2010, Del Rey
Series: Book 3 of Downside Ghosts
Chess Putnam has a lot on her plate. Mangled human corpses have started to show up on the streets of Downside, and Chess’s bosses at the Church of Real Truth have ordered her to team up with the ultra-powerful Black Squad agency to crack the grisly case.
Chess is under a binding spell that threatens death if she talks about the investigation, but the city’s most notorious crime boss—and Chess’s drug dealer—gets wind of her new assignment and insists on being kept informed. If that isn’t bad enough, a sinister street vendor appears to have information Chess needs. Only he’s not telling what he knows, or what it all has to do with the vast underground City of Eternity.
Now Chess will have to navigate killer wraiths, First Elders, and a lot of seriously nasty magic—all while coping with some not-so-small issues of her own. And the only man Chess can trust to help her through it all has every reason to want her dead.
The Good: This is a fantastic, emotional book. Chess and Terrible - gah! It's just so wonderfully overwhelming trying to deal with all the heartbreak and the lust and the need and the doubt. No one can write about the tension between two messed up people in varied messed up situations as well as Stacia Kane. And while I could rave about the books sexy entanglements for a nice long while, the mystery in this book is really where the awesome is at. Chess binds herself to a church higher up and that's risky as hell for a myriad of reasons. Chess has secrets of her own to deal with and now she's full up on Church secrets that will literally destroy her if she reveals them. Like painful death immediately, destroy. I could not put the book down. I had to know how things were going to play out for Chess.
The Bad: This book would be perfect if we didn't have to fear about Chess's addiction every other page. It serves no purpose to remind your reader that she's taking drugs. We know. That's the main character's major flaw and has been since the beginning of the series. We aren't told every time she pees. We don't need to know every single time she pops a pill. This isn't new. It's been an issue throughout the series. I just can't understand why an editor hasn't edited these mentions into some reasonably smaller occurrence. I'm drowning in Cepts this and Cepts that and I just want to move the story along, because the actual plot and characters and mystery and every single damned thing is wonderful. Except this.