Chasing Magic by Stacia Kane

(Downside Ghosts, Book #5)
Urban Fantasy

Magic-wielding Churchwitch and secret addict Chess Putnam knows better than anyone just how high a price people are willing to pay for a chemical rush. But when someone with money to burn and a penchant for black magic starts tampering with Downside’s drug supply, Chess realizes that the unlucky customers are paying with their souls—and taking the innocent with them, as the magic-infused speed compels them to kill in the most gruesome ways possible.

As if the streets weren’t scary enough, the looming war between the two men in her life explodes, taking even more casualties and putting Chess squarely in the middle. Downside could become a literal ghost town if Chess doesn’t find a way to stop both the war and the dark wave of death-magic, and the only way to do that is to use both her addiction and her power to enter the spell and chase the magic all the way back to its malevolent source. Too bad that doing so will probably kill Chess—if the war doesn’t first destroy the man who’s become her reason for living.

This series has become an addiction for me. Chess is a completely broken heroine who almost gets on ones nerves at times with her severe, disabling insecurity, yet you can't help but love her, from her sarcastic inner monologue, her drug-addicted head, to her fully obsessed heart in her relationships. She is starting that slight character change that is inevitable in a series - a character must change someway, for better or worse, or it becomes stale.

She has no end in sight mentally about drug addiction, though, and instead the drugs are taking their toll more and more, especially in one good scare scene. Terrible is more concerned than before, and there are changes in this book about their relationship (big ones) which will be fascinating to read about in the following story.

The plot for Chasing Magic almost reminded me of zombies! The folks of Downside are mindless half the time on drugs anyway, but in this case it's notched up big-time when magic makes a play. Chess again is recruited by Bump to make things all well again, and Terrible still struggles with the after effects of the psychopomp and illegal steps Chess had to take which saved his life.

Personally this one is quite sad as Elder Griffin withdraws with Chess after she reveals the truth, and this affects the character pretty badly. I'm curious if they will make up in the future or if he will always stay distant and withdrawn. I'm even more curious if anyone in the church will ever notice her drug addiction! Also, will Chess ever see something bad about the church she so respects, opening her eyes to the possibilities of what some of the poor people in the area are saying is the truth instead?

The romance aspect of this series has become very intense, especially for an urban fantasy. There's still some hot steamy sex but it's mainly interrupted and kept short when it occurs.  I was especially touched by the sweet ending with the roof!  Violence is here as usual but again more as an after-effect while Chess explores crime scenes and tries to prevent them. The mystery isn't a deep one, but the suspense (especially at the ending) is strong. The villain is another worthy one for the books; they are always totally dark and demented.

Lex takes a turn in the hearts of some readers in this one. He's still the same as ever but in his new position has to take steps against a beloved character, Terrible, which may turn some against him, Chess included. I feel less and less from her in regard to Lex on a romantic basis and hope that triangle is firmly buried now that it's been played. I do dig their friendship, though, and am curious how that will eventually play itself out as the two drug lords are battling due to their territories.

It's completely yummy how Kane is able to dish out a book that's both action-filled with a rich, detailed plot while keeping it heart-clenching on a relationship level as well.The third book is still my favorite of the series, but this new release is a close runner-up. Highly recommended :) Now just having to wait for the next one's release! The fourth and fifth followed each other quickly enough, so hoping the same for the sixth.

   Book Quotes:

“I ain't...Don't know how to say it up right. Never--Fuck, Chess. Thought you was dead once before, you recall? Never felt so bad in my life, not ever. Then on the other day, thought you was gone and just....I can't do it, bein without you.”

“That was the problem with love, though, wasn't it. It couldn't be helped, couldn't be controlled. It just roared in and took whatever it wanted, destroyed whatever it wanted; the most dangerous addiction of all, because nobody survived it intact. But an addiction that was impossible to let go.”

“How I can do that one, aye? Leave my Chessiebomb there without me.”

   Reviews of the Series: