Unholy Ghosts (Downside, Book 1)

Author: Stacia Kane

Publisher: Del Rey

Release Date: May 25, 2010

Blue Ribbon Rating: 5

Format: Print

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Chess Putnam works as a debunker which means she banishes ghosts thus protecting the living from the dead. As a witch, her power enables her to work for the Church of Real Truth in this capacity. In Chess’s world, the Church of Real Truth with its magical practices is in charge, and books and relics of old religions are hidden away in a restricted room in the Church. The dead occupy an underground city, so people know exactly what will happen when they die.


The Church reimburses citizens harassed by ghosts, but many individuals pretend to have ghosts for the cash and are punished by the Church when the debunkers catch them. Unlike many super-heroines, Chess has a drug problem and has incurred a huge debt to Bump, the local leader of the territory of Downside in which she lives. Rather than pay cash, Bump asks her to rid a former air strip of its resident ghosts, but her situation becomes far more complicated than a simple banishing.


A rival gang leader has one of his minions tell Chess not to help Bump, people start turning up dead and an unidentified evil spirit is on the loose. Chess has to define the problem and find the solution before she turns up as a resident of the city of the dead instead.


Stacia Kane has written an engrossing fantasy novel whose characters with their mix of vulnerabilities and friendships will worm their way into your heart. Whether you’re a fan of Terrible, Bump’s right-hand man or Lex, the rival’s minion, you’re sure to find a hero to crave. Her talent for world-building and ability to outline the concepts of the Church of Truth in easily understandable terms lend credibility to her work. Kane’s characters may have flaws, but they’re strong, likable and well-developed.


UNHOLY GHOSTS has a complex plot with many pieces to the puzzle and multiple potential outcomes until Chess and the reader deftly follow threads to the solution. I love to visualize her descriptions of Chess practicing magic. In fact, I read the book straight through and eagerly await the second book in the series, UNHOLY MAGIC.

By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Katherine Petersen

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Romance Junkies Content Editor: Chrissy

Romance Junkies Publishing Editor: Chrissy


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