March’s challenge was to read a new-to-me author off the TBR pile. Well the pile is so big and the choices were vast but I ultimately decided upon Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane. Many of my tweeps love this book and some dude named Terrible. Who names a character Terrible? Is he a terrible man? A terrible lover? Have a terrible disposition? I guess I finally decided to find out what all the fuss was about.
Making the Grade: C+
For My Thoughts
Unholy Ghosts is an example of Urban Fantasy. What does that mean? Since I really had no idea I decided to Goggle it. Here’s the definition from Wikipedia.
Urban Fantasy: describes a work that is set primarily in a city and contains aspects of fantasy. For good or ill, the introduction of fantastic elements is sometimes shown to have made a significant impact on inner city life. These matters may involve the arrivals of alien races, the discovery of earthbound mythological creatures, coexistence between humans and paranormal beings, conflicts between humans and malicious paranormals, and subsequent changes in city management.
After reading the back blurb of the book and taking into consideration the definition above - Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane is not a book I would typically pick to read. I’ve only ever read one other similar style of book and that was the “Fever” series by Karen Marie Moning (which I read based on tremendous twitter buzz) and was thoroughly captivated by the world within.
Chessie Putham is not the typical heroine I am used to reading about. She’s a deeply flawed character, a drug addict who also smokes and is a witch and debunker for the Church of the Real Truth. In other words she’s the go-to gal like in “Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!” when you need the undead removed from your home. She reminded me of a harder, darker version of Melinda from the TV show Ghost Whisperer. She’s into her drug pimp Bump for a lot of money and because of her addiction and dependence on his supply of drugs she’s kind of at his mercy.
At first I wasn’t “terribly” impressed with Terrible who is Bump’s thug/enforcer. He has mutton chops…mmm not “terribly” attractive, a lumpy nose, jutting brow and hard, dark eyes and he‘s a big, scary dude who seemed more than willing to break Chessie’s kneecaps (or whatever the UF equivalent is) than kiss her. Kane writes his manner of speech in something I coined Terrible speak. It wasn’t an accent per se, more like someone from a foreign country attempting to learn to speak a new language. He wasn’t the only one who spoke like that and I’m not sure I liked it. Here’s just a small sample:
“Hold it. Lemme call, aye? You ain’t just leave like this.”
Chess was caught between a rock and hard place. A rival drug lord wants his pound of flesh from Chess, she’s being spooked and seemingly stalked by an unholy Dreamthief, she’s suspicious of many of her co-workers about their involvement in something sinister that is going on in Downside and the bottom line is she doesn’t know who to trust.
If not for the TBR challenge, I am not sure that when I started Unholy Ghosts if I would have finished it. I just wasn’t feeling it, but I persevered and the action did pick up. I was even scared for Chess a few times - not a good thing to be reading about scary spectres before bed. And Terrible did grow on me but never in a “fan girl” squeeeee kind of way.
There are 2 more books currently released in the series (and they are on the TBR) and I will at some time probably read them, but I was not inspired to move them up the TBR (not like when I read “Fever” and devoured the first 4 books in the series one after the other).
I am certain that if this genre interests you, then the Downside world will more than hold your interest. It certainly had it’s moments, it’s just darker and more sinister with powerful amulets and spells and runes and well more Unholy Ghosts than I am used to.
Read an Excerpt
Back Cover Blurb
THE DEPARTED HAVE ARRIVED.
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