Unholy Ghosts (Downside Ghosts #1) by Stacia Kane

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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.

Pet’s $0.02

Just a heads-up, this is going to be a weird review.

I loved this book in so many ways and I hated it for just as many.

Chess is the heroine. She’s the protector. She’s there to help you either banish your ghosts or disprove false claims of haunting. She’s there to help. There are some valid reasons for the way she is…

And, I seriously don’t like her.

I can’t help it. I’ve tried to empathize with her reality. She’s fucked up. She’s had a horrible childhood, she’s a junkie. She’s a pawn of the church and a pariah with the public… and I still just can’t like her.

A lot of how I feel about Chess has to do with how she uses the people around her. She uses Bump for drugs, until she can’t any longer. She uses Lex for sex and for free drugs when her supply from Bump runs dry. And the most damning reason I don’t like her is the way she treats Terrible, who’s only fault is that he’s not attractive. That man has it bad for Chess and would do anything for her. And she insults, ignores and abuses him at every turn. And still, I kept hoping something would develop between Terrible and Chess, even though I knew she wasn’t good enough for him.

I also realized I may have a little bit of a thing for Terrible.

Everyone in this world has an ulterior motive. No one is in it just because they’re good people. And everyone is only out to take care of themselves.

The dialogue is a broken street dialogue that should be hard to follow, but isn’t.

The church is all powerful, which skeeves me out a bit.

I thought maybe, eventually, I’d learn something new about Chess that would let me finally like her, but I didn’t.

And even with all of that… I would still recommend this book. The story is strong enough and unique enough that I could enjoy it regardless of Chess. She became a bit player in a bigger story.

It shouldn’t have been a surprise that it would be a hard book to like.

And, I could not stop reading.

As an added bonus, listen to the audiobook narrated by Bahni Turpin. She knocked this book out of the damn park! I thought the reading of the broken English would be rough and hard to listen to. Instead it was smooth, it pulled you in. It made you feel like you were there. And I am so happy that she’s reading the rest of the story. Every one of these audiobooks will be a one click buy just because of Turpin’s reading.