23 February 2012

REVIEW: Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane

Author: Stacia Kane
Title: Unholy Ghosts
Series: Downside Ghosts #1
Pages: 339
Source: Library

The world is not the way it was. The dead have risen, and the living are under attack. The powerful Church of Real Truth, in charge since the government fell, has sworn to reimburse citizens being harassed by the deceased.

Consequently, there are many false claims of hauntings from those hoping to profit. Enter Chess Putnam, a fully-tattooed witch, freewheeling Debunker, and ghost hunter. She’s got a real talent for nailing human liars and banishing the wicked dead. But she’s keeping a dark secret from the Church: a little drug problem that’s landed her in hot and dangerous water.

Chess owes a lot of money to a murderous drug lord named Bump. And Bump wants immediate payback. All Chess has to do is dispatch a very nasty species of undead from an old airport. But the job involves black magic, human sacrifice, a nefarious demonic creature, and crossing swords with enough wicked energy to wipe out a city of souls. Toss in lust for a rival gang leader and a dangerous attraction to Bump’s ruthless enforcer, and Chess begins to wonder if the rush is really worth it.

Hell, yeah.

In hindsight, I must say that Terrible was a very big part of the reason I enjoyed this book. He's drawn with consummate finesse and is one of the most unique and endearing male characters I've ever had the pleasure to meet in any fiction. 

I was confused almost the whole time I was reading this novel. The whole time. The world Stacia Kane has created is soooooo blurry to me. It seems that some time back, ghosts exploded on the scene, and were out with a vengeance to kill the living. One organization who called themselves 'the Church' (nothing to do with religion, since all religion is outlawed) banished the ghosts - to some city? I wasn't too clear on that - and now runs the world - or is it the immediate area? - with an iron fist. Part of their mandate is to protect the living from ghosts. So if you find your house haunted, it means they failed, so they'll compensate you after carrying out an investigation and an exorcism (if your claim is true). Woe betide you if your claim is false.

Chess is a DeBunker (person who banishes ghosts and checks claims) for the church. She is also a drug addict on the side (if the church found out, she'd be toast), and her unscrupulous drug dealer has forced her to do something for him.  In the course of her routine investigations, she discovers a dangerous plot, which is also somehow intertwined with what her drug dealer wants her to do. To make it even more complicated a rival drug dealer doesn't want her to go through with the job for the regular drug dealer.....and oh yes, she has the hots for the rival drug dealer's henchman, as well as the hots for the regular drug dealer's enforcer, called Terrible.

Like I said, I spent a goodly amount of time confused. It seems ghosts are incorporeal when they want and corporeal when they want too. It was very confusing. At some point in time I was wondering whether or not I was reading about zombies instead of ghosts. Woulda made much more sense that way, I think. And the plotting as well confused me. We'd be somewhere, and I'd be following okay, and then all of  sudden I had no idea what was going on, who we were talking to,where we were. I can't get a sense of the world Chess lives in.

I ended up liking Chess and Terrible quite a bit. (I still don't know why Chess is a drug addict, though, or when she began her habit). But my favorite was Terrible, all huge, and ugly, and a drug dealer's head thug but underneath surprisingly sweet and kind and considerate. I am surprised to say I was rooting for a thug, haha. I wish Chess had gotten with him instead of Lex (the other drug dealer's henchman). Btw Terrible is such a bad name for a thug :D but I still love him.

So um yes, recommended. You might have better luck understanding the worldbuilding dynamics than I did, and Chess and Terrible are worth it :D



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