For Chess Putnam, finding herself near-fatally poisoned by a con psychic and then stopping a murderous ghost is just another day on the job. As an agent of the Church of Real Truth, Chess must expose those looking to profit from the world’s unpleasant little poltergeist problem—humans filing false claims of hauntings—all while staving off any undead who really are looking for a kill. But Chess has been extra busy these days, coping with a new “celebrity” assignment while trying on her own time to help some desperate prostitutes.
Someone’s taking out the hookers of Downside in the most gruesome way, and Chess is sure the rumors that it’s the work of a ghost are way off base. But proving herself right means walking in the path of a maniac, not to mention standing between the two men in her life just as they—along with their ruthless employers—are moving closer to a catastrophic showdown. Someone is dealing in murder, sex, and the supernatural, and once again Chess finds herself right in the crossfire.
A few months after the events of the first book, Terrible takes her to the site where a hooker was brutally murdered to look for a possible ghost culprit. Through her investigations she soon finds out that it isn't just Bump's people getting killed, but Sloebag, the rival drug lord's, as well. As a result Chess finds herself stuck between the two men in her life, Terrible and the occasional lover, Lex. Chess starts to really realize how stupid it was to get mixed up with both sides when she agrees to help both of them. She knows what it could cost her, but she doesn't have much choice as her addiction has her stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Terrible's character continued to grow on me in this book. He shows a much softer, vulnerable side that just caught Chess completely off guard. She starts to realize she has real feelings for him and that scares her to death. She doesn't want to lose him but she doesn't know how to let herself need him as her past has taught her to only count on herself. Her betrayal with Lex starts to really weigh on her and for the first time Chess starts to really realize the potential consequences of her actions.
Her drug addiction hits really hard in this book. It seems now that she is getting free drugs from Lex she is only using that much more since she wants to keep up the facade with Bump so he doesn't get suspicious. She starts down a slippery slope that will only bring her world crashing down around her. It never ceases to amaze me just how much drugs she does as well as her constantly popping pills in the middle of fights. I just do not know how she has survived this long. At this point, because of her addiction she has virtually lost all freedom and can be easily manipulated for fear of exposure. Her ideals of maintaining her addiction in comfort are pulled right out from under her and at times she truly doesn't know if she wants to continue on. Unfortunately, I imagine that would be what you would have to expect as a junkie, but it doesn't make me have any less sympathy for her.
The book ended on somewhat of a cliffhanger that left me desperate to see how Chess will try to dig herself out of the bottomless pit she has made. This gritty, dark, urban fantasy is a great read and will make you care for characters you never thought you could. If you enjoy the darker side of urban fantasy, this is a must read.