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339 pages, Mass Market Paperback
First published May 25, 2010
Before Haunted Week—before the Church showed the world what Truth was—they’d been a tiny group, devoted to the theory and study of magic. Now they ran the world. And she was part of it. It was the one thing in her life of which she was proud.
Terrible was coming, his gait easy and steady, but the way his gaze fixed on and the tire iron dangling loosely from his hand were more eloquent than anything else could have been.
“Terrible,” she managed. “You know how to use this thing?”
He pulled away to meet her gaze, and for a minute he was transformed. Still the same features, the lumpy nose and the jutting brow and the hard, dark eyes, but not ugly anymore. Full of character. Full of strength. She looked at his face but she didn’t see it, not the way she had before. The smile spreading across his features was intimate, sexy. The darkness of his eyes concealed so much more than she’d ever imagined.
“Oh, aye,” he said. “You gonna let me show you?”
If her life had taught her anything, it was that you never really knew what people had going on beneath the surface. People were shit. The only difference between them and animals was people felt the need to hide it.
...Chessie is (in my mind) a luscious tattooed Churchwitch who is trying to skate through life. I don't think she wants to be noticed. She just wants to blend in and smooth over the edges of her pain with her next fix. I would have posted a bitchin' image of her here somewhere, but lo and behold, if you do google searches of "cute brunette with tattoos" you are in man's land and it's quite pornographic.
The world of Unholy Ghosts is post apocalyptic and dystopian. Normally this would make me pass on reading a book but even though it's ultra dark and gray I found it worth it and it wasn't mind numbingly dreary. Ghosts with very real power have risen in the world and the churches of old have been abandoned for the Church of Truth. Magic is the only thing that can counter the ghost menace.
I've heard grumbles and rumors of people disliking that Chess takes drugs and perhaps that the ramifications of her drug usage aren't realistic enough given the work she has to pursue, but I disagree completely. I feel Kane gives a satisfying personal history for Chess and her drugs. Does anyone really need a reason to do drugs? Hell, the world she lives in is reason enough. I'd like to point out though that the book indicates (and I wish I had highlighted some quotes but I forgot to) that Chess grew up being beaten, molested and raped in her mother's household. Given this kind of childhood Chess's decisions and behavior toward her relationships is very realistic and consistent. The main tension regarding her drug usage is that she is in a position of some authority being a Churchwitch Debunker and as such has protocol to follow. Failing to adhere to the parameters of her position within the Church of Truth has dire if not deadly consequences.
Chess embarks on a quest because her friendly neighborhood drug provider, Bump, wants to use her services to banish ghosts at a property that will boost his business. So in comes, Terrible, [Thank you Jan for inspiring my choice of imagery for Terrible, this image is a drawing of Marv from Sin City, and other than hairstyle is how I imagine Terrible] the henchman Bump assigns to liaise with Chess during this extra curricular and highly illegal project. Problems arise, naturally, as Chess tries to balance her duties and the illicit project. I'm not going to detail all of the plot but lets just say she has plenty to keep her occupied.
Chess also has to contend with Slobag, another drug dealer and in particular his minion, **Lex: . This book isn't a romance, I would classify it as more of a UF, but there are moments and relationships that will probably be more thoroughly explored in the next books of the series. Most of us that read the UF/PNR genres are jaded about love triangles but I say read this. If you want pure romance don't read this. But I believe her reaction toward Lex is so nicely realistic and her reaction to any possibility of true intimacy is very telling and for me, a fantastic experience in this book. I too am sick of seeing false obstacles that prevent heroines from getting their man when a decent conversation could fix the issue, but here we have a case where it makes complete sense how she interacts with men.
You will find a relatively interesting mystery and investigation, Chess torn between loyalties and her drug habit, mistakes of a very human nature, a spattering of interesting characters (I for one enjoyed Tyson quite a bit and hope to see more this kind of thing in the successive books), some good decently creepy/scary events, and some beautiful moments to be shared with Chess. I am going to read every book of the series, I'm invested and I'm a fan of Kane now!
** The beautiful man in that photograph is Daniel Henney, he is half Korean, not Chinese which Lex is supposed to be I think.