the book. Great review =)

Fiction Vixen said...

Nice review! I was shocked that I was able to care so much for a character that possessed so many unlikeable characteristics. I thought this book was brilliant. psst...each book is better than the last. :)

DeSeRt RoSe said...

Sounds like an interesting series that I will add to my TBR :) thanks for the review!

Marta said...

Hi, Patricia, I really got caught up in this book, and I liked the grittiness of it and the very flawed characters. I can't wait to read book 2 in the series.

Patricia Altner said...

Darlyn and DeSeRtRoSe

So glad you enjoyed the review. Thank you!

Stacia Kane has truly come out with something very different in the Urban Fantasy scene!

Patricia Altner said...

Fiction Vixen

There are no saints in this story, but the characters are fascinating even sympathetic. I've started Unholy Magic. Can't get enough of Stacia Kane's dark world.

Great to hear from you!

Patricia Altner said...

Hi Marta

I enjoyed hearing what you had to say at the online blogger/author conference. BTW I didn't know you had spawn.

The flawed characters are a great part of the series' appeal. So far I'm finding book 2 as good or better than Unholy Ghosts. Fiction Vixen is right!

Thanks for writing.

writtenwyrdd said...

I loved all three of the books in the series so far! I am very impressed at Stacia Kane's deft handling of a very complicated character like Chess. With her drug abuse and other issues, you'd think she would be obnoxious or otherwise unlikeable, but she is someone you want to win. Book 2 is the best of the three in that regard.

Patricia Altner said...


I just read a chapter in book 2 where Chess is trapped in a house without her pills and a blizzard is raging outside. The description of withdrawal was so vivid. I was with her every agonizing step of the way.

Chess is definitely not the typical heroine, but I root for her and her Downside friends all the way!

Thanks for writing!

Vickie said...

man o man o man! I cannot wait to read this one!!!