First of all, let me break it down for you. The Downside Ghosts series follows Cessaria Putnam, otherwise known as Chess, a church employee well versed in the art of magic and debunking - dispelling ghosts. Haunted week, some decades previous, saw the mass murder of human kind, ghosts uprising from the city of the dead and going on a rampage. The church, now far removed from any form of discernible religion, helps to protect people with the application of spells, potions, and ritual. The balance is mostly restored and the human populace relies on people like Chess to debunk their homes, offices, and schools.
Now, despite this concept we have a more interesting feature piece within this ongoing saga. Chess Putnam is a major drug addict. At first this put me off reading the novels, I didn't want to read about some jittery, helpless nutcase. But alas, Stacia Kane has created a complex and determined protagonist that leaves you feeling a little bad for ever doubting the competency of this pill-popping witch.
Sacrificial Magic is the fourth book in the installment and once again I was not let down. This time Chess is ordered by 'Bump' one of the crime bosses of Downside (who also just happens to be her dealer) to investigate a grisly murder. Storage facilities are burning to the ground, bodies mutilated in some sort of intense and dark ritual. Naturally Chess does her best not to get the Church involved in her personal affairs, but once again this case and a new seemingly unsolvable case of a fellow church employee begin to draw parallels.
To top off this twisted little plot that is determined to keep you guessing right to the very end, we have the interwoven love interests. Terrible, Bump's second in command - a craggy, solidly-built man that makes the heart race with his soft nature and soulful eyes. And, Lex, son of the opposing crime boss - another man intent on keeping Chess well stocked with pills, pliable and in his bed.
All in all I have nothing bad to say about this novel. It might not be for everyone, but to walk on the dark side and see the struggle between normality and the intense and deeply saddened, often depraved side of an addict was, for lack of a better word ... enlightening. The characters were consistent in every aspect, though some personal growth from Chess was to be expected and was clearly executed. Language and dialogue was, as always, very entertaining.
I am giving Sacrificial Magic an easy five out of five fangs. I simply cannot get enough of this series and can't wait to get my hands on the next one!
When Chess Putnam is ordered by an infamous crime boss - who also happens to be her 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: Chess's boyfriend, Terrible, doesn't trust her, and Lex, the son of a rival crime lord, is trying to reignite the sparks between him and Chess.
Plus there's the little matter of Chess's real real job as a ghost hunter for the church of real truth, investigating reports of a haunting at a high school in the heart of Downside. 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.