Hello 🙂 On this week’s Series Saturday I’m talking about Stacia Kane’s fantastic Downside series. This is the blurb for the first book, to give you an idea of what this world is made up of:
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.
click on the covers to go to Amazon
The first book, Unholy Ghosts, is a wonderful introduction to Chess Putnam and her world. I will say that at times I struggled to like Chess because of her addiction, but the world in which she lives is dark, and the addiction is part of her struggle as a character and the world around her. This is not light series, it’s dark. The Downside is gritty and raw. By the end of the book I was in love with the writing and the characters jumped off the page.
Book two, Unholy Magic, was a great follow-up (and also my favorite cover of the series! I so have cover envy! 🙂 ). In this book, someone is killing the hookers of Downside in a gruesome way, and the rumor Chess hears is that a ghost is doing the killing, which she finds highly doubtful. Proving that, however, means she has to place herself in the path of the killer. This is happening at the same time she’s right between the two men in her life just as they, along with their employers, are moving closer to a showdown (and yes, I am a Terrible fan!). In other words, in both work and her personal life, Chess is directly in the crosshairs.
In City of Ghosts, Chess is dealing with a growing pile of mangled corpses and is forced to team up with the Black Squad agency to solve the murders. She’s put under a binding spell, which means she can’t speak of the investigation outside of the team. If she does, she’ll die. The only person who seems to know anything refuses to talk. Chess is not having a great time in this book. Not only is she dealing with the case, but she also has to contend with her dealer, events that cause the one man she can trust to want her out of his life, and killer wraiths.
Book four, Sacrificial Magic, Chess’s drug dealer (an infamous crime boss) wants her to investigate a death. At the same time she’s investigating a haunting at a Downside school for her job as a churchwitch. As if that were not enough, Terrible no longer trusts her (the events in City of Ghosts between him and Chess made my heart break), and Lex (the son of another crime boss, rival to her dealer) wants to ignite some passion with Chess. This is one of the darker books in the series, in my opinion. The fallout from City of Ghosts really shows in this book, and what Chess is up against kept my chest tight with worry for her the entire book.
In Chasing Magic, book five, someone has tampered with the drugs of Downside. The spell from the drugs causes the person to kill innocents in very horrible ways. She also finds herself in the middle of the war between the two men in her life, Lex and Terrible. The only way for her to stop the killings and the war is to put her drug addiction to use alongside her magic and follow the path back to the creator of the magic-laced speed…which could kill her.
There are also three novellas in this series: Home, Finding Magic, and Wrong Ways Down (the last is told in Terrible’s POV!).
There is a sixth book on the way- from what I see on Goodreads it’s called Unholy Luck. I can’t wait to read it! If you like your urban fantasy gritty, raw, rough, and dark, I highly suggest giving this series a try.