Second in the Downside urban fantasy series set in an alternate America.
Technically, Chess should be living in a house on the Church grounds but she’s comfortable in her sleazy, troubled neighborhood in the Bump-run Downside. In Unholy Ghosts, Chess stunned everyone when she took down a truly nasty Dreamthief with his followers and now the Elders think she’s capable of so much more. Elder Griffin certainly does when he hands her the haunting of an actor’s home.
Since Haunted Week back in 1997, the Church of Real Truth has kept real busy either debunking people’s claims of ghosts in their homes or casting the ghost’s soul back to the City of the Dead. As a Debunker, it’s Chess’ job to figure out which. Can’t just ignore those ghosts no more. Not when they’re killin’ people.
But when she met up with Terrible at Trickster’s later, it’s only to go out with him to a murder scene. Someone, some thing is killing the hookers in Bump and Slobag’s fiefs. Taking their eyes. Using sex magic. Naturally, that Chess already has a real job cuts no ice with Bump. He expects her to take care of his little problem NOW.
And Chess’ problems just keep getting worse…the actor’s producer, Oliver Fletcher, shows her the pix he’s taken of her drugging and “whoring” for Bump and Lex. He’ll turn the pix over to the Church unless Chess does him this deal. Not much choice since the Church’d throw her ass in jail…no Cept in jail. No choice for Chess. On the home front, Terrible confesses to wanting Chess but for more than he thinks Chess is willing to give, but he’s willing to wait. Willing that is, until he finds Chess with Lex in Graveyard Twenty-three.
Okay, I am enjoying both Lex and Terrible although I’m leaning heavily in Terrible’s direction for Chess. Technically, Lex started up with Chess to have a spy in Bump’s camp but I think he does care for her. The beat down on Doyle in Unholy Ghosts for one and Kane doesn’t give us much to go on to support Chess reporting much on Bump. Then again, that graveyard scene, where Chess yells out that she doesn’t even like Lex…and there’s no reaction from Lex. So, maybe she is just a warm body for him.
Terrible. Now, Terrible does love her and, oh man, does it come out at the end. I’m glad Terrible’s still around but, after Chess’ experience with that banned sigil that Fletcher created back in the day…I dunno. Doesn’t sound very safe. And Terrible is still not talkin’ to Chess.
I am chomping at the bit to start up with City of Ghosts. I just gotta know what happens to Terrible! And if Chess does manage to get around her issues. Cuzy, lordy, that girl do got issues up the wazoo! She doesn’t know nothing about people. After she laid into Terrible that first night when Bump is putting all these ideas out there and Chess actually thinks that T is okay with it. How can she think that? Especially after T’s objections to Bump?
As for the story, if Chess would just go cold turkey, I’d be so happy. It makes me too nervous how Chess is setting herself up for doom. Every. Single. Day. Heck, every hour of the day. She keeps wondering how she gets into these messes…well, duh… And all that whining she does about Terrible not wanting her since he’s seen all her bad parts…again. Duh… The dude is crazy about her. But he wants all of her not just the dribs and drabs she feeds out to keep the emotions away.
Fascinating cover. A tattooed Chess hunched over inside a church with a huge, arched, stained glass window behind her…I’m guessing it’s her place. All religious buildings were abandoned after Haunted Week.