Author: Stacia Kane
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 05/25/10
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.
Plot: 4 Stars
The way every aspect of Chess's life get wrapped together into the intricate plot of the novel was done very well. Her work life with the Church and her secret life of drugs cross paths and she dealt with it the way one would expect: with lies and drugs. The ghosts and their history in Downside were a very interesting take; it's not very often the ghosts are specifically mean or violent. The magic could have been explained a little more in depth, but was still unique to the story. I really enjoyed following Chess throughout the book as she balanced the good parts of herself against the bad, her work against her addiction.
Pace: 4 Stars
I enjoyed the quotes at the beginning of each chapter. They really helped explain the church without Chess having to pause in the action to explain everything. The story flowed really well with the quotes and Chess just giving bits and pieces about the church throughout the story. There were a couple points throughout the novel that were a bit slow for me. A few times, I wanted to shake Chess and tell her there were more important things going on than her drugs, but her addiction really became just another part of the story. The end seemed a touch rushed, but was otherwise a great ending to a very interesting story.
Characters: 4.5 Stars
Chess was a very unique individual. I've never before read about a main character that was also addicted to drugs, and it was a very fresh idea for the urban fantasy genre. In a genre full of kick ass bounty hunters and assassins and law enforcement officers, it was a breath of fresh air to read about a less than perfect, flawed character that read almost like an anti-hero. I also enjoyed the difference in speech between the more shady characters and the members of the Church. Although it took a bit getting used to, once I did, it really gave me a better picture of the characters.
Cover: 4 Stars
The color contrast of blues and yellows on each half of the cover model's face depicts the good and bad that wars within Chess. I also really liked that the cover model's tattoos were relevant to the story, although we never get a clear picture of what Chess's tattoos should look like while reading. The cityscape background really gives the dark and gritty feel of Downside. And I absolutely love the font chosen for the title.
Overall: 4 Stars
Disclosure: I bought this book for my own enjoyment.