• Unholy Ghosts

  • Downside Ghosts, Book 1
  • By: Stacia Kane
  • Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
  • Length: 11 hrs and 11 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (1,420 ratings)

Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks, and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Plus plan is $7.95 a month after 30 day trial. Upgrade or cancel anytime.
Unholy Ghosts  By  cover art

Unholy Ghosts

By: Stacia Kane
Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
Try for $0.00

$7.95 a month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy for $20.97

Buy for $20.97

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

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 listeners say about Unholy Ghosts

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    676
  • 4 Stars
    383
  • 3 Stars
    215
  • 2 Stars
    82
  • 1 Stars
    64
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    802
  • 4 Stars
    253
  • 3 Stars
    118
  • 2 Stars
    34
  • 1 Stars
    35
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    615
  • 4 Stars
    318
  • 3 Stars
    178
  • 2 Stars
    75
  • 1 Stars
    54

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

39 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Something didn't ring true...

I can't decide how much I actually liked this story... at some points I wanted to (and did) put it down for a couple days at a time, then I'd pick it up again and carry on. I think I liked the second half more than the first, maybe because it took that long to get familiar enough with Chess that I would care what happened to her.

The story is a bit convoluted, but there is just the one storyline - it's all about Chess trying to solve a mystery/problem. Sure, at the outset there are several threads that appear to be unconnected, but at the end they all fit together. I don't know what the point of Chess being a drug addict is, however. This aspect is constant throughout the story, but I'm not sure what this added to the story... her addiction didn't really drive her to do anything specific, other than - maybe - being the motivation for taking on the "case" in the first place, but I think there would have been other ways to do this without the addiction part.

And I'm not sure the addiction component was accurately done. If Chess really was as addicted as we're lead to believe, there is no way she could also be as functional as she is... either you're a hardcore addict (as she is portrayed) and your life revolves around drugs, or you're not and you can still work and function in the world... I don't believe you can do both. And I'm not sure I liked the "drugs are okay" tone in the story, especially since the message is that speed, painkillers and miscellaneous unidentified drugs won't impair someone's abilities and judgement.

Oh well... it's certainly not as if I'd have preferred a moralizing story about drug use, so... whatever.... it just seemed like an odd twist for the author to have chosen. I suppose it was to make Chess stand out from all the other urban fantasy heroines ... in this task, it was successful. Chess definitely has a distinct tone/character.

Will I read more in the series? I really don't know... I mostly liked the storyline, but found the pidgin language very annoying, and Chess' addiction annoying, and the fact that she is the only 'real' character in the story (the rest are just there for her to interact with, and they can't really be distinguished from one another) a bit disappointing. Yeah, yeah, everyone raves about Terrible, but if you were to swap his name with Lex's at any given point, I don't know that you'd be able to tell them apart.

The narration was... okay... I really really disliked the pidgin way of talking that everyone except Chess (and other church members) had. I suppose it was properly narrated since the text contains this type of speaking, but it wasn't fun to listen to. That, and Chess' voice would sometimes become particularly whiny (when she was "stressed" I suppose), which I think might have been the narrator trying to express some of the characterization, but was rather annoying to listen to. There is swearing, sex that is not overly graphic and violence which is not overly gory.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A drug addicted heroine that's... different.

Stepping into Stacia Kane’s Downside world was like walking into an alternate universe where the Church reigns supreme, ghosts have wiped out two thirds of the population and the residents speak a language that’s entirely their own. The magical rules are numerous and complex, the world-building is extremely heavy and the influx of new terminology is beyond confounding. To sum it up in one word I felt lost. Thank goodness for my GoodReads support group because otherwise I don’t think I would have been able to make it through this audiobook in its entirety. Then again, I felt similarly when I first started reading Karen Marie Moning’s Fever novels which now rank among my favourite Urban Fantasy series’ of all time so understandably, I’m going to stick this one out a bit longer. At least until I discover what all of the fuss over Terrible is about!

I really struggled to connect with the main heroine, Chess. Her drug addiction frustrated me to no end; although I can understand the whys behind it, I still had a difficult time comprehending her need to dull her senses, especially given how dangerous Downside really is. You’d think she’d want to have her wits about her in case a murderous ghost decides to cross her path. Chess is a debunker for the Church of Real Truth which means that she’s supposedly one of their most highly trained employees. I found this hard to believe considering she does her job high on most days. A large portion of the mistakes she makes and her delayed light bulb moments during an investigation are caused by her drug use. There were times when I just wanted to yell “if you’d stop doing lines for one freaking minute you might be able figure this sh*t out!” I liked that she’s a flawed heroine but I also would have liked to see her sober for at least one chapter.

The world-building and terminology are definitely going to take some getting used to. I can’t help but wonder if I’m being penalized once again for choosing to listen to this book over reading it because I’m thinking that the physical copy probably comes with a glossary. On the flip side, I think listening to the audiobook does have a few advantages, namely being able to better grasp the Downside lingo. I like that Kane invented her own language for this series; it helps to set it apart from the crowd. I’m not going to comment too much on Bahni Turpin’s narration in this review because I was more focused on grasping the world than on her overall performance so I’ll save my feedback on that for my second kick at the can when I check out Unholy Magic.

After feeling immense pressure from my fellow reviewers to LOVE this book I can’t help but be a little disappointed that I wasn’t immediately swept off my feet by Stacia Kane’s first Downside installment. The plot’s entertaining, the dialogue’s memorable and the world-building left me in awe but the drug addicted protagonist was difficult to swallow (pun intended). Heroine and druggie do not belong in the same sentence in my opinion. Here’s hoping that my second trip into Downside will be better than my first.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kelly
  • 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.