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City of Ghosts (Downside Ghosts, Book 3) - Stacia Kane 5 Chessiebomb stars!!!
Only through penitence and pain is forgiveness possible.
- The Book of Truth, Veraxis, Article 72
For Chess Putnam, that's exactly the motto to live by while Terrible continues to hold a grudge for her betrayal. But she can't exactly wallow in her depression and sing, "I'm lying alone with my head on the phone, thinking of you 'til it hurts" to her heart's content. No, she has to work. Body parts are showing up all over Downside. The Lamaru are back and who knows what they're plotting against the Church. For this specific mission, Chess has to be Bound, a ritual performed on her to ensure strict confidentiality about anything relating to the case. She also has to work with Lauren, a member of the Black Squad - the Church's law enforcers. This presents a problem for the ever stubborn and private Chess since Lauren's position means she could boss her around and dictate a schedule.

Naturally, Bump insists on being kept informed while the Black Squad makes its rounds in his territory. But since Chess can't exactly report to him due to her Bind marks, he sends her on an assignment with Terrible to do their own little investigation.


Chess wants to take this opportunity to make things right with Terrible but he wants nothing to do with her. All her attempts to explain are met with a cold or insulting response but she continues to work for his forgiveness. I loved that Terrible showed his hurt and anger openly instead of pretending that he wasn't affected. Their fighting wasn't overly melodramatic or frustrating. On the other hand, I certainly warmed up to Lex now that his status in Chess' personal life is defined. I feel that he's a better friend and ally to her than a bed buddy but I'm sure this won't be the last we hear from him.

This book was definitely more action-packed and faster-paced than the previous two. I have no idea if her Cepts really enable her to work without rest. I was the one who felt exhausted after all the running around and her trying to get by another day without being killed! Plus, it's not just the Lamaru who's after her.

I've been informed that the end of this book is a good stopping point and I can see why. None of Ms. Kane's books seem to end on a cliffhanger (except maybe Unholy Magic) but I can't wait to get to the next book! I still can't pinpoint why I am loving this series as much as I do but so far it's been a gripping and exciting ride! I know this isn't romance but the scenes with Chess and Terrible still make me feel giddy and happy. I mean, why aren't my eyes rolling at the mention of Chessiebomb? Instead my cheeks hurt from smiling and my heart feels like it's about to pop out of my chest. In fact, there are many other things that I should find corny but don't. Like, the names Chess and Terrible for instance. Or having Snoop Dog Bump as the unspoken lord of Downside. Or the disjointed, massacred semblance of the English language. I should be bothered that it has a deceitful, drug-dependent, emotionally-unavailable dreg of society as a heroine. But I'm not. True thing, Chessie ain't easy to like. But she real, aye? I loved how she struggled with letting herself feel emotions. I loved her character growth. She still has her personal battles and her relationship with Terrible to work on but at least she made it through the day again. For now. I can't wait to see what tension and trouble the next book brings!