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. Enter Chess Putnam, a fully tattooed witch and freewheeling ghost hunter. She’s got a real talent for banishing the wicked dead. But Chess is keeping a dark secret: She owes a lot of money to a murderous drug lord named Bump, who wants immediate payback in the form of a dangerous job that involves black magic, human sacrifice, a nefarious demonic creature, and 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.
I'm going to start this review off on a tangent--when do I not? As far as I'm concerned 2011 has been the Year of Meh. Television has been practically unwatchable. Movies released this year: heinous. The books were, at best, mediocre. Admittedly, there were a few notable exceptions but, for the most part, I'm disappointed.
Over the past six months I've grown weary; struggled to finish most of what I've started, and, by the way, failing more often then not--you should see my pile of abandoned books. Because of this I've been feeling the need to take a step back, maybe not read so much. Maybe spend my money more wisely--it is ridiculous how much I spend on books and audiobooks. You know, take a break.
2011 killed my love of books (and movies and television).
That said, over the past couple of days I've fallen in love with books (and reading) all over again. I'm in love. Love I tell ya. Can't-get-enough-make-everyone-sick-can't-eat-or-sleep-head-over-heels in love. Me and reading? It's like we're on a second honeymoon. I have Stacia Kane and her Downside Ghost series to thank because of it.
I know, I know--none of the books in the Downside Ghost series were published this year. It doesn't matter. What does matter is I love reading. Again.
Funny thing, it's not like Downside Ghosts is The Best Series, Ever. And it has to be said: it's definitely not for everyone. However, as far as I'm concerned, it is compelling and addictive. It's good.
So. Unholy Ghosts. Where to start? Twenty-five year old Cesaria "Chess" Putnum is a hot mess, and not in that chick-flick cliche can't-get-my-life-together-because-I'm-so-adorably-clumsy-and-I-wear-glasses-that-make-me-look-unfortunate-until-I-finally-remove-them-during-the-makeover-montage-and-that's-when-everyone-discovers-I'm-super-hot sort of way. I mean the sort of hot mess that's boozy and pops pills all the live-long day.
I'm not going to lie to you. I avoided this series for that exact reason. Boozy pill-poppers just aren't my thing, or so I thought. The other day I was looking through my kindle bookshelf and I noticed that I had the sample of Unholy Ghosts--for the life of me, I can't remember when I downloaded it. Curious, figuring I had nothing to lose, I decided to give it a chance before I went ahead and removed it. Imagine my surprise when I realized I couldn't go the rest of my life without reading more. So I purchased it (FYI, the Kindle edition of Unholy Ghosts is just 99 cents).
The thing I like about Chess is, well, I pretty much like everything. Honestly, I don't even mind that she's a drug addict. Of course, most of her problems wouldn't happen if she wasn't addicted to pills, but if that were the case Unholy Ghosts wouldn't be so good. One of my favorite aspects of Chess's life her employment. She works for the Church of Truth as a Debunker, which is a person who goes around trying to debunk claims of hauntings. If she's able to then she gets a bonus and if she doesn't the homeowner will be compensated by the church and the debunker will rid the home of the ghost.
Sidenote: Did I mention this is a dystopian urban fantasy? Because it is. Basically way back in the year 1997 ghosts escaped wherever it is ghosts go (or actually The City, as it's called in this series) and got all murdery, killing one-third of the world's population. At the time The Church of Truth was just a small organization but they succeeded in capturing all the ghosts. 25 years later The Church of Truth is the only religion. They pretty much run the government too. Worldwide.
The church has vowed to keep people safe from ghosts, which is why homeowners are compensated if their haunting is real. /sidenote
Chess is good at being a Debunker and it's something she's proud of. She also loves the Church of Truth, despite the fact that it reigns supreme. I can't fault her for it because everything else in her life is crap--growing up being passed from abusive foster home to abusive foster home will mess you up, you know? And anyway the Church is the only place she's ever felt safe, the only thing that's ever given her life value.
Anyway, things get really interesting when Chess's drug dealer blackmails her into working for him. <--and I'm stopping right there because I don't want to ruin it for you. Plus, this review is entirely too long.
This isn't my favorite book in the series, there are a few things that didn't exactly work for me, but I still like it. (Just so you know Unholy Magic, the second book in the Downside Ghost series is...um...intense. I'll be reviewing it soon). Three stars.