Aug 6, 2010

Posted by in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Unholy Magic by Stacia Kane (Downside Ghosts #2)

Urban Fantasy
June 22 2010
Mass Market Paperback
352 pages
Del Rey

Kick Ass Chick – Chess Putnam

From Goodreads
“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.”

The ‘Downside Ghosts’ series.  I’ve never read anything like these books.  So raw and gritty.  So intense.  Yes, I’ve read books that have raw and graphic moments, but this book kept my heart rate high from the moment you pull open the cover.  You almost feel like hiding your eyes while reading them…almost.  The characters are dark.  The setting is dark.  The story is dark.  Even the humorous elements are dark.  But all this makes for a remarkable tale about human nature.  “Unholy Magic” is the second book in Stacia Kane’s newest series.  Once again, it has received much praise and let me tell you, it’s all well deserved.  The world she has created is very powerful.

I want to talk about the imagery in this series.  As I’ve said before, I am not a “wordy book” girl.  Authors tend to lose me if they go on too long about a room’s decor or about the feelings a certain situation bring out.  I’m a “just get to the point so we can get to the action” kind of reader.  ‘Over-wordiness’ is not the case in this series.  I have never encountered imagery as I have found in Stacia’s series before.  It is, simply put, stunning.  The words she uses to describe Chess’ emotions or Bump’s outfit or Terrible’s dwelling are perfection.  Stacia paints such a picture that you can’t help but lose yourself in the story.  Yes, the picture is grim, but it’s striking just the same.

Chess is a captivating character.  To me, her vulnerability is still her most fascinating trait.  When trapped in a client’s house during a snow storm, she begins to go through drug withdrawal.  My mouth hung open the entire time I read about her suffering.  I have never personally experienced withdrawal.  Hell, I haven’t even ever tried drugs, so I have nothing to compare what Chess is going through.  But for the duration of that scene, I was thinking that yes, that is what it would be like and I felt it.  I’m telling you, Stacia Kane can write!

The other character that is hard to forget is Terrible.  He’s described as being ugly and sporting mutton chops – not your usual hero.  Even though he has a reputation as a hard ass and he’s a confessed killer (all part of his job as Bump’s enforcer), he has an incredible soul.  His scenes with Chess are really what make you care for him.  Terrible’s honest words to Chess made my heart ache, and break.  He trusts her with his secret, his life and his heart.  It’s just too bad Chess has trouble confronting her inner demons long enough to fully trust him.  I hope Terrible is more patient than he seems because he and Chess ‘together’ would be a wonderful pairing to watch. (And just a little aside.  From the way Terrible is described in the books, I don’t think of him as ugly.  I picture Hugh Jackman as Wolverine.  Am I right?!)

This series is as captivating as my blogland friends say it is.  They also told me that the second book is even better than the first – and they were right in that respect too.  “Unholy Magic” is breathtaking.  Enthralling the whole way through.  I just received the third book in the series, “City of Ghosts”, in the mail and I am very much looking forward to starting it and spending more time in Downside’s dangerous and ruthless surroundings.  It’s next on my list.

4.5 stars

Swoon worthy quotes

“She’d intended to be brief, just a peck, really, but once she got there she didn’t know how to pull away.  Didn’t know how, and when his chest hitched under her palms, when he responded, she realized she didn’t want to.  She wanted to stay.  She wanted to kiss him.”

Giggle worthy quote

“Why was she so determined always to do the exact wrong thing?”
“What the hell was the matter with these people?  How did they not see that of all the peole on the planet, she was probably the least qualified to help them with their emotional problems?  It was like asking a dog to do algebra.”

  1. Very nice review Julie. This was my favorite book in the series until I ready City Of Ghosts. Each book is better than the last. 🙂

  2. FV – I’m almost done with what I’m reading then I’m jumping on City of Ghosts. I need to read about Hugh Jackman…um, I mean Terrible.

  3. Totally agree with your imagry comment. She really does a good job of describing without being to distracting. I just love this series!

  4. I truly enjoаАааБТ“e? reading it, you could be a great author.


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