I love the Downside Ghosts series by Stacia Kane, it has a fascinating post apocalyptical premise (ghosts, some 20-30 years earlier had broken through on a murderous ramage, completely changing the remaining surviving society, so that the Church – a group of witches, now ruled everything), the main character Chess (a debunker working for the Church) is strong yet weak, totally and utterly flawed and completely believable and the on and off romance between Chess and Terrible, the feared enforcer of one of the local drug lords Bump, is beautiful and heart tugging.
If you’re new to the series start with the first book, Unholy Ghosts^, I will admit it took me a little while to get into the first book, the dialogue in particular is unique but only in that the characters do sound that either they’re some sort of puritanical throwback to the founding fathers or that they live extremely hard lives on the street (I recommend the audiobooks of the series, they’re read beautifully and the dialogue isn’t so hard to get into).
Sacrificial Magic^ is book 4 of the series; Chess has been sent to investigate a haunting in a school on the other side of town, the side of town that happens to be controlled by the drug lord Slobag, whose son Lex she used to sleep with. It’s also a side of town where the Church is treated with a scepticism that we didn’t get to see much of in earlier books. At the same time Chess is happily back with Terrible but is having trust issues, specially when Bump’s buildings start getting torched and it looks like Slobag may be getting inside information.
I don’t know if anyone is particularly going by my book reviews, but in case they are (“hi you out there! *waves madly*), I should emphasise that the Downside series is grittier than most of the books I normally review, there is heavy drug use (although explained throughout why and there’s a scene in book 3 (I think) guaranteed to put anyone of the thought of drugs for life), profanity, gore and fairly graphic sex scenes, you have been warned, but don’t let that put you off
^Amazon affiliate links (when adding them I noticed that Downside book 5 is out in August, AUGUST! Exciting, considering Sacrificial Magic only came out this month in the UK and ooh, how the book ended . . .)