City of Ghosts (Downside Ghosts Series #3)

City of Ghosts (Downside Ghosts Series #3)

4.5 106
by Stacia Kane

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Chess Putnam has a lot on her plate. Mangled human corpses have started to show up on the streets of Downside, and Chess’s bosses at the Church of Real Truth have ordered her to team up with the ultra-powerful Black Squad agency to crack the grisly case.

Chess is under a binding spell that

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Chess Putnam has a lot on her plate. Mangled human corpses have started to show up on the streets of Downside, and Chess’s bosses at the Church of Real Truth have ordered her to team up with the ultra-powerful Black Squad agency to crack the grisly case.

Chess is under a binding spell that threatens death if she talks about the investigation, but the city’s most notorious crime boss—and Chess’s drug dealer—gets wind of her new assignment and insists on being kept informed. If that isn’t bad enough, a sinister street vendor appears to have information Chess needs. Only he’s not telling what he knows, or what it all has to do with the vast underground City of Eternity.

Now Chess will have to navigate killer wraiths, First Elders, and a lot of seriously nasty magic—all while coping with some not-so-small issues of her own. And the only man Chess can trust to help her through it all has every reason to want her dead.

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Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Downside Ghosts Series, #3
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
7.12(w) x 11.06(h) x 1.17(d)

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City of Ghosts 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 105 reviews.
JC_Rubio More than 1 year ago
Another winner! Great adventure, action packed, and full of magic. I have to admit that after the events in the previous book I felt really bad for Chess, but she brought on herself all the trouble she had to deal with. I was pleased with the ending and how things turned out for everyone. I can't wait for the next installment in the series. I hope is soon!
Sandra027 More than 1 year ago
Oh how I love this book. I hafta say, pretty much every criticism I gave the first book in this series is now one of my praises. Chess is a total anti-hero, strong and capable but somewhat crippled at times by her drug dependency. Terrible is the anti-white-knight-in-shining-armor, still struggling with Chess' previous betrayal but drawn to her non-the-less. Their every interaction in this book is an emotional punching-bag because his feelings/venting are completely valid but as the reader you want nothing more than for him to forgive her! Terrible's Mad-Max-street lingo is oh so endearing, and I just can't get enough of him. All the twists and turns in this book, whether relationship based or plot based, were just right!
Amblur82 More than 1 year ago
The most raw and real series I've read in a while. Couldn't stop reading. I just can't express all the emotions this book made me feel...all I can say is, I LOVED IT & I can't wait til March!!
abookadayreader99 More than 1 year ago
Sick of paranormal fluff? Stacia Kane has not only written a new twist on the paranormal - quite successfully I might add... She has brought a character to life that has hit with brutal honesty how an addict lives and feels. I appreciate the honesty and lack of sugar coating. I've been there and yet, I BELIEVED it! And THAT is some excellent writing. I highly recommend this...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this series! Heroine who is a drug addict and hero that harks back to the caveman days in terms of looks. Sounds like it shouldn't work, but it does! Stacia Kane makes me care about the characters and by the time I was done reading it I think I was jealous of Chessie and a little in love with Terrible myself!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this series ,but to be honest with you by the third book I was just waiting for Terrible to show up and interact with Chess. I would never have guessed their love story would be so moving. I just wonder what Bump thinks about it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The emotional rollar coaster is well worth it in book 3! Finally some romance! I cannot wait for the next book
bdalm More than 1 year ago
Found Stacia Kane when on vacation and spent most of my time with my nose in her book! This series is fantastic - honest, real characters who are flawed and work hard at "doing the right thing" -not always succeeding. This author is amazing in her ability to create tension and the storyline builds in an unpredictable manner. These books are must reads and I eagerly await #4 of this series!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love how Stacia Kane writes and has her characters acting in a way we all really do (think sucking in your tummy a little just because you know "he's" looking). The characters feel much more honest. I love the way Chess & Terrible's relationship developes into a slow burn in these three books instead of giving the reader instant gratification, in the long run, much more rewarding! Eagerly anticipating the next book!! Kimberly Shihady
lightbar20015 More than 1 year ago
cant wait for next book
Melhay More than 1 year ago
Chess has been off work for three weeks recouping from her leg wound with the help of meds and some extra pills she's picked up along the way. She has returned to the Church for the execution of Madame Lupita for breaking the law and trying to kill a church employee, Chess. But something is off. By the time Chess realizes it, it's to late. Ghosts are attacking and the psycopomp is acting way off as well. Chess is ready to come back to work and Elder Griffin pairs her up with Lauren Abrams a high member of the Black Squad, along with a few other connections too. Chess isn't thrilled about the binding oath she has to undergo and working with the Black Squad, but seeing as she is ending her physical relationship with Lex and Terrible's not wanting anything to do with her, she needs the major extra money offered and takes the job. With an opening sentence like that what all would you expect? I love reading this series as the writing is wonderful and it's world and characters are rough and gritty. Down right mean, and I love it! This world may not be for everyone, but with the drugs and the harsh streets it makes for a wonderful action, fast paced read. Then we have the ghosts that are always around some where lingering wanted to get revenge on any living being around it. This book even takes us to a new level of evil with the wraiths now. Evil buggers they are. The magic is stronger here with the Black Squad and the eviltries after Chess. We get to see Chess in a new light as a character. She is starting to break down emotionally as she realizes it's Terrible she really wants, and she will punish herself for the misdoings she's done in the past to him. We even get some new characters, who might have some dark secrets of their own to keep and add to the twists of the plot. The plot... now that is the story here. We have a few things going on, the church case and Chess's life messes. Both are fun to watch unravel. The church case Chess is on takes us through some crazy and amazing turns in the story. Things I never seen coming. And I loved the way magic plays a big part in this story. Then we have Chess's messed up life. Yep, that girl is so messed up and can really mess it up more. Even when Chess knows what she wants. But Chess tries to get through when the man she wants and has helped her survive before, could care less if she makes it through. This is one book I enjoyed reading. Actually the three books thus far in the series have been wonderful for me. I enjoy the characters and the deep story lines along with the harsh gritty world. I love a great dark urban fantasy read and this is it!
MicheleLeesBookLove More than 1 year ago
I was given this book to review. Spoiler Warning: This review contains spoilers for the previous books. Stacia Kane, and her literary creation, Chess Putam have some serious balls. In the Downside books Chess is a Debunker for the Church, an absolute ruler over the world after a tragedy that involved all the ghost in the world rising up and massacring the living. Since Haunted Week the Church has taken over because they are the only ones who can guarantee the common person safety from more ghostly uprisings. Ghosts are the only paranormal creature in these books, but Kane proves that, with loose interpretation, that doesn't have to limit the scope of the world. Chess, the emotionally battered, drug addicted heroine, has absolute faith in two things, the Church, and Terrible, an enforcer for her dealer who hates her since he discovered she was sleeping with Lex, a rival from another drug family who would be happy to see Terrible dead. Even Chess' faith in the Church is about to be tested when a member of The Black Squad, the Church's elite investigation group, offers her a job on the condition that she undergo a terrifying magical binding. It turns out an evil magical sect, the Lamaru, are back, slaughtering people and leaving their bits on the streets in Chess' own neighborhood. In fact the Lamaru are neck deep in a plot to overthrow the church, a plot Chess must stop, despite Terrible hating her, Lauren (the Black Squad member she's working with) ignoring her every lead and the Lamaru wanting Chess very very dead. The Downside series so far has given readers two solid, fast paced, intrigue-filled tales in Kane's wicked, vivid new urban fantasy world. But there's an added effect for loyal readers--the twist of Chess being an unrepentant drug user. As a reader you know she's going to hit rock bottom. You know she can't continue at the pace she's going. Someday Chess is going to crash land in a spectacular, tragic emotional hurricane, and by book three instead of watching it like a train wreck readers will be nervously wondering who will survive in the end. It's a very different kind of tension, an uncomfortable, tense fear, dazzling in its darkness and emotionally stunning. Kane is forging a bold new way through modern urban fantasy, and what you hear said in other stories is true in a whole new way here--all you can do is hold on, and wait to see who remains at the end.
JDeg More than 1 year ago
To say I love this series is an understatement. I can't say enough. I thought after I read book 1 that it was fantastic. Then I read book 2, and it was even better. Now I finished Book 3 and can say for certain that CoG blows them all out of the water. The tension between Chess and Terrible, is, well, terrible. The words they say to each other are so vitrolic. I felt so very bad for Chess, and so very bad for Terrible. There were parts that I didn't want to read because it was so painful to read. Chess made some very poor decisions, and she's paying for them in a big way. The feelings between these two are written perfectly by Ms. Kane. You can feel the anger, the resentment and the love between the charcters. Terrible, IMO, is such a great character because of his vulnerability. Both Chess and Terrible are vulnerable, but handle it in different ways. Chess turns to drugs, while Terrible lets it all out. Terrible is supposed to be this tough, gang enforcer, and how many times have we seen him pouring his heart out to Chess? This makes him such a complex character, than I can't wait to see what happens with him next. But Chess has a job to do. She's called in by the Black Squad - the Church cops - so solve another crime. Of course, Bump and Lex want to know what's going on, but Chess can't speak freely as she's bound by magic not to speak of her job. She's working with a Black Squad member named Lauren, who happens to be the daughter of the Grand Elder. Craziness ensues. Chess is trapped, burnt, stabbed, slapped, knee-ed in the back, emotionally pulled through the ringer, etc., etc., etc. Through all of this, ecpecially through the pain she feels from her mistakes with Terrible, she picks herself up and continues to do her job. The Church is the only thing that gives her hope, besides Terrible, and the Church is her only source of acomplishment or self-worth or pride. Her standing in the Church is all she has left. She's been hiding from herself for so long, she doesn't know how to handle anything in her life that isn't Church-related. She does work with Terrible, in order to keep Bump informed, and she does rely on information from Lex. The scenes with her and Terrible are very tense. I've never reread scenes in any books like I have with this one. By the end, we have a major show down, the revelation of many twists and turns and some kind of closure with Terrible and with Lex. Chess makes her decisions, and they don't seem so bad this time around. I loved when another reviewer said that Chess makes Rachael Morgan's relationship decisions look healthy - that is spot on. But by the end, I think she's making the best decision she has made in the whole series. Of course, this could all change in Book 4. I think Stacia Kane set up a lot of possible questions to answer in the continuation of this series. Questions arise about the sigil carved on Terrible, the Chrurch itself, Chess' decision in book 2 to kill the psychopomp, both Chess' and Terrible's backgrounds, and I think there may be more to Lex than we've seen thus far. There are a lot of directions this book can move in. Do yourself a favor and read these books.
rabidreaderWS More than 1 year ago
City of Ghosts is the third book of the Downside Series by Stacia Kane. In this novel, Chess has a huge mystery to solve and is paired with a member of the Black Squad, an elite section of the Church's investigative section. While she is dealing with this member, who is arrogant and hard for Chess to work with, Chess is also dealing with her broken heart of extreme feelings of guilt and low self-esteem. She has less respect for herself, and is using even more drugs. She gets thrown together with Terrible even though he doesn't want to be near her, and being around him is breaking her heart. Oh this book was good. The writing is good, the story was great, the heartbreak heartbreaking, and the choices Chess makes are hard. You can just see her in a kind of freefall with her life. Nothing is going right for her, and she is in danger, with even less protection than she had before. Even with all life seemingly against her, Chess still makes her self go through daily life, she still goes to work, she still tries to work out what's happening with the ghosts, and she still tries to just survive. This is an amazing book and when I finished it, I was already missing reading it. I recommend it for the fresh twist on the urban fantasy female character. Chess isn't perfect, not by a long shot. She's very vulnerable and yet doesn't behave in the typical lash out at everyone way that some characters do in other book. I love the fresh new twist in urban fantasy that Stacia Kane gives us with this character and series. Ghosts, a drug addicted main character that is functioning in her own little world, trying to keep her drug use a secret and trying to stay isolated from people even while she is falling in love and breaking own heart as well as others. If you haven't read any of the downside series so far, start with the first, Unholy Ghosts, then the second - Unholy Magic. After reading them, get ready for a bumpy ride, because although I loved reading the first two books, this third book just blew them out of the water. They just keep getting better and better. If I didn't have so many other books waiting for me to read, I would have started all over again at the first novel.
ERPierce More than 1 year ago
I owe Stacia Kane an apology. The first book was good, but I was put off by drug use. I let it cloud my mind and it took away from the reading experience for me. However, I still was fascinated by Chess and the host of characters in the Downside Series. Saying that... This book was SOOOOO GOOD!!!! From the very first page, to the very last word, this book brought out every emotion. It was riveting and draining. Emotionally unbalanced and frustrating. You really feel everything Chess feels. Stacia Kane sure can bring a story, and she can write!!! The plot was interesting, well written, and complicated. Twists and turns galore. Chess and Terrible go through the ringer in this one. My heart ached for Chess, and for Terrible. There are some emotional scences in this book for sure. I try not to hand out too many 5 star ratings, but I think this book deserves it. I can't wait for another!!!
piratewife More than 1 year ago
After we finished Unholy Magic, the second Downside Ghosts book, we said how it was even better than the series opener Unholy Ghosts. Stacia Kane has again taken her dark urban fantasy series to new depths with City of Ghosts. Chess still has a crime to solve, this time working with the police wing of The Church of Truth, a team called The Black Squad. But City of Ghosts is more about our flawed heroine growing as a person, accepting that needing to connect and rely on another person isn't inherently bad. She's striving for that redemption. She wants to prove herself. She's a talented witch and she sure as hell isn't going to let some jerk from the Black Squad otherwise. More than that, though, she wants to prove herself trustworthy to Terrible. Those who have caught Terrible Fever from the earlier Downside books know he feels betrayed by Chess. He isn't going to make things easy for her. He'll avoid her. Say hurtful things. She wallows in it. In fact, you don't get much Chess-Terrible interaction for the first two-thirds of the novel. He's there with her out of duty to Bump, but make no mistake he's hurting. But when he becomes prominent in the book again, it's worth the wait. (Really, really worth it.) It's Chess' desire to fix things with him, to protect him, to keep Downside safe and the emotional growth she experiences through that process that truly elevates City of Ghosts. We don't want to give anything away, so, here are 3 reasons you must read this book as soon as you can get your hands on it: 1. You'll get more than one intense, amazing Terrible fix. 2. The 'big bad' Kane introduces this time out is complex and will keep you trying to piece things together until the end. 3. You'll see why Chess never works with other people. Entertaining. The emotional heavy that is City of Ghosts is worth experiencing. Kane can craft such heady situations, you'll feel like you're with Chess pleading with Terrible, trying to escape a burning building, being attacked by ghosts, etc. We wouldn't dare call Downside Ghosts an escapist series, but these books will bring you into Downside. We promise, you'll spend the next several days thinking about scenes from the books, thinking about why something happened the way it did or just blushing remembering things that happen in the tunnels. This review was originally posted to Vampire Book Club (
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Need more
Doc_Redbat More than 1 year ago
I found this one to be a bit hard to get into at first, perhaps because it had been so long since I had read the previous installment. The end, however really won me over. I just bought the next volume.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bmoffatt85 More than 1 year ago
The third book in the downside ghost series and it was phenomenal. I was on the edge of my seat devouring each page. Gah I can't get enough or chess and terrible.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Geez!! Finally!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MVF More than 1 year ago
This book was like crack--I couldn't put it down! Stacia Kane has created a compelling world of Urban Fantasy. Cesaria Putnam (Chess) is a Church Witch Debunker. Her job is to get rid of ghosts or prove that someone is faking. She is VERY good at her job. She also lives in a dicey area known as "Downside" an area of crime and downtrodden. Chess is brought in on a case that requires her to be bound--unable to speak about it to others, which puts her at risk, but those she works with in the Church--and for where she lives. I won't share anymore, because you have to read it--this book is fabulous. Each story in the series gets better and better. The author had fabulous dialogue, characterizations, and I am hooked. There is only one part that initially disturbed me when I started reading the series--Chess is addicted to drugs, but this author makes it work. It is part of the journey. Completely compelling and I highly recommend this series to everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago