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Unholy Ghosts (Downside Ghosts Series #1)

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Overview

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...

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Unholy Ghosts (Downside Ghosts Series #1)

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this dark futuristic urban fantasy series launch, Kane (Demon Possessed) blurs the boundaries between the living and the dead. Chess Putnam works for the world-ruling Church of Real Truth, debunking false claims of hauntings and banishing the occasional real ghost. When a powerful drug dealer calls on her services to erase her debt to him, Chess finds herself investigating an abandoned airfield, a horrible human sacrifice, an ominous apparition, and a conspiracy against the church itself. Making matters worse are her persistent drug habit, a cursed unhealing wound, and her fondness for extremely dangerous men. What starts out as a promising concept soon deteriorates into a murky mess of ambiguous characters and grim dangers. Chess is too broken to be sympathetic and too stoned to be coherent, and though it's atmospheric and well written, her story simply lacks heart. (June)
From the Publisher
“Simply the best book I’ve read this year.”—Caitlin Kitteridge

“The ultimate bible of badassery . . . a black diamond of an urban fantasy.”
—Ann Aguirre, national bestselling author of Blue Diablo and Doubleblind

“Gripping . . . vivid characters and a wonderful sense of pace . . . I was enthralled.”—Charlaine Harris
 
 
 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345515575
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/25/2010
  • Series: Downside Ghosts Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 387,713
  • Product dimensions: 6.98 (w) x 4.32 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author

Stacia Kane has been a phone psychic, a customer service representative, a bartender, and a movie theater usher, and she thinks that writing is more fun than all of them combined. She wears a lot of black, still makes great cocktails, likes to play music loud in the car, and thinks Die Hard is one of the greatest movies ever made. She believes in dragons and the divine right of kings, and is a fervent Ricardian. She lives outside Atlanta with her husband and their two little girls.

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Read an Excerpt

Unholy Ghosts


By Stacia Kane

Del Rey

Copyright © 2010 Stacia Kane
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780345515575

Chapter One


“And the living prayed to their gods and begged for rescue from the armies of the dead, and there was no answer. For there are no gods.” —The Book of Truth, Origins, Article 12

 Had the man in front of her not already been dead, Chess probably would have tried to kill him. Damned ghosts. A year and a half she’d gone without having to deal with one— the best Debunking record in the Church. Now when she needed her bonus more than ever, there he was. Mocking her. Floating a few feet off the parquet floor of the Sanfords’ comfortable suburban split- level in the heart of Cross Town, with his arms folded and a bored look on his face. 

“Too good to go where you’re supposed to, Mr. Dunlop?” Mr. Dunlop’s ghost gave her the finger. Asshole. Why couldn’t he just accept the inevitable? 

He’d been an ass in life, too, according to her rec ords. Hyram Dunlop, formerly of Westside, banker and father of two, all deceased. Mr. Dunlop should have been resting for the last fifty years, not turning up here to rattle pipes and throw china and generally make a nuisance of himself. 

Right. She set the dog’s skull in the center of the room, checking her compass to make sure she faced east, and lit the black candles on either side of it, her body moving automatically as she arranged her altar the way she’d done dozens, if not hundreds, of times before. Next came the tall forked stang in its silver base, garlanded with specially grown blue and black roses. She set the bag of dirt from Mr. Dunlop’s grave in front of the skull for later use. 

Her small cauldron in its holder took a few extra minutes to set up. Mr. Dunlop moved behind her, but she ignored him. Showing fear to the dead— or any sort of emotion at all— was asking for trouble. She filled the cauldron with water, lit the burner beneath it, and tossed in some wolfsbane. 

With a stub of black chalk she marked the front door and started on the windows, stepping deliberately through Dunlop’s spectral form despite the unpleasant chill. The set of his jaw lost some of its defiance as she pulled out the salt and started sprinkling it. “This is probably going to hurt,” she said. 

Her gaze wandered to the grandfather clock in the corner, just outside the sloppy salt ring. Almost eight o’clock. Fuck. She was starting to itch. 

Not badly, of course. Nothing she couldn’t handle. But it was there, making her mind wander and her toes wiggle in her shoes, when she needed to be sharp. 

She’d just begun closing off the hallway when Mr. Dunlop bolted up the stairs. 

The symbols on the doors and windows— she’d already done the bedrooms— would keep him from leaving the actual building, but . . . shit. 

She’d forgotten the master bedroom fireplace. The chimney flue. 

Pausing only long enough to snatch up the bag of grave dirt, she raced after him. The grave dirt wasn’t supposed to come until later, when the psychopomp had already shown up to escort him, but it was the only way she could think of to stop him. 

Mr. Dunlop’s feet were only just visible when she reached the bedroom, hanging in the fireplace. She grabbed a small handful of dirt and flung it at them. Dunlop fell. His silent lips formed words that were probably not kind. She ignored him, ducking into the fireplace to mark the flue with chalk before he could try again. “There’s no escaping. You know you shouldn’t be here.” 

He shrugged.

 From her pocket she pulled her Church- issued Ectoplasmarker— nobody ever said the Church was clever, just that they knew how to protect humanity from spirits— and uncapped it. Dunlop stared up at her, his face rippling in panic. She leaned toward him and he sank through the floor. 

Before he managed to disappear completely she ran back downstairs and grabbed her salt, finishing the hallway while Dunlop floated through the ceiling— outside of the circle. 

In the short time they’d been upstairs the atmosphere in the room had changed, her energy mingling with that of the herbs to fill the room with power. Chess glanced at her altar. The dog’s skull rattled and clicked like a set of castanets, rising slightly from the floor. The psychopomp was coming. 

Dunlop backed away when she started toward him, holding the Ectoplasmarker out in front of her. She’d already memorized his passport symbol. Now she just had to get him back into the circle and get the symbol on him before the dog came. 

Only once had she heard of a Debunker who didn’t manage it. He got lucky. The dog took the ghost. But that was luck, nothing else. Without the passport, the minute that dog finished materializing could be the last minute of her life. 

Dunlop bumped into the wall and glanced back, surprised. Ghosts could choose to touch inanimate objects or slide through them . . . until the object was solidified on the metaphysical plane. 

“I marked them.” She used her foot to break the line of salt. “You can’t get through them. You can’t escape. This will be a lot easier if you just relax and let me do my job, you know. Why don’t you come here and hold your hand out for me?” 

He folded his arms and shook his head. She sighed. “Okay. Have it your way.” She crushed asafetida between her fingers and sprinkled it over the floor around him. “Hyram Dunlop, I command you to enter this circle to be marked and sent to rest. I command you to leave this plane of existence.” 

She jumped when the growl echoed through the room and the skull leapt into the air. The rest of the dog flowed into existence behind it, each bone sharp and clean in the wavering candlelight. 

Shit! Shit, shit. She was still the only one in the circle. Worse, they both smelled of asafetida. She hadn’t rinsed her hands yet. The dog— magically created to sense the herb— wouldn’t know the difference between them. Chess screamed as the skeletal dog lunged at her, skin and fur growing over its bones. She fell into— fell through— Hyram Dunlop. The cold was worse this time, probably because she wasn’t ready for it, or maybe because she was terrified by the sight of those sharp, shiny canine teeth snapping the air only inches from her arm. If they reached her— 

The dog’s mouth closed around her left calf, pulling. Eyes appeared in the formerly hollow sockets, glowing red, brighter as it firmed its grip and tugged. 

Behind the dog the air rippled. Shadowy images superimposed themselves over the tasteful taupe walls of the Sanford house, silhouettes gray and black against lit torches. 

Something inside Chess started to give. The dog— the psychopomp— was doing its job, tugging its lost soul out of the Sanford house and into the city of the dead. 

But her soul wasn’t lost— at least, not in the way required. Hyram’s eyes widened as she reached for him again, her hand passing through his chest. 

“Hyram Dunlop, I command you—” 

The words ended in a strangled gurgle. It hurt, fuck, it really fucking hurt. It was peeling, as if someone was tearing away layers of her skin one by one, exposing every tender, raw nerve she possessed, and she possessed so many of them. 

Her vision blurred. She could let go, if she wanted to. She could float away— the dog would be gentle once it knew it had her— and vanish, no more problems, no more pain, no more . . . 

Only the boredom of the city, with nothing to take the edge off. And the knowledge that she’d died a stupid death and let this miserable jerk of a spirit beat her. No. No way. She moved her hand, reaching again for Hyram. This time her fingers connected with something solid, something that felt warm and alive. Hyram. He wasn’t alive. 

She was dying. 

But in death she could grab hold of him and drag him into the broken circle. In death she could use the strength of her will to bring the Ectoplasmarker down on Hyram’s suddenly solid flesh. In death she could mark him with his passport, the symbol to identify him to the psychopomp, and physically hold him in place. 

Desperately she scrawled the figure on his arm, while her soul stretched between Hyram and the dog like a taut clothesline. She didn’t dare look away to see what her physical body was doing. 

She managed the last line as her vision went entirely black. Pain shot through her as she fell to the floor with a house- rattling thud, but it was physical pain this time, bone pain, not the agony of having her living soul ripped from her body as it had been moments before. 

She opened her eyes just in time to see Hyram Dunlop disappear through the rippling patch of air. 

Her fingers scrabbled at the clasp on her heavy silver pillbox, lifting the lid. She grabbed two of the large white pills inside and gobbled them up, biting down so the bitterness flooded her taste buds and made her nose wrinkle. 

It tasted awful. It tasted wonderful. The sweetest things were bitter on the outside, Bump had told her once, and oh, how right he’d been. 

Her fingers closed around her water bottle and she twisted off the cap and took a gulp, swishing it around in her mouth so the crushed pills could enter her bloodstream under her tongue, so they could start dissolving before they slid down into her stomach and blossomed from there. 

Her eyes closed. The relief wasn’t everything it would be in twenty minutes, in half an hour as the Cepts were digested fully. But it was something. The shaking eased enough for her to control her hands again. 

Cleaning up was the worst part of Banishings. Or rather, it was usually. This time the worst part had been feeling her soul pull from her flesh like a particularly sticky Band- Aid. 

Carefully she put her altar pieces back in her bag, wrapping the dog skull in hemp paper before setting it on top of everything else. She’d have to buy a new one. This dog had tasted her. She couldn’t use it again. 

Her Cepts started to kick in as she swept. Her stomach lifted, that odd, delicious feeling of excitement— of anticipation— making her smile without really realizing it. Things weren’t so terrible, after all. She was alive. Alive, and just high enough to feel good about it. 

The Sanfords arrived home just as she knelt outside their front door with a hammer and an iron nail. “Welcome home,” she said, punctuating her words with sharp taps of the hammer. “You shouldn’t have any more problems.” 

“He’s . . . gone?” Mrs. Sanford’s dark eyes widened. 

“Really gone?” 

“Yep.”

 “We can’t thank you enough.” Mr. Sanford had a way of speaking, his voice booming out from his barrel chest, that made his voice echo off the stucco walls of the house. 

“Part of my job.” She couldn’t even bring herself to be mad at the Sanfords right now. It wasn’t their fault they were honest and haunted, instead of faking like ninetynine percent of Debunking cases. 

She finished driving in the nail and stood up. “Don’t move that, what ever you do. We’ve found that homes where a genuine haunting occurred are more vulnerable to another one. The nail should prevent it.” 

“We won’t.” 

Chess put the hammer back in her bag and waited, trying to keep a pleasant smile on her face. Mr. and Mrs. Sanford shuffled their feet and glanced at each other. What were they— 

Oh. 

“Why don’t we go on inside, and we’ll finish off your paperwork and get you your check, okay?” 

The Sanford’s anxious expressions eased. Chess couldn’t really blame them. If she was about to be handed fifty thousand dollars from the Church just because she’d had an escaped ghost in her house, she’d be pretty relaxed, too. Just like she would have felt if she’d gotten her bonus. It would have been ten grand on this job, enough to pay Bump and have something left over until the next one. 

Stupid ghosts always ruined everything, like loud babies in a nice restaurant.

 They offered her coffee, which she declined, and water, which she accepted, while they signed various forms and affadavits. It was almost nine- thirty by the time she handed over their check, and she still had to stop by the graveyard before she could get to the Market. Damn Mr. Dunlop. She hoped he was being punished justly. 

Continues...

Excerpted from Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane Copyright © 2010 by Stacia Kane. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 156 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(70)

4 Star

(48)

3 Star

(20)

2 Star

(10)

1 Star

(8)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 157 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommended

    This book was OK. The main story was interesting and different. Basically the dead rise and start killing the living, so an organization called The Church (oh irony) or The Church Of Truth banishes them to an underground city made especially for them and proceeds to become the new government as the world abolishes all it's old religions now that "Truth is Fact." Chess is a witch who works for them as a Debunker, mostly disproving when people claim to gave a ghost (the church compensates you for your troubles) or banishing them to The City if there is one.

    Initially I found her drug addiction made it hard to relate to her/accept her as my heroin, but it's effect wore off and by the end it didn't bother me as much, perhaps because the author gives some insight into her background and the causes for her addiction. Also, there is a LOT of narrative. That's all well and good, but sometimes I just like to hear (read) people talk and the constant inner monologue gets to be a bit much and I find myself skimming to see how far ahead I have to read before Terrible reappears (my favorite character at this point and a potential man for Chess).

    All that being said, I enjoyed this read and having continued with the next books can honestly say this is now one of my FAVORITE series despite my initial hesitance.

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Did not enjoy this at all

    First of all, I felt like I missed a prequel. Secondly, it seems unfeasable to me that within a lifetime, people forgot the basics of the English language. Perhaps my overly-grammatical brain could not get past the slaughter of the language, but I really did struggle to get through this (example "Something attacking planes, dig? Make they all go silent. Turns they off.") If that type of dialogue is appealing to you, then by all means, read away! The concept is good, but I just didn't like the book, or the junkie heroine of the story. I couldn't keep track of what pills she was taking for what and why (again, new invention by the author). I would have liked to read more about the ghosts and what Chess does, not her illegal hobbies. I will not be reading any more books in this series.

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Well that was different

    I've never read anything quite like this. The story was amazingly original even though the feel of the story was gritty. The main character is stumbling through life by working a job to barely live and to get her next fix. Her job, however, is one facet of what makes this book so interesting. She is a debunker, a ghost banisher. And between the job she is assigned and others she knows from her drug involvement, her life is anything but boring. I am quite interested to see what will happen in the next book in this series. Different works well!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 20, 2011

    Great read!

    This isn't an actual review, more of a one-sided discussion, if you will...

    I saw all the bloggy and twitter buzz about this series. Terrible, Terrible, Terrible...everyone's talking about Terrible.

    So, I decided to give it a go. I had some other obligations, so it literally took me over a month to read this book. Once I actually got into it, I enjoyed it. Chess is an interesting heroine and for whatever reason her drug addiction didn't bother me at all; I liked her. The plotline was pretty involved towards the middle/end, but once Chess figured it out I got it too.

    It also took me awhile to get the Terrible love. I can tell you exactly where it hit me (Two spots actually: When they were talking after she'd been chased through the tunnels alone, and she thinks to herself that he's 6'4" (the height does it for me every time), and then when he beat up Doyle for her. But, I like Lex too. I'm not sure how that's going to play out, but he beat up Doyle too and I guess that strikes me as chivalrous in some messed up way.

    I'm getting ready to start Unholy Magic and am looking forward to it; I like this Downside world and I'm curious to see where Ms. Kane is going to take Chess next.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 8, 2011

    WOW - This is an EXCELLENT series.

    If you're sick of the same old, same old paranormal fluffs - look no further - This book will grab you up and keep you reading far into the night.

    I bought the first yesterday, and now I'm on the third book here the next day!

    As someone who's "been" there - I appreciated the honesty. No sugar coating the dirty side of life. LOVE this character.

    Stacia Kane is going on all my favorite lists and permanant pre-order.

    I'm only sorry that all three are on my Nook and I can't pass them around. Cuz I would Stacia, I would!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Fantastically Unexpected

    When one of my all-time favorite authors, Karen Marie Moning, recommended this series on her blog, I immediately went out and bought it. I've read plenty scifi, romance, and mystery novels to know what I like and what I don't like. I just might be too picky for my own good. "Unholy Ghosts" was described as "dark, edgy, sexy, and pushes the envelope." I honestly wasn't sure I could buy into something like that, but I gave it a try anyway. This book totally caught me off guard. The unique, complicated world that Chess lives in totally sucked me in. I absolutely could not put it down, and now I'm counting the days until the next in series arrives. Take a chance and read this book, it might just surprise you!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 22, 2010

    Great New Series

    Loved, loved, loved this book! Chess is a dark, flawed character who I can't help but rooting for. She has a troubled past and is an addict. Her addiction is a main plot point in this book, as well as throughout the series. She makes one bad decision after another, mostly due to her addiction. It's frustrating at times, but I found myself very sympathetic towards her. We don't get too much of her past in this first installation, but keep reading - it's coming.

    Terrible and Lex are introduced as her love interests. Lex seems like a good guy - as good as a gang member/drug dealer can be. He does care for Chess in his own way. But he's not about to have a real relationship with her, and she only sees him as a means to an end. She does what he wants, and she gets a bed companion and her addiction fed. Terrible grew on me throughout this book. He was rough at first, but I am definitely on TEAM TERRIBLE after reading this (as well as the two other books in this series). He's as dark and flawed as Chess. He is a gang enforcer and loyalty means everything to him. He begins to soften around Chess, and underneath it all, is a gentleman when it comes to her. He trusts her, more than she trusts herself.

    I loved the setting Kane builds for these characters. It's dark and gritty. I know not everyone is cool with the slang Kane uses for the Downsider's speech, but I love it, dig? I think it adds a dimension to the characters, and it wasn't difficult to read once I got used to it.

    This is a book that I urge any urban/paranormal fiction lovers to read. I think you'll be hooked.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The world-building and characterization present in Unholy Ghosts rises above your average urban fantasy tale.

    Congratulations, Stacia Kane. You've earned one of the very coveted spots (ok, not THAT coveted) on my favorite UF authors list. Yep. Unholy Ghosts was the first encounter I've had with Stacia Kane, but I'm definitely planning on reading more of her books in the future!

    What I liked the most about Unholy Ghosts was that it was different from any other urban fantasy novel I've read, and trust me, I've read quite a few. The world building was fantastic, and it even has a bit of a dystopian/speculative feel to it.

    To give you a bit of an idea of what the world in Unholy Ghosts is like, imagine this. In 1997, there was a terrible tragedy that occurred, known as "Haunted Week." Basically, a bunch of bloodthirsty ghosts crossed back over into the world of the living and went on a giant killing spree. Lots of people died, until the Church of Real Truth was able to banish the souls back to the City of the Dead. As a result, all of the religions of the old world (Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, etc.) have become obsolete, because the Church of Real Truth (which has come to power at this time) teaches the people that there are no gods, only energy and magic. Employees of the Church, like the main character, Chess, work on "debunking" (banishing) ghosts, and fighting against a few smaller rebel groups that want to steal power from the Church of Real Truth.

    I loved reading about this world that was so different, yet so similar to our own. Like I said, the world-building was fantastic. Unholy Ghosts was a lot darker than I thought it would be, but I like dark, when it's well done, so I had no trouble enjoying this book.

    Chess was also a really interesting character to read about. She's a drug addict (That wasn't a spoiler, by the way. It's on the back cover), and I didn't think I would like her at first. I was wrong. She wasn't an oh-my-gawd-this-is-the-best-heroine-EVER! kind of character, but I liked her, and she grew on me more and more as the book went on. Throughout the book, there are several hints at Chess' darker past, though we don't get to see all of it. She definitely has skeletons in her closet, and I'm hoping we'll get to see a little bit more of Chess' history in later books.

    My recommendation: if you like Urban Fantasy at all, then give this one a shot in the near future!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 2, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Gritty urban fantasy with an unexpected heroine

    In the Orwellian future of Stacia Kane's Unholy Ghosts, the Church of Truth runs both the moral and legal elements of society, the afterlife is known and outside the City of Eternity ghosts are evil and bloodthirsty.

    The Church, and its staff with magic ability, manages the ghosts. If you are haunted a church employee will come to your home, send the ghost back underground and write you a check for $50,000. These employees are called debunkers for a reason: most people fake it.

    Chess Putnam is a debunker. (Though, those in Downside just call her Churchwitch.) She investigates reported hauntings, busts the fakers or uses her powerful magic to remove the ghosts. Stacia Kane presents Chess to us in such a way that we can't help but fall for her. She's created a hero with more obvious flaws than another other protagonist we can remember.

    Her biggest flaw? Chess is an addict. She manages, using her Church bonuses to pay her dealer. Popping uppers and downers, Chess tries to keep herself focused while numbing memories so she can function.

    Until now she's kept the two worlds apart, but her dealer has need for her skills. He thinks he has a ghost problem and expects Chess to solve it or she can owe him triple her current tab. Performing this kind of magic and using Church supplies to investigate, without official sanction could get Chess locked away, executed. But her need for pills and speed is greater than the possible consequences.

    The results of her acceptance: banishing real ghosts, dealing with fake hauntings, murder by oil injection, near-death, encountering wraith military battalions and getting put between rival drug dealers.

    All the while we're reminded of the overwhelming presence of The Church of Truth by the excerpts from Church documents that open each chapter.

    Unholy Ghosts wraps its bony fingers around readers from the first chapter and pulls us along with an ever quickening pace. It's gritty, it's intense and it's utterly amazing.

    Honestly, we've never read anything like this - urban fantasy or otherwise.

    This review was originally posted to Vampire Book Club (http://www.vampirebookclub.net).

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Dark. Gritty. Raw. Intense.

    Dark. Gritty. Raw. Intense. All these words and more describe Unholy Ghosts. Imagine a world where all gods have been debunked and religion is virtually outlawed, and all you have in this life is just the knowledge of where you go when you die. The unknown of dying is gone, leaving not much to look forward to. This is the reality for all those in this bleak future world created by Stacia Kane making the unsavory life of drugs is a common place for most in this reality, especially Chess.

    This is a very dark story with no-holds barred, it gets deep down gritty, and takes you deep into world of drugs and magic. It's written in such a way that you understand why Chess has chosen to use drugs as her avenue of escape from the realities of her life. I found myself understanding and sympathizing with her, even though I've never had an addiction like hers. I had some trepidation about reading this book at first because I wasn't sure how I would enjoy a book that involved drug use but I'm so glad I took a chance and looked beyond the drug use in the story.

    Unholy Ghosts is the BEST novel I have read this year and with pun intended, I'm jonesing for the next book in series now because the written and characters are addictive. I even enjoyed the dialect of the lower class citizens on the streets. There's also a very persuasive love triangle, that left me feeling unsure of who I wanted Chess to be with. If you get the chance, I recommend you read this book but prepared for a dark and compelling read ahead of you.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A world of ghosts, magic, and mystery.

    Chess is a drug addicted witch working for the Church. (Please don't let the thought of drugs stop you from this read.) The Church is the only organization allowed to have witches by their law. The Church pays home owners to perform exorcisms of the ghosts from their house, pushing the dead to the City of the Dead. Chess knows she owes her dealer some money, hoping for a bonus in the case she just finished up - that didn't happen. After the job Chess went into town and is approached by Bump's, her dealer, enforcer. The enforcer is one everyone cringes at sight of, Terrible. Terrible takes Chess to Bump to find out she is in debt three times the amount she thought, all thanks to Bump's new interest charges. But Bump has an idea on how Chess can work off the debt. If she does it and catches the "ghost," her debt will be square with Bump. But, maybe its worse than she and even Bump thought...

    I devoured this book in two days time. I was surprised with myself. I love when I have the time and the book to just keep going. I'm still digesting this book after reading it so quickly. I'm not sure what the attraction was, but I had to keep going with it. So I am going to touch on what I liked and kept me going in the book.

    I didn't realize it until I was done how this book kept me going. There was constantly something happening, some trouble or problem Chess and Terrible came across. The mystery of who was responsible and why had me wondering and turning the pages. I just wanted to know who, why, what was going to happen next. The pages just kept turning and I was along for the ride.

    One of my favorite characters was Terrible. As the story starts you meet him as the large bully or drug lords law enforcer but he is a lot more. It seemed to me he may even have a soft spot in his heart for Chess. Chess was a great character as well. She is a strong female character that works through all the troubles with some worry. Just get past the drug addiction and you will see it too.

    What really caught my attention was the Church. I really liked reading the believes of the people NOW; in magic, ghosts, and the City of the Dead. This seemed to hold my attention. The religion that exists at the current time of the book and compared to the religious beliefs we have now interested me.
    In mentioning the Church and beliefs, I have to comment on the chapter headings. I loved them! They gave me more of an idea of what the Church is for, about, and how they ruled. Then I realized they where hints to what would happen in the chapter. Many times I had to think back to the chapter heading after reading the chapter, and it did relate . And I would have never guessed what would happen to get there or what the there would have been.

    I really did enjoy this read.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 31, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Bridget's Review

    The truth has come out. There is no God. Does that mean that people can live without the church? Of course not. Chess works for the Church of Real Truth where she fights one on one with ghosts rather than going to the usual 9 to 5 gig.

    Like everybody, Chess owes someone a favor. That someone, Bump, happens to be her drug dealer. What Chess finds rocks her to her core. A human sacrifice has been made and this is when the story really takes off. Could the church have dirty secrets of it's own?

    Loved it, loved it, and loved it! The plot was unlike any other book I have ever read. I really liked the way the book was able to deliver. Paranormal fans everywhere will be talking about this book for a while.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    a dark but promising future for urban fantasy

    Ignore the criticism that Chess' personality is "broken"; the fact that she is flawed and trouble is part of what makes this book so fresh. I guess if you want escapism with snarky heroines, this might not be your book, but if you want something atmospheric and dark, DO NOT PASS THIS UP. I think that even readers who lean towards straight-ahead horror will find much to enjoy in this book. With "Unholy Ghosts," Stacia Kane has moved to the front of the urban fantasy line.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    top ten books ever

    This book is a wonderfu new take on Urban Fantasy.Anti-hero's abound!
    The story is extremely tight and well written. Stacia Kane has done her research as the magical elements very plausible. Unholy Ghosts has everything, pimps, hoookers,addicts,religious zealots, and punk music..
    Church ghost debunker Cesaria makes her way in a world where ghosts are killers and killers are friends. I would easily put this book in my top ten of all time. You will too! Go get it now!!!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 18, 2013

    Junkie Ghost Buster. Some how you'd think this would be interest

    Junkie Ghost Buster. Some how you'd think this would be interesting. It's not.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2013

    Great read

    I love the writing style. I enjoyed the realness of the book. Sick of all the fake stories and holier than though fudged up characters. This was epic. I d say evolve from all the happily ever afters and then read stacia kane downside series. Excellent sci fi with out the cheese.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 20, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I loved this book! The world the book is set in is dark, gritty

    I loved this book! The world the book is set in is dark, gritty and uncompromising. I found myself flinching in places at the stark self-loathing the heroine has for herself but found myself rooting for her to continue forward in accepting herself. The love interest for her is unique and very sexy in a rough way. I definitely recommend this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2012

    You've gotta read this book

    What a GREAT story! Chess is everything you want in a heroine - smart, funny and flawed. The author creates a reality that is unlike anything I've ever experienced before. The language she uses is both unique and emminantly understandable. I loved this book, the 1st in a series, that I bought the next 2 before I was more than half way through.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    Was awful !

    Its about an addict who will do anything to get her fix. She even dates a drug lord and never once trirs to get clean. Dont read unless you like that kind of thing. Pw

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Been waiting for this book to come out.

    This book was well worth the wait. The setting in which it takes place has the Big Brother feeling of a church that rules peoples lives through fear but has the only hope that it sells is the hope that they will protect people from the ghosts. This is paralleled by Downside, the ghetto neighborhood that the main character Chess lives in - a community filled with addicts, pushers, thieves, pimps and prostitutes.

    The Church has all of the ceremony, pomp and structure one has come to expect from a religious institution. It also has the red tape, bureaucratic and corruption that one expects to find in a big corporation or government. In this instance, the Church is really a secular, government sponsored church centered around magic and the controlling of the ghosts and reported hauntings.

    In Downside things are a lot more overtly dangerous, but at the same time you usually know what you are dealing with. It is also filled with real people with real problems. In Downside you can get food, drink, drugs, companionship and music. Lawds, no! M-O-O-N, that spells punk music! The soundtrack for this book reminds me of my early days of punk music like their method of dress and talk reminds me of the movie The Warriors. Hell, I expected one of them to be clinking bottles together with his fingers at the end of the book.

    Living with one foot deeply entrenched in each world, putting her life at risk every day and focusing powerful magic all while being a functional addict, it is no wonder Chess has taken to pills, pipes and beers. While I might not know what it is like to live that life, I think Stacia gave us a solid character whose head we could crawl in to get an idea what put her in that situation to begin with. By the end of the book I not only was concerned about the outcome of the character, but I also knew why she made the bad decisions that she did.

    The supporting characters gave some depth to them as well. Terrible, the enforcer for her drug dealer, was the typical muscle you expect to see in that scenario. That is until depth to his character is introduced. That is until you see the man who you only expect to break legs and get rid of bodies acting like a normal human being. By the end of the book I wound up hating the Church people and rooting more for the thugs in the book.

    The voice, the setting, the plot and the characters in this book are the freshest I have seen in the genre through at least the last couple of years I have been focusing on it. Between the action, the intrigue and the music, I could totally see this one on screen and have already set an alarm in my droid to remind me when it is time to download book two to my Nook. And for the record, this series is coming out one each month. So if you read this one, Unholy Magic comes out next week and City of Ghosts a month after that.

    Overall I would have to give this book a definite A+! Well worth your money and worth buying a copy to give to a friend.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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