This was an utterly compelling read. The story is totally original and in the crowded urban fantasy/horror market, Stacia Kane has produced something that stands out as wonderful. Some of the cover quotes mention 'ideal for fans of Charlaine Harris' and on this I would exert caution. If Charlaine Harris is at the softer end of your reading pleasure (as she is for me, a die hard horror fan) you will love this. If however, Charlaine is as dark as you want to go then Unholy Ghosts is not for you. because this is dark, sticky, violent stuff.
The basic story revolves around a not so distant future or alternative now where there has been a horrific surge in ghost activity. No moaning, chain rattling, making you jump type ghosts these. These are killing people indescriminately, violently, horribly and are not interested in communing with their ancestors. And so an offshoot of mystical belief that has the power to banish and subdue these murderous entities has replaced governments and religeons globally as the seat of power. This is the Church- but nothing remotely christian about it and this is not a religeous book in the slightest.
Chess is our notional heroine, a drug addicted adult orphan, been through the care system, been abused and hurt countless times and seeks refuge in the safety of Church power and her beloved drugs. As a largely functional addict, she bumbles through her life until she suddenly finds she has racked up more drug debt than she can pay back. Politely declining the offer of working the debt off on her back, she takes the alternative offer of clearing an abandoned airfield of a ghost so the local drug lord can start shipping in new product more cheaply. How hard can it be right? This is, afterall what she does for a living.And there the pedal firmly hits the metal- plot spirals into counter plot, threats mount and soon Chess is up to her eyeballs in trouble and sinking fast.
With a clear, detailed and well written style, moments of chilling fear, gruesome, horrific violence, gore and sweaty action, this is a truly exciting read. Be warned, there is quite a bit of drug discussion in this novel and addiction is never really discussed as a bad or problem ridden thing, just as the norm, so avoid giving this novel to an impressionablle or teen reader.
Just to really spice things up, Ms Kane has given us a bevvy of truly hot, hard and violent men that pepper the story. This includes the hottest, meanest, most intriguing and perplexing guy to stalk the pages of fiction for a while- Terrible. Wow what a character. If he was real i'd have to go find him, so hot under the collar did he get me! Unlike other urban horror though, this isn't a bonk fest like Laurell hamilton nor a twee romance like Ms Harris. This smacks of real life and the confusing, bewildering attraction we can all feel for someone who may do us no good whatsoever- or be just what we need.
I can't wait for the next installment of this series. Highly recommended.