Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane
- Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Del Rey; Original edition (May 25, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0345515579
- ISBN-13: 978-0345515575
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.
This is a book that I have been waiting for. Not in the vaporous “a book like this has been a long time coming” sort of way, but more of a “when the hell is that awesome series by Stacia Kane going to release” kind of way. That is one of the dangers of following these authors on Twitter and Facebook – you get teasers of the stuff coming out as they beta read for each other. Mark Henry gushed about this book when he first read it. For the record that was so far back that I cannot even recall when it was.
The 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.
If you want to find out more information on the author, check out her website. For more information on the books or the music in them, check out Radio Downside. There is an iTunes playlist for this book which I will link later. The whole album would run you like $8. Overall I would have to give this book 5 dancing zombies out of 5 – a definite A+! Well worth your money and worth buying a copy to give to a friend.