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)