Wrong Ways Down by Stacia Kane

(Downside Ghosts, 1.5)

It’s a thin line between right and wrong. It’s an even thinner one between wrong and dead…

Terrible has always been on the wrong side of the law, living up to the only name anyone ever gave him. As the chief enforcer for Downside’s most powerful criminal, it’s his job to collect debts and protection money by any means necessary. And he’s very good at his job.

But part of that job is also to keep Bump’s various employees safe. So when a street dealer is found dead and a prostitute is brutally attacked, Terrible immediately starts using his fists to hunt down the ones responsible.

He’s determined to find and destroy them. They’re determined to use his desire for the woman he secretly loves to break him.

The tale told through Terrible's head turned out to be enjoyable. I wouldn't have thought otherwise, since Terrible is the best character in the Downside Ghost series. This extra dished out from the author is no mere short story - but instead this in-between book is over 200 pages, filled with Terrible trying to solve a mystery crime on his own while worshiping Chess in his head.

I knew he loved her, but seeing her through his eyes even made me see her a little differently, and I'd been in her head for five books and two re-reads. His perceptiveness of her, how he could tell she was having a bad day, to see when there were issues in her eyes he tried to avoid raising by dropping subjects...and hearing his views on what happened between them that night at the bar, heartbreak. We readers know that wasn't what was going on in her mind, but like Chess, Terrible has low self-esteem and just assumes the worst conclusion to be the true one.

Bump is never a likeable sort (although sometimes he's funny...) but I enjoyed the thrown in interactions Terrible had with him, highlighting the respect the two hold for one another. A little is told about his loyalty to Bump, although it doesn't go into graphic memory detail, but enough for the reader to clearly get a proper picture. I was especially interested in Bump's warning to Terrible to stay away from Chess romantically, saying from experience that you can't trust a junkie.

We learn a little more about Terrible in this book, although the majority of it was already learned in the series. Being in his head was an experience worth reading about.

Why then, three stars? I get why Terrible is who he is, and why Chess is who SHE is, but the book covered a lot of how Terrible worked - with his fists. I find it disturbing and not terribly interesting in terms of interrogation. The best parts of the story was when he was with Chess, thinking about her, talking to Bump, or doing something other than violence. He's a good guy, this doesn't make me think less of him - actually I think a wee bit more of him now because his intentions towards Chess are so extremely pure - but I can't rate reading about all the fighting higher. Just not my thing and it couldn't hold my interest enough during those scenes.

Overall still worth reading if you're a Downside fan.


   Book Quotes:

“But when he was with Chess he wasn’t the bad guy no more. He was the one keeping her safe, making her smile. He still wasn’t good enough for her, but he were better than he’d ever been. That mattered.”

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