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Publisher's Summary

The world is not the way it was. The dead have risen, and the living are under attack.

In a future world under attack from the undead, the powerful Church of Real Truth, in charge since the government fell, has sworn to reimburse citizens being harassed by the deceased. Consequently, there are many false claims of hauntings from those hoping to profit. Enter Chess Putnam, a fully-tattooed witch and freewheeling ghost hunter. She’s got a real talent for nailing human liars and banishing the wicked dead. But she’s keeping a dark secret from the Church: a little drug problem that’s landed her in hot water.

Chess owes a lot of money to a dangerous drug lord who wants immediate payback. All Chess has to do is dispatch a very nasty species of undead from an old airport. But the job involves black magic, human sacrifice, a nefarious demonic creature, and crossing swords with enough wicked energy to wipe out a city of souls. Toss in a dangerous attraction to the drug lord’s ruthless enforcer, and Chess begins to wonder if the rush is really worth it. Hell, yeah.

©2009 Stacey Fackler (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“[A] dark futuristic urban fantasy….atmospheric and well written.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Gripping….Vivid characters and a wonderful sense of place….I was enthralled.” (Charlaine Harris, New York Times best-selling author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels)
Unholy Ghosts is a wonderful, weird, wild tale filled with gritty magic, punk rock, and macabre spirits. Kane’s world is dark, dangerous, and haunted, populated by hustlers, junkies and exorcists…and you’ll never want to leave. Simply the best book I’ve read this year.” (Caitlin Kittredge, author of Street Magic)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall

Not for the faint of heart

I had no expectations going into this book. At first I thought the reader sounded a little young for the main character but then realized that she needed the vocal range for all the other characters. This is a very dark, very gritty urban fantasy series. The basic set up is that in 1997 all the dead's spirits rose and started killing people...lots of people...almost all the people. The few practitioners of magic in the world eventually managed to prove themselves as true witches and banished the ghosts to the City of Ghosts under ground and a whole new post-apocalyptic world began. The main character, Cesaria Putnam is a Church Witch who debunks false hauntings. She's also a functioning drug addict. She's a powerful witch but ultimately as a drug addict hiding her addiction she's vulnerable to anyone who decides to blackmail her. The story is basically a mystery in an unexpected world with some wonderfully colorful and sometimes very cruel characters. I found the world building to be fantastic and the depiction of the life of a functioning drug addict was pretty harsh and exceedingly accurate. I personally fell in love with these characters (a stand out is Terrible, the local drug dealer's enforcer who is a whole lot more than he seems at first) and quite specifically the whole Downside patois and vibe. I have to say the reader for this audio book absolutely knocked it out of the park. I honestly don't know if I would have found the books (I have actually listened to all that are available now...BRILLIANT) as affecting if I hadn't been listening to Bahni Turpin's interpretation of the various characters. Really stellar work.

21 of 21 people found this review helpful

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New Favorite UF series!

I started Unholy Ghost in October on my Nook. I could not get past chapter five. Either I wasn’t in the mood for it or it was the slang that got me.

"You won't talk to me, you don't talk to anyone else, you just hang around here in your precious ghetto with all these f-ing crazy people who talk like they've never heard a proper word spoken in their lives...."

But some blogger friends keep raving about the series. So I decided to give it another try but this time around I did it in audio book format, thinking it would help me get into the slang that is used by so many of the characters. BINGO.

I’ve read other reviews where people had a hard time liking or connecting with Chess because she is an addict. But I love the fact that Chess is not your typical heroine. Her world is dark and gritty and she’s had a crappy life growing up. She talks about bouncing around from foster homes. How the dads or even the moms would sexually abuse her. And since she has no support group to help her out; it kind of makes sense that she would turn to prescription meds to numb the things done to her.

Even though I personally can’t related to someone with an addiction, I believe reading it through Chess’s eyes gives me a little bit of understanding why someone in her position would live the way she does. But with as much as she takes I don’t see how she has not overdose by now.

Her addiction is what brings Terrible into her life. He is the muscle for Chess’s drug dealer, Bump. (I just love the names that Kane has come up with her for characters.) Bump informs Chess that her debt to him has doubled because of interest which is BS and she calls him on it. Bump tells her if she helps him with his problem with ghosts at an airport that he plans to use to bring in drugs that he will clear her debt with him.
After Chess reluctantly agrees to the deal she is teamed up with Terrible to complete the job. We first see Terrible the way Chess does, big guy with little thoughts. But has the two work together Chess’s view (and mine) of Terrible changes when see she how he truly is. He is self taught, the helps out weaker people in the city like kids. And he becomes someone that she can trust, which is a first for her. You can see a romance building between the two which is something that Chess doesn’t do. She is more into one night stands so that she doesn’t get hurt.

Over all Unholy Ghosts is a great start to a very dark Urban Fantasy series. But it’s not all dark there is some humor mixed in with Chess’s sassy attitude.

“If Mrs. Morton would stop verbally jacking off her husband and son, this would all be done so much more quickly, but then Chess figured it was just about the only sex the woman got.”

Unholy Ghosts is a MUST READ for Urban Fantasy fans! After hearing that each book is better than the last, I can’t wait to jump into Unholy Magic.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Urban Fantasy at it's BEST

I have read all three books in this series. (I think there will be six in all). What can I say, they just keep getting better and better.
The narrator, Bahni Turpin, is so good, that I have bought books just because she is the narrator. Ever heard of a little book called "The Help"?! SMILE, she is just that good.

Stacia Kane is one of my favorite authors. I love her characters, Terrible being my favoriite.

I have to recommend this to anyone that likes Urban Fantasy.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Sharon
  • 06-12-10

a new definition of "underworld"

suspensful, shivery. I like Chess. She is a fighter, she gets her job done and seems to stick to her word even when she would rather not. And who doesn't love a muscle car.( the guy driving it is pretty exciting, too) We need more of Chess and the people that inhabit that dark, gritty, interesting world.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Karen
  • Reynella, Australia
  • 07-13-12

Surprising and Compelling!

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!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Rae
  • Meandarra, Australia
  • 05-18-12

Certainly different

Great narration. I like to list this first as it can make or break a story.

Took some getting use too, to start with, due to the street slang and the drug addiction (which I can't relate too). But I have now become caught up in the series. Just finished the 4 book and can't wait for book 5. Best to follow series in order if possible.

I really enjoy it when readers with similar reading interests list their favourite authors and series. It really helps me find new authors too follow. Mine are Charlaine Harris, Jeaniene Frost, Jennifer Estep, Faith Hunter, Molly Harper, Ilona Andrews, Kresley Cole, Deborah Harkness, Nalini Singh, Coreene Callahan, Stacia Kane, Kelly Medding and Sherrilyn Kenyon.

Happy Reading

15 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • DMS
  • Houston, TX, United States
  • 09-26-10

Ah. Mazing.

Wasn't sure how much I'd enjoy the audio of this series, but the reader is awesome! After purchasing the first book in the series and listening, I promptly bought the remaining audiobooks. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE this series and the audio version is fantastic!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Jessica
  • ellsworth, ME, USA
  • 05-29-10

Oddly Compelling

This starts out kind of confusing, leaving you wondering if you skipped through a part, but it does come together if you hang there. Lots of drug use but it gets hard to put down. I found myself finding things to do so I could keep listening. This will appeal to fans of LK Hamilton and Kim Harrison. Undead in the context it's used in the publisher's blurb doesn't mean zombies, more along the lines of ghosts.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Maria
  • Citrus Heights, CA, United States
  • 07-22-12

Gritty, Dark and Totally Engrossing.

Yes I loved this story. Chess owes a lot of money to a dangerous drug lord who wants immediate payback. All Chess has to do is dispatch a very nasty species of undead from an old airport. However Chess has several problems one of which is a nasty drug addiction.
She has to do all of this without her employer knowing she is involved with such seedy characters. To complicate matters she starts to have feelings for her druglords enforcer, a dangerous, uneducated, street smart thug. To further complicate things she starts a relationship with a rival druglord son. Convoluted, gritty, dark.....yes all this and more.

Now for the Narrator. Bahni Turpin has to be one of the most talented narrators in the business. Her command of various voices, inflection, deflection, male voices,and street talk(slang) were simply outstanding.

Yes, yes get this book. I know this type of book isn't for everyone but this one was so very good. Not for the weak or fluffly brained.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Katrina
  • NEWPORT, RI, United States
  • 01-30-11

Unimpressed, but can't seem to stop listening

I just finished this book and am a little conflicted about it. It was enjoyable to listen to, but there were major parts of the story that irritated the crap out of me. The story line is not predictable (good) but is incredibly repetitive (bad). If Chess fell down one more time or complained about having a fuzzy head after drugging herself up again, I was going to chuck my ipod across the room. It came off a little juvenile to me; perhaps a little heavy on the romantic side of things. But still, a good story and the characters were pretty well defined. It feels like a guilty pleasure, like you're a science professor but at home you like to watch Jerry Springer or something.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Kelly
  • 02-16-11

Unexpectedly likeable

Ches is not a charchter you expect to like, a flawed heroine. She has her problems which make you want to dislike her, but the more you read the more you come to understand her lifestyle choices. I found the world and the other charachters helped build this unusual paranormal mystery.