Thursday, January 17, 2013

UNHOLY MAGIC by Stacia Kane

Downside Ghosts, Book 2
Del Ray/Ballantine Books
July 6th, 2010
Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
Mass Market Paperback
Reviewed by Dawn (
Obtained by Publisher


For Chess Putnam, stopping a ghost and having a near-fatal poison attack on her is just another day in her life. She works as an agent for the Church of Real Time by showing that most of the hauntings are nothing more than hoaxes. But when she is drawn into the case of dead prostitutes, well, Chess finds herself in the cross-hairs of this murderous madman. Because to catch this vicious killer, she needs to put a bull’s-eye on her chest and hope she isn’t the next victim. On top of it all, the two men in her life along with their respective employers are close to a showdown which could be catastrophic if they can’t play nice together.

I really wanted to like Chess but there is just something about her that rubs me the wrong way. In this second book, UNHOLY MAGIC, we find Chess torn between two men who want her, her job as an agent to the Church of Real Time and trying to stop this madman that is killing prostitutes. But her drug addiction, her chaos in her life that she causes and more just had me shaking my head. I do like how we got to see a more personal side to her than the drug addiction, etc but she just comes off as a bit whiny instead of snarky. The world of the Downside series is phenomenal. It’s dark, gritty and very interesting to me. I loved how this author makes the ghosts not sweet and at peace but evil and vindictive and that the church had debunkers to make sure people who say there are haunted are truly haunted and not trying to scam a few bucks from the church.

Chess in book two comes across as a person who refuses to own up to her mistakes and consequences. She blames everyone else but herself for the things that go wrong in her life. Terrible is one character I could adore. He laid it all out, in black and white, to Chess, how he feels and what he would like from her but Chess made me see red in her response to this man. Yes he is a drug dealer but there is just something about him that is also quite enjoyable. He is a man with a good and bad side but he knows when to bring either side out in a situation. That to me is one of his key appeals as a reader. The characters either come across as intriguing to me or downright annoying. It was a toss up in this book. The characters are flawed, vulnerable and at times, very life-like. The author does a great job in capturing all those aspects in each of her characters and they are quite compelling. The author does a great job in keeping the action moving and once I was able to ignore the whiny aspect of Chess, I was able to enjoy the gripping storyline a bit better.

UNHOLY GHOSTS is a hit or miss to me though the author tries her best to get Chess to be a sympathetic character. It just doesn’t come across that way for me. I may try future books in hopes to see more of the character Terrible though I am hoping that if Chess hits rock bottom, she might redeem herself to me. The ending had me gasping for breath as I was shocked by what happens then. Needless to say, I sure wasn’t expecting that twist.

If you like your paranormal books with a bit more of a dark side, then you might enjoy the Downside Ghosts series by Stacia Kane.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement


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