At the beginning of Unholy Magic you are immediately thrown into the story with the Churchwitch Chess Putnam investigating a con artist who claims they can raise the dead for you. Chess finds herself nearly fatally poisoned but it’s all in a day’s work for an employee of the Church of Real Truth whose work it is to expose those who file claims of false hauntings. The Church gives Chess a new case to investigate. It is a celebrity soap star who claims his new house is being haunted. Not only this but prostitutes are being murdered and people are claiming it is a ghost doing the killings. Both Bump and Slobag, two rival drug lords, want her to investigate that too. This proves difficult for Chess because Bump who deals drugs to Chess does not know that she is secretly seeing Lex who works for Slobag.
I absolutely loved this book and the world that Stacia Kane has created for the Downside ghost series, it seems so real. I feel as though I am actually there when reading about it. It really isn’t like the other books in the Urban Fantasy genre and it makes a refreshing change. I adore the characters Chess and Terrible. Chess is a heavy drug user and I have read that some people are put off by this but I think it really adds to the book. It is different to have a character that seems real and that suffers and makes mistakes like the rest of us. Yes she is flawed but she is also determined, works very hard at her job and sometimes puts her life on the line to help those around her. Terrible is Bump’s enforcer and is described as a big man with an ugly face, not your typical male UF character. He is very scary and hard, threatening people and beating them up but with Chess he is also a caring gentleman. They have a great friendship that comes across well in the book and I love them both they are in my top ten list of favourite characters.
Now after all of my gushing you may think that Unholy Magic is a happy book but I’m sorry to tell you that it isn’t. The world that Ms Kane has created which Chess lives in is very sleazy and not at all pleasant. The story is also very emotional there is one scene with Chess where she is without drugs for one night. It is so well written that I felt I was going through the withdrawal with Chess and at the end I was nearly in tears. Another scene which nearly made me cry is with Terrible and Chess on the rooftop of her building. But like with the flawed character that is Chess, this unpleasant sleazy world makes the book more real for me. There is also a slightly different language spoken which is a little strange at first but eventually I found it easy to understand.
There are some shocks in the book and the ending has made me go straight into reading the third book City of Ghosts. As I say I love this book, it may be hard to believe but it has a huge romantic story line, it is gritty and sleazy, there is lots of action and it is scary, a perfect book for me. I give it 5 fangs I wish I could give it more. But as I have mentioned it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, you will just have to read it for yourself you never know you could be missing out on a real gem.