Book: Unholy Ghosts (by Stacia Kane)
Stand-Alone or Series: Series,Downside Ghosts #1)
Genre: Urban Fantasy
First sentence: Had the man in front of her not already been dead, Chess probably would have tried to kill him.
Preview Book on Google Books
Description (from Goodreads): 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 book simply blew me away. From the very first sentence I was immediately hooked; it is like nothing I have ever read before. Right from the get go the author draws you into an alternate world; one where ghosts are common knowledge and the old religions have been proven irrelevant. The city is controlled, by "the Church", which openly employs witches to banish wondering ghosts. Enter our main character, Chess. Chess is one of those marvelous characters that blurs the lines between right and wrong. She obviously partakes in unsavory activities - the girl is a junkie. However, thanks to the excellent writing, she is a highly dimensional character. I immediately accepted Chess, for all that she was, because she isn't simply a drug addict. She is a good person, who keeps getting sucked and drawn into a nasty world. All of Chess's faults made me pull for her even more; you just desperately want something to go right for this girl.
To me, the authors ability to create multifaceted characters is one of the things that makes this book great. Take Terrible, who happens to be my favorite part of the book, for instance. Terrible is introduced as some what of a lunkhead. He is the drug lords (Bump) muscle. But that's not all he is. As the book progresses you see new sides to Terrible; he's sweet, protective, loyal and caring.
The other main thing that really drew me into this book was the imagery. The author paints this vivid portrait of a dingy, dirty and gritty world. Everything seems to be covered in a layer of filth and grime. This is done both through descriptive language and the dialog. I loved the "street talk", if you will. Everyone had their own distinct way of talking and as a result it creates a wonderful image of each character. Also - all of the dialog seemed honest; one of my largest pet peeves is when the dialog and the characters don't match up. It is so refreshing to see characters who supposedly grew up on the street, sound like it. For example, here is a little blurb of Terrible talking to Chess, " 'Aye, looks like it.' Terrible peeled the thin towel away from the wound on his arm and inspected it. "I be right, Chess. Ain't you worry.' ". See what I mean? Simply fabulous.
In case you can't tell by now, I adored this book. The is entirely unlike any other book I have ever read. The writing was superb, the characters were flawless and the imagery was excellent. Do yourself a favor and go get your hands on a copy.