Unholy Magic (Downside Ghosts Series #2)

Unholy Magic (Downside Ghosts Series #2)

by Stacia Kane
4.5 107

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Unholy Magic (Downside Ghosts Series #2) by Stacia Kane

BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Stacia Kane's City of Ghosts.

For Chess Putnam, finding herself near-fatally poisoned by a con psychic and then stopping a murderous ghost is just another day on the job. As an agent of the Church of Real Truth, Chess must expose those looking to profit from the world’s unpleasant little poltergeist problem—humans filing false claims of hauntings—all while staving off any undead who really are looking for a kill. But Chess has been extra busy these days, coping with a new “celebrity” assignment while trying on her own time to help some desperate prostitutes.

Someone’s taking out the hookers of Downside in the most gruesome way, and Chess is sure the rumors that it’s the work of a ghost are way off base. But proving herself right means walking in the path of a maniac, not to mention standing between the two men in her life just as they—along with their ruthless employers—are moving closer to a catastrophic showdown. Someone is dealing in murder, sex, and the supernatural, and once again Chess finds herself right in the crossfire.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345519344
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/06/2010
Series: Downside Ghosts Series , #2
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 72,100
File size: 2 MB

About 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 that 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. Stacia Kane lives outside Atlanta with her husband and their two little girls.

From the Paperback edition.

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Unholy Magic (Downside Ghosts Series #2) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 107 reviews.
Yvette4 More than 1 year ago
Ok, I know that Downside does not really exist. I know that Chess, Lex, Slobag, Terrible and Bump are not "real" people. I know that there is no Church of the Real Truth and therefore, no job that pays you for banishing spirits. So, why then, as I was reading this book, did I actually scream out loud? Even though this is just a story (a very, very, good story), I find myself relating to the characters in a way that I didn't expect. Ms. Kane does a great job of creating a world that you can actually imagine is realistic and believable. Although I did enjoy the first book, the second book, for me, just added another juicy layer. So, even though Downside is not a "nice" place, why, as I read, can I actually imagine hanging out with Chess and Terrible? Someone needs to help Chess get off drugs. I wish that someone was me! Read this series!
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 series. Watch your back Laurell K. Hamilton.
JC_Rubio More than 1 year ago
There are no words to describe how I felt when I read this book. I literaly jumped off my bed screming "OMG!!!"...(pause)"THIS CAN'T BE HAPPENING!!". Of course it took me a while to settle, I had to start reading the next book in the series inmediately after. I just have to know what happens next! Everything in this book builds up so masterfully to the point that I was holding my nook with one hand and grabing and twisting the sheets on my bed with the other one. I'm so in love with the characters, I can't get enough!! My hat is off to Ms. Kane.
ReadingVixen67 More than 1 year ago
I am stunned. Chess is a truly conflicted, mixed-up woman with a lot of demons in her past; demons she is trying to drown in drugs and booze. Interestingly enough, she's a "Churchwitch," who is paid to debunk ghosts out of people's homes, meaning, she has to prove there really is or isn't a ghost in the house. Throughout all of her travails, she hooks up with Terrible, an enforcer for the dealer who keeps her stocked in drugs. Those 2 make a great pair when defeating ghosts, but they would make a BETTER pair if Chess would pull her head from her backside and get with the program, and stop hurting him so much! AAARRGGHH!!! Can't wait for the 3rd book, City of Ghosts!!!
MicheleLeesBookLove More than 1 year ago
I was given this book to review. Chess Putnam lives in a hybrid punk-pseudo-Catholic world where ghosts are real, The Church rules everything and Chess can only be herself in the drug-laced gutter rock bars of Triumph City. So it's not actually Catholicism that has taken over (in fact all the religions we know today are archaic and illegal), but rather a domineering, completely ruling "Church" that came about when ghosts tore through the streets, killing everyone they could many years ago. Since then the Church (the one that rules the world) has taken over by protecting people from the murderous ghosts who still try to break free every so often. The dark angle of universally murderous ghosts is a greater metaphor, especially in this second book in Kane's Downside series, since the books focus on Chess, who is a Debunker (and ghost banisher) for the Church, but who is also haunted by her vicious childhood and has become an addict just to deal the trauma of her past. Terrible, the right hand man to Chess' dealer, but an almost good-hearted guy, asks Chess for help when a series of hookers are found dead, and the witnesses say a ghost is to blame. Rival dealer Slobag, has been facing the same problem. With both sides ready to throw down as much as cooperate, Chess being bribed or blackmailed into loyalty to each side, the Church giving her a high profile, career making case and a ghost and witch team doing the unspeakable to the women of the street, all the pressure is on Chess, who just can't handle it. Chess is a spiderweb of cracks, pieces of her slowly giving way to the pressure. Reading Unholy Magic is watching her breakdown, under the strain others put on her, and the tragedy of the ways she chooses to punish herself. Unholy Magic is not a pretty book. It's not an easy experience, but it is a viscerally emotional story. It's dark, at times outright lovely, a must read for those who read urban fantasy for a dark, psychologically twisted tinge to characters and world settings. Some of the best writing in speculative fiction today can be found here, with monumental world building, raw characters and a darkly surreal feel that's hard to find elsewhere. One for horror and dark fantasy fans, not lightweights, Unholy Magic is simply not to be missed.
JDeg More than 1 year ago
Like many before me, it's safe to say that I'm a fully blown addict of this series. I was hooked after the first book, but after this one, I'm so far into it, I'm going to go into withdrawl before Book 4 is published! Chess is still letting her addiction run her life. More of her dark past is revealed in this book, and she gets even more of my sympathy because of it. It's amazing to me that she's able to function on this level with the turmoil in her past. She has already survived some of the worst things anyone can imagine, and she's still holding her life and job together. Of course, our heroine is making a mess of her life. She's still doing favors for Bump and Slobag because of her addiction. She's still toying with Lex (because of the free drugs and companionship) and Terrible, the only person in the world who is trustworthy to her. We learn a lot more about Terrible's past, too. We see a heartwrenching speech from Terrible that seems so out of character for a gang enforcer, yet seems so right coming from him. I want to say he's a good guy, but how can I say that about a gang enforcer? But he is - I'm cheering for both Terrible and Chess in this book. And I like Lex - I mean, he's not all that bad to Chess. Stacia Kane does not give the reader the easy scapegoat with Lex - Chess is responsible for her own decisions. There's no one to get mad at except for Chess. She has it all - a good job, her addiction fed, and the admiration, trust and love of the only important person in her life and she seems hell bent on destroying it all. Maybe Chess really does have a deathwish. With the bumps and bruises (physically and emotionally) that Chess deals with in this book, she's still dragging herself up by her bootstraps, dusting herself off, and continuing to try to put the pieces of her life back together. There is great strength and resiliance in this character. The ending of this book is also heartwrenching, from Terrible's realization of Chess' poor choices, to the harshly worded fight between Terrible and Chess, to the selfless final scenes. The action doesn't stop for one minute. I seriously couldn't put this book down. As you can see, I can't say enough about this book and this series. It's only getting better.
bridget3420 More than 1 year ago
Hussies from the street corner are being knocked off and it's up to Chess to find out who is behind this. Word on the street is that a ghost is behind these murders. Chess doesn't put much stock into this rumor and she's betting that the killer is human. I'm addicted. I am so ready for City of Ghosts! Stacia is one of the best Urban Fantasy writers that I have ever read.
Shaunte72 More than 1 year ago
Chess is the prototype of a flawed heroine. She is exciting and bad at the same time. Although you see where she is going to make a mistake, you still cheer her on. Well written and I cannot wait to read the rest of the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have to keep reading while my mind weeps for chess and her inability to do the right thing even as it kills her
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Book 2 sizzles!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am an avid reader of the paranormal/urban fantasy genre and have to say Stacia Kane is one of my top ten authors. This was so well written emotionally for Chess it left me gut wrenched and raw right along side her. A few of her scenes brought tears to my my eyes and that's a rarity for me. In addition the plot line was well written and did not feel rushed to get the ending out like a lot of authors do. She made the characters work for it and by extension me as the reader. Loved it!! Kimberly Shihady
lightbar20015 More than 1 year ago
couldnt put it down
ERPierce More than 1 year ago
What a disturbingly addictive series. Chess is a freaking mess. This is a dark, dirty, seductive and very disturbing Urban Fantasy series. It's almost hard to read. It's certainly not for the faint of heart. I get very uncomfortable reading about the drug use. The drugs are an integral part of Chess, the world and the story. Part of me hates it. hates reading about it, hates thinking about it, and hates that Chess is so addicted to it. The other part of me is fascinated. Fascinated that Chess is a somewhat functioning person... Gosh. Terrible. Man. I feel for Terrible. And Chess really, but you do reap what you sew. Lex, well, sure he itches a scratch, but Chess needs to sober up, grow up, deal with some of her issues and take charge or her life.. Drugs are not the answer!! Can't wait to read the next one
piratewife More than 1 year ago
In Unholy Magic, we dive deeper into the two worlds Chess exists within: The Church of Truth and Downside. Prostitutes in Downside are being murdered in heinous ways with the tinge of dark, sex-tinged magic hanging over their mutilated and branded corpses. The moment her official dealer Bump has the chance, he calls in 'his' churchwitch to figure out the cause. Chess has maintained her booty call/drug connection with Lex, so she ends up agreeing to work the same job from rival dealer Slobag's side, too. She's wedged between warring drug lords, where one wrong step could lead to death, not just hers. All the working girls are convinced it's a specific serial killer's ghost. The ghosts they're focused on has been in Church prison for years. As such, we get to see more inside the Church of Truth headquarters. Stacia Kane paints the scenes vividly, particularly when Chess ventures into one of the deepest Church ghost prisons to confirm the serial killer is still caged. Her description of our heroine's descent into this man-made hell for ghosts is startling, adding to the overall understanding of this alternate future Kane has created. In Unholy Ghosts, Chess was without anyone in her life. No one relied on her or was invested in her welfare for altruistic purposes. In this series we see lots of people use Chess, but we also start to see a real connection form between Chess and Terrible. She has trouble accepting the possibility of trust, but wants it. Her loose relationship with Lex begins to weigh on her. She crashes with him, lets him supply her drugs and keeps it all from Terrible. She finally has to begin looking at what damage she could be doing to these potential friendships, a first for her. That worry, though, can't overcome her addiction. In Unholy Magic we see the depths of Chess' addiction, the truth that functional addiction is an unrealistic hope. As a result, we also see more clearly how easily Chess can be manipulated. She's lost control - not just to her addiction, but also of her freedom. She's miserable and sees the steps to regaining her life as giving up. In Unholy Magic she has to face the truth of her situation and make the decision if her life with the Church, with friends, with lovers is worth a change. With increased intensity, Kane delivers an action-packed, dark urban fantasy novel that will leave you reeling for days after finishing it. (We actually pre-ordered the third novel, City of Ghosts, the day after completion of Unholy Magic because we don't want to waste even a day not knowing what will happen with Chess, her job, the love-triangle and the others within Downside.) This review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club (http://www.vampirebookclub.net).
Melhay More than 1 year ago
Three months after the banishing of the Dreamthief in Unholy Ghosts Chess is helping the Black Squad to build a case. She's starting to be viewed differently by her peers at work, considered that she just might be good at her job. Chess decides to stop out for a drink and see a band at the local bar with her one friend, Terrible. Chess ends up going with Terrible to look into a murder of a hooker. Terrible wants Chess to verify the killer is not a ghost. But knowing Bump, if it is a ghost, he would have her take care of it instead of the Church directly. The murder was close to the edge of Bump's and Lex's territories. Chess finds herself in the grasps of Bumps manipulation with drugs and his knowledge of her, again. So of course, Chess agrees to help both Bump, and Lex without the other knowing, but at what cost to her... This book is a wonderful number two to the series. Stacia Kane, once again does not disappoint here. I got drawn into Chess's cases and life. This book was just as intense or more so than Unholy Ghosts. The cases, both of them, hit close to home once again to Chess - actually closer than she would like. Chess is stuck between the feud of her close friends boss and her local drug dealer, and the man who has been giving her free drugs and who she shares a night with once in a while. I watched as Chess's life which seems to work so well for her, comes apart at the seams. Then Chess realizes what she wants and tries to fix everything to get it. The characters are a great love in this book. The way we get to see more dynamics from them - history, reactions, and intimacy with each other. We got more insight on our lovable bouncer, Terrible. We get to see a softer side and the more dangerous side (that many others in the book see) of Terrible. The story line... just keeps going. The pacing is quick and keeps you turning the pages. The different cases Chess works on kept me going to see what would happen and where the cases would lead. And the trauma in Chess's life just adds the flare to the story. All full of action, suspense, and even a caring between the characters.
harstan More than 1 year ago
homicides. The Church of Real Truth field debunker and ghost dispatcher Chess Putnam is assigned to ferret out the truth. She expects the killer to be human concealing his or her identity with ghostly whispers. That she knows is the norm when she investigates a reported haunting as some mortal hides one or more of the seven deadly sin transgressions however some supernatural essences are killers. Chess makes inquiries in which everyone she interviews insists a ghost is at large and other evidence supports the claim of something from beyond. As she digs deeper into the case, she realizes a lunatic is combining murder with sex to dabble in the paranormal. To bring this maniac out into the open means risking her soul. Unholy Magic is a terrific urban fantasy whodunit starring a street tough investigator. Chess is fabulous as her experience as an operative means eliminate the obvious and the rumored leads to almost always find a deranged or scamming human. However, the occasional outlier is what makes Chess' job dangerous. Readers will appreciate her investigation into what in her mind is a mortal serial killer whose become a paranormal myth; as with her previous case Unholy Ghost the line of demarcation is especially emaciated. Harriet Klausner
Hardegree More than 1 year ago
A very hard book to read. At times, I hated Chess. I hated what she is doing to her body with drugs. But I also hated how both Lex and Terrible are involved in ways that no one is going to come out the winner. Terrific writing, pain filled ending.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Then repeat, again and again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Terrible, Chess and the rest of the folks in and around Downside are such broken, human characters. Stacia Kane's writing makes you love them and hate them and hurt for them (especially Chess and Terrible). One of my new favorites.
Kristas_Dust_Jacket More than 1 year ago
OMG. This series. I really enjoyed the first book, Unholy Ghosts. More than I thought I would. But, it was the second book, Unholy Magic, that solidified me as a certified fangirl of the Downside Ghosts series. The beyond complicated relationship between Chess and Terrible laced together with an incredibly weird and twisted mystery made for a book that was completely unresistable. Prostitutes are being mutilated, and Bump has Chess and Terrible looking into it. Meanwhile, Chess is looking into a supposed haunting at a famous actor's house. Only, things start going wrong at every turn. The prostitutes keep dying, the house really might be haunted by the spirit of a murderous ghost, and Chess' time of burning candles at both ends when it comes to Lex and Terrible is about to blow up in her face. Chess continues to be an enigmatic heroine. Her drug use doesn't appear to be tapering off. In fact, if anything, it seems to be getting worse. Her success at solving complicated and dangerous jobs has sent more high-profile - and high-stress - cases her way. She is falling more and more in love with Terrible, which scares the poo out of her. And Lex is giving her free pills. All of which serve as evidence that her pill-popping is not going to stop anytime soon. Chess is a study of the imperfect heroine. It seems that, in books, heroes and heroines are very "good." They're strong, confident, beautiful, intelligent and well-liked. They sometimes make bad choices, but things always have a way of working out in the end. Chess is like the anti-heroine. Although intelligent and pretty, Chess is not strong or confident or well-liked. She hates herself and where she comes from. She suffered horrible abuse as a child which seriously messed with her head. She doesn't think she's capable of love or being loved. She second guesses all her choices and she usually takes the easy way out in order to not face the truth, especially if she thinks the truth will be particularly hard to face. Chess has cornered the market on making mistakes. Particularly when it comes to the men in her life. Whenever she starts having real feelings for Terrible, she runs right into the arms of Lex because he is safe and she feels nothing for him. It's a temporary balm, but all of it comes crashing down around her and she eventually has to face up to all of her actions and feelings. The mysteries in Unholy Magic are seriously messed up. I've got two words for you - GHOST WHORES. Seriously - if those two words don't make you want to run right out and read this book right now, I don't know what will. It's an intricate plot with lots of twists and turns, many of which I didn't see coming from a mile away. It was awesome! Although dark and twisted, I thoroughly enjoyed trying to figure out who did what and how the two separate cases were tied together as they seem to be in this series. Terrible is just the most awesome guy ever. He's scary and formidable and uneducated. He's scarred and unattractive by most people's standards. Yet, it's so easy to see that he cares deeply and fiercely for the people he considers important. We learn more about him and his past and it just goes further toward proving this fact. Once again, I listened to the audio version, and once again I'm so glad I did. Narrator Bahni Turpi does an amazing job with the Downside lingo. I enjoy her interpretation of the books so much, I intend to continue with the books in the series in their audio format. I enjoy them so much - I can't wait to get in my car every day to go to work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Need more
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bmoffatt85 More than 1 year ago
The second book in the series and officially has me hooked. I have already bought and began ready the third book as I write this. I could not put this book down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Figuatively speaking, of course.