by Stacia Kane
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Del Rey
Available: July 6, 2010
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Book received from: Random House
ENEMIES DON’T NEED TO BE ALIVE TO BE DEADLY.
For Chess Putnam, finding herself near-fatally poisoned by a con psychic and then stopping a murderous ghost is just another day on the job. As an agent of the Church of Real Truth, Chess must expose those looking to profit from the world’s unpleasant little poltergeist problem—humans filing false claims of hauntings—all while staving off any undead who really are looking for a kill. But Chess has been extra busy these days, coping with a new “celebrity” assignment while trying on her own time to help some desperate prostitutes.
Someone’s taking out the hookers of Downside in the most gruesome way, and Chess is sure the rumors that it’s the work of a ghost are way off base. But proving herself right means walking in the path of a maniac, not to mention standing between the two men in her life just as they—along with their ruthless employers—are moving closer to a catastrophic showdown. Someone is dealing in murder, sex, and the supernatural, and once again Chess finds herself right in the crossfire.
Reviewer: Fiction Vixen
To say that I love the Downside Ghosts series is a ridiculous understatement. Two books in and I think it’s safe to say I am fully addicted, complete with the sweats, itching and panic after having read the last page in Unholy Magic. I tried to read slowly, I did, but it was so-damn-good! 368 pages was not enough, I needed more. Now.
I’ve tried many different ways to summarize this story but I feel in doing so I’m just giving too much away. Since I can’t figure out how to summarize without spoiling in some way, I’ll just get right down to my thoughts.
In Unholy Magic Chess is still very much addicted to drugs and still associating with both her regular drug dealer’s main muscle Terrible, as well a rival drug lord Lex. She lives a dangerous, chaotic life with no clear indication that things will settle down anytime soon. A good deal of her chaos is self imposed but such is the nature of the life of a drug addict. However in Unholy Magic, things get a bit more personal. We get a glimpse into Chess’s tragic background and a better understanding of they reasons she abuses drugs. Chess uses the drugs and both creates and allows chaos in her life as a way of coping—or perhaps not—with things that are just too big to handle. Chess has really grown on me as a heroine which is actually quite surprising to me since there were several times in this book where I literally wanted to wring her neck. She is a mess and makes bad decisions left and right. But on the other hand her basic moral core is solid and underneath it all she is quite vulnerable.
Chess is not the only character that has grown on me. I liked Terrible in Unholy Ghosts but I’m going to put myself out there and say I’ve moved on to loving him after reading Unholy Magic. We get to know a lot more about Terrible and although his reality is danger and violence, somehow after pealing back his layers and getting to look a little deeper it’s easier to sympathize and understand who he is. He still had a moment or two that made me say, “Oh no he didn’t!” but Terrible wouldn’t be Terrible unless he actually did. (I’m still firmly supporting team Terrible)
When it comes to mystery and suspense, Stacia Kane writes with gusto. She is a master of surprises and she simply does not hold back, pushing the boundaries with every turn of the page. This book will make you shiver, shudder, cringe and wince but at the same time, you’ll find yourself caring deeply for characters that are far from perfect and who’s redemption seems questionable at times.
In trying to come up with an adjective to describe the over all tone and feel of this story, I came up short. Gritty seems weak in reference to this book and just does not cover it. I had a brief twitter conversation about the Downside series and I eventually came up with this: Unholy Magic spits on gritty and calls it’s mother names. Yes, this book is that bad ass! Stacia Kane has written an amazing, spine tingling novel in Unholy Magic, taking me by surprise by surpassing even the brilliance of it’s predecessor Unholy Ghosts.
“Ain’t think I hear you right,” Terrible said in calm, quiet voice. “Wanna loud up?”
She took a deep breath. It felt weird to be telling him this, to be telling anyone this, but she owed him. She had a secret of his now, one so big it was pushing one of her out to make room.
Purchase a copy of Unholy Magic
Other books in the series:
Other reviews on GoodReads
Visit Stacia Kane at: