Published May 25th 2010 by Del Rey
Cover and synopsis from the Goodreads book page
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THE DEPARTED HAVE ARRIVED.
The world is not the way it was. The dead have risen, and the living are under attack. The powerful Church of Real Truth, in charge since the government fell, has sworn to reimburse citizens being harassed by the deceased. Enter Chess Putnam, a fully tattooed witch and freewheeling ghost hunter. She’s got a real talent for banishing the wicked dead. But Chess is keeping a dark secret: She owes a lot of money to a murderous drug lord named Bump, who wants immediate payback in the form of a dangerous job that involves black magic, human sacrifice, a nefarious demonic creature, and enough wicked energy to wipe out a city of souls. Toss in lust for a rival gang leader and a dangerous attraction to Bump’s ruthless enforcer, and Chess begins to wonder if the rush is really worth it. Hell, yeah.
Anyone who has spent time in the online book reading community knows the name of Stacia Kane. Normally her name is synonymous with a kickass author who just…well kicks ass! At least that is what led me to buy this book. I appreciated my interactions with her as a reader and so wanted to show some support. Yet, still, I wasn’t entirely sure I was going to like this book for much of the first half.
Chess is awesome, let’s just say that right off the bat. I loved her. But then, if you read my other reviews you’ll see that I have a penchant for some seriously fucked up characters. So that might explain my affection for her. She is not a nice character. She’s high most of her waking hours and something of a bitch for the remaining hours. And that is exactly why I liked her so much. She was gritty and real and I wanted to hear her backstory. And whoa, what a backstory it was. No wonder she was high all the time, I would have been too.
The world was an interesting one too. But I have to admit that I wasn’t overly pleased with the world building and felt like a lot was simply assumed. I really hate it when an author assumes that I know what the hell they’re talking about, and Kane did that to a certain extent in this book. But it wasn’t overly so, and so I could overlook it and enjoy the world building that we did get. I liked the story that got Chess involved in the whole case and liked the pacing for how it unfolded. My biggest complaint about this world was the slang. It grated on my nerves and took me quite awhile to become accustomed to. Eventually I found that it didn’t bother me so much, but at first I was ready to pull my hair out. Along those same lines was my issue with the character’s names. I can’t be all that terrified of a mobster drug dealer named Bump. It makes me snort giggle just saying it.
But then there was Terrible. Yes, that’s a name too….remember what I said about the names? At first I wasn’t sure I was going to like him all that much but by the end *sigh*. He’s a cutie and I was rooting for him in the love interest department. A giant teddy bear who could also probably decapitate someone barehanded if he wished. So attractive.
Oh, and the bad guy! I admit, it surprised me. I figured out the red herring pretty easily, or at least I prayed that it was a red herring and turned out to be accurate. But I just didn’t suspect the real culprit. It never really crossed my mind and then when it happened I was dumbfounded.
I enjoyed this book a lot but it took awhile for me to get into it. Once I hit the halfway point I was completely invested but before that it wasn’t looking too good. I would suggest this book to fans of the genre, but people who are not Urban Fantasy fans might give up before the good parts. For me, I will be reading the next one for sure.