Reading, writing, and raising the dead.
When Chess Putnam is ordered by an infamous crime boss—who also happens to be her drug dealer—to use her powers as a witch to solve a grisly murder involving dark magic, she knows she must rise to the challenge. Adding to the intensity, her boyfriend, Terrible, doesn’t trust her, and Lex, the son of a rival crime lord, is trying to reignite the old sparks between them.
Plus, there’s the little matter of Chess’ real job as a ghost hunter for the Church of Real Truth. She’s investigating reports of a haunting at a school in the heart of Downside, where someone seems to be taking a crash course in summoning the dead—and if Chess doesn’t watch her back, she may soon be joining their ranks.
As Chess is drawn into a shadowy world of twisted secrets and dark violence, it soon becomes clear that she’s not going to emerge from its depths without making the ultimate sacrifice.
Stacia Kane has been a phone psychic, a customer-service representative, a bartender, and a movie-theater usher, and she thinks that writing is more fun than all of them combined. She wears a lot of black, still makes great cocktails, likes to play music loud in the car, and thinks Die Hard is one of the greatest movies ever made. She believes in dragons and the divine right of kings and is a fervent Ricardian. She lives in Devon, England.
©2012 Stacey Fackler (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“Whether [the reader’s heart] is pounding in fear or breaking in sympathy, this book was satisfying on pretty much every level…. This is such an addictive, compelling series.” (Urban Fantasy Book Reviews)
A mom, a wife, a friend, a happy ending addict, an audiobook junkie, a wine lover and geek wanna -be. I'm constantly looking to be blown awa
When you finished a 13+ hrs audiobook in 24 hrs, it can only mean one thing, " impossible to put down"
Bahni Turpin is awesome!! And paired with the amazing writing style of Stacia Kane, it's just absolute magic!
With some heart wrenching moments we get one more mystery solved, all while we get to ride inside the messed up little head of our unconventional, some times irritating, but always entertaining Chess Putnam.
Another terrific entry to this dark, somber yet exciting and always engrossing Urban Fantasy series.
QUESTION : DOES LISTENING TO AUDIO BOOKS MAKE YOU SMARTER? If so, I'm. Freakin Genius!
The Downside Ghost Series is for Adults. Why? The main character has a major drug addiction, the men that she is involved with are both gang thugs, and oh yeah, there are a bunch of ghosts just waiting to kill whomever they can get their hands on.
AND all this adds up to make one of the best series I have ever read.
SACRIFICIAL MAGIC, is the fourth book. I think that because I have gotten to know and understand the characters so well, that I found myself crying. Almost feeling the fear and shame that main character and witch, Chess feels everyday. Suddenly her drug addiction makes sense.
I can't stress how the narrator is absolutely perfect for this book. She is not reading the book. She is performing. She has all the characters down pat. All I can say is WOW!
I wish more audiobooks were as good as this one.
Reviewing Romance & Urban Fantasy
Sacrificial Magic (SM), the 4th book in Stacia Kane’s Downside Ghosts Series and it’s her best book to date.
Cepts, Nips and Panda’s, OH MY. These are all Chess’s drugs of choice, plus the occasional trip the pipe room. Yes, the series about a drug addicted heroine named Chess Putnman that’s a witch investigator that debunks ghost haunting for the Church. But don’t let the drug addiction turn you off. Chess has had a very hard and abusive childhood being passed around different foster homes where the dads and sometime moms have used her as their form of entertainment. Chess at heart is a survivor with very low self-esteems issues. She uses her pills as a way to escape her feelings and pain of the past.
Even though Chess has finally found love, she still believes that she is unworthy of that love and does everything in her power to mess it up. There is one scene (well more than one) in Sacrificial Magic where I just want to slap the hell out of Chess for being self deconstructive when it comes to her relationship with Terrible. Yes the two still does not have it easy and even though I do get frustrated I like the fact that Kane doesn’t turn Chess and Terrible into the old married couple after they FINALLY get together. They both live hard lives and even though they have found love with each other, they have to work at their relationship.
And speaking of being frustrated; SM is a big freaking sexual tease through half of the book! There a few scenes where you thought you were going to get to see Terrible and Chess go at just to have something stop their fun.
Chess finds herself smiling a lot in SM and wondering what that is all about. Could this be what normal people do? Oh and we learn a little something personal about Terrible; he likes his dames o-natural. So no more waxing for Chess. When I read that line in the book I had a huge smile on my face. There was little more humor in SM and it was nice to see.
Chess gets a case from the Church that has been dropped by another debunker at a school on the other side of town where she has to cross the drug dealer’s line finding herself in her ex’s territory. This doesn’t help things with her and Terrible’s relationship. But she has no choice but to work the case. She uses her ties to Lex (her ex) to help figure out what’s going on at the school with the haunting.
Sacrificial Magic is a must read and is my current favorite book for this year and I say with total confidence that the only book that will probably top it will be the next book in the Downside series, Chasing Magic.
Fans of dark and gritty UF with damaged heroine and unusual heroes will fall in love with this series.
Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy Book Review Blogger.
The fourth installment in Stacia Kane’s Downside Ghosts series felt like a major stepping stone for Chess. Putnam and I didn’t exactly hit it off in the earlier books; I struggled to find the “heroine” in this drug addicted protagonist which has made her journey up to this point all the more impressive. The last novel was my favourite so far but Sacrificial Magic surpassed it in one area; it changed my view of Putnam’s potential for happiness. Chess makes some incredibly difficult decisions in this installment and realizes that the trust issues that exist in her and Terrible’s relationship are hers, not his. I was awed by how much her character grows in this book; now I find myself rooting for her and actually optimistic about the possibility of a happily-ever-after (just not TOO soon as I’d like Kane to write a few more novels first!).
So far, my favourite plot lines in this series have revolved around the tension between the two sides of Downside and in Sacrificial Magic we get exactly that. Chess must investigate a haunting on Slobag’s side of town which in turn leads to an attempt on Putnam’s life and an all-out turf war. Can you believe that this is actually just an average day of the job for this church witch? The result is an emotionally charged, action-packed story that doesn’t quit until the very last page. Kane’s talent for writing intricate investigations with multiple plot threads is out in full force in this installment and I found myself enjoying the detective work almost as much as the scenes with Terrible. Almost.
Bahni Turpin’s performance as the narrator is once again without compare; she switches between characters with ease and her tone is always dead-on. She does a brilliant job of portraying each individual’s emotional state and, handles Chess’ frequent highs and lows with ease. Every time I listen to one of these audiobooks I can’t help but be amazed by Turpin’s proficiency with the unique lingo that this series is renowned for. Her voice has become an integral part of my Downside Ghosts reading experience and has forever replaced the one inside my head.
Tension runs high between Chess and Terrible in the first half of this novel which spawns a rather intense argument between these two lovebirds. I was glued to my earbuds during their showdown; it was just so heartbreaking that I felt like I died a little inside after listening to it. Luckily, their make-up session is equally as powerful which means that I cried not once, but twice during this 14 hour experience. I just hope that Terrible and Chess have reached a point in their relationship where they’re finally going to be more “on” than “off” because I’m beginning to get a little frustrated (and drained) by all of the drama. I NEED for them to be a united front for at least one full installment.
Sacrificial Magic provides readers with some closure while simultaneously adding new questions to the already large unanswered pile. I can’t help but worry about what the future might hold for Chess but one thing is for certain; I will be there to find out! Needless to say, Stacia Kane has earned a spot on my auto-buy list!
This series has been a real find and a total surprise. I purchased the first one after reading some amazing reviews but was unsure what to expect. The heroine is a drug addict?? However, Chess is such a vulnerable and complex character that the listener can't help but love her. She is insecure, brave, clever, and full of contradictions. She is a fascinating protagonist and gets more interesting with each installment. Stacia Kane's world is edgy and unique. At times it is genuinely scary and at others it is grim, yet there is still love and hope to be found. Terrible and Lex add to a wonderful cast of rich characters. The other great thing about this series is the magnificent performances by Bahni Turpin. I honestly think the best way to experience these books is to hear her read them. She is superb - probably the best narrator I have heard. The books come to life and the characters are voiced so well its impossible to think of them sounding any other way. If you're a fan of urban fantasy with an edge this series is one of the best. I bought the first one and was so captivated I purchased all the others and had them finished in a week. Then I started again!
It wasn't baaad. But it was really whinny and romancey. It picked up some in the end, but I have to say it never grabbed me like her other books in this series did. When I finished every other of these books I wanted the next one... I finished this and just went... Eh, ok. So what should I listen to next.
It didn't seem like Chess had any growth except to fix the monumentally huge and stupid things she did in the beginning of the book. I guess I feel like the series is turning more into all the ways she's vulnerable, messed up and weak as opposed to playing up her strengths and power. Seems like she should be growing through her phenomenal magic. Not just through the stupid things she does and says with Terrible.
I will buy the next book, and hope some of the hard core grit of Downside comes back. Oh, of course, the narrator is one of the best I have EVER heard! She is so amazing, I hope she is paid a lot. Her voice is amazing.
If you have ever read or listen to a story that has you talking to, laughing at, or shaking your head at the characters, then that story has engulfed you and pulled you into their world. And for me, that’s the best natural high a book reader can achieve. And seriously if you think about it, it’s the only reason to read a book. This is by far one of best series of urban fantasy that I have had the privilege of listening to.
Stacia Kane's delivered a spellbinding and very unique story. Scary at times, dangerous at times, over the top at times, however brought together through life trails, love and hope. The characters are well developed and very interesting.
Although at times, I thought Chess needed to rein in the insecure emotional drama, I can’t wait for the saga to continue.
Bahni Tupin brings each character to life with his/her own distinct personalities. Tupin is one of the best narrators on Audible
I read the first few in the series, this is my first audiobook. I really enjoyed Turpin as a narrator, she does voices and emotions well. The problem I had with this book seems to be the same problem that everyone else had. Chess pretty much whines through the entire book. I like Chess as a character and know that she's not perfect, and Downside is a pretty down and dirty place, but this was a little too much even for me. I had to stop listening a few times because Chess was being too big of a whiner. I'll get the next in the series hoping it's back to "normal".
I was honestly and truly afraid to read this book. Not because of the ghosties and gholies, witches and what not, but because of my investment in these characters and their relationships from the first 3 books in this series.
All I can tell you is that this is an absolutely awesome, darkly different sort of series, and some of the best world building and character development in this genre. I bought the first book in this series on sale. Otherwise, I might not have ever given this series a whirl. Even though I do love paranormal romance, I tend toward vampire or shapeshifter (or some authors version of similar beings), but the whole urban fantasy alternate future reality thing is usually not my cup of tea.
Until this series that is. Stacia Kane writes some of the most compelling characters I've ever read. Chess, the heroine in all the novels, is a seriously drug addicted, seriously abused and seriously messed up character. The "anti hero" in the peice is Terrible, a drug lords main goon, with a face and build to match. You find yourself wondering why on earth you think he's sexy, and yet, he is...massively so. The chemistry between he and chess is perfectly presented. There are steady bit players in the background drama that are well developed and essential parts of the "Downside" experience, but it's Chess and Terrible that will keep you coming back for more and more.
Bahni Turpin is one of the most versitile readers on audible, and she is a superstar in this series. Downside has a very specific slang, and since there is no such "language" in existance for her to model it on, she creates her own style for Downside residents that resonates so much with me that I sometimes find myself responding to people in the real world with Turpin's Downside accent.
Book 5 is out. Don't miss this series!!
This is one of the best series i have EVER listened too. Bahni Turpin is such an incredible narrator, she makes the story come alive. Every voice she does is distinct, no confusion ever about who is speaking.
Stacia Kane is a master story teller. Her world weaving in this series is incredibly detailed and her characters lovable. I think at some point in every book in this series i have been brought to tears.
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