City of Ghosts by Stacia Kane

(Downside Ghosts, Book #3)
Urban Fantasy

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.

There's almost something freaky about me falling in love with series on their third book this year. Happened with the magic series, now here. 

All the books have been good so far but this is the one I've enjoyed the most. The story was deliciously filled with strange twists, nail-grinding bumps, and a killer finale. The personal life of Chess keeps heating up and I loved the scenes of her and Terrible. Also dug a bit heavier this time into her respect for Elder Griffith, an almost warmth and fatherly admiration. 

The little villain (one of them anyway) was truly eerie -- it's a pretty grim UF series, and each book has held that mild creepiness factor - this one more than the others with the man and his children and the dog tunnel chase scene. Chess is still as screwed up as ever, but there's an almost hopeful lift to her I sense in this one during her darker moments.

Sexual moments in the series have always been brief and here they actually get a bit hot. Without going into fierce details, enough is shown to be oo-la-la. The punishment-forgiveness scene in the tunnel was also so well written -- it showed a need for forgiveness and knowing it wasn't deserved, and I was surprised at how Chess reacted with it and wanting punishment if she couldn't get forgiveness. A unique psychological twist there.

Kane is a talented writer who does well in working with her pen to create a world that's realistic, and strange accent that comes across as convincing (not an easy feat).  Pace is quicker in this one, keeping things addictive and faster to get through. There's a lot of internal monologue in these character-based stories, but the speed of this series is increasing as the author gives Chess more responsibility in her job with higher stakes, more involvement with other characters, and a huge mess between her, Terrible, and Lex.

Some of the scenes were particularly nail-grinding, and as before, once the book has been closed, it leaves a trail of frantic personal traumas needing resolution, many questions about the Church and what it really stands for, and what will be uncovered the next book. No annoying cliffhangers, but many reasons to keep reading and wanting to know what will happen next. Definitely my favorite of the first three!

   Book Quotes:

“People, she was discovering, were like cockroaches: If you allowed one in, more were sure to follow.” 

 “How the hell did people do this, this emotion-and-forgiveness thing? How did they stand these feelings? She could barely handle it and she had lovely, necessary, reason-for-living drugs to smooth over the rough spots. How did people do this shit sober?” 

“She'd never been able to resist temptation - especially an unhealthy one - and at that moment he was another pill, another line; one she needed, one she would die if she couldn't have, and her entire body was already vibrating in anticipation.” 

   Book Itunes Playlist from Stacia Kane's Website:


  1. MURDER CITY NIGHTS by Radio Birdman
  2. BORN TO LOSE by Johnny Thunders
  3. ONE TRACK MIND by Johnny Thunders
  5. GLORIA by Them*
  6. BORN WITH A TAIL by Supersuckers
  7. SEARCH AND DESTROY by Blanks 77
  8. GODDAMN BOTTLE by The Lazy Cowgirls
  9. GO MOTHERFUCKER GO by Nashville Pussy
Link to Spotify - CITY OF GHOSTS

   Deleted Scenes from Stacia Kane's Website:

LINK (Many Deleted Scene Goodies)

   Reviews of the Series: