Wrong Ways Down (Downside Ghosts #1.5)
Published: Aug. 6, 2013 (Stacia Kane)
Purchase at: Amazon
Review Source: copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewed by: Jo
Rating (out of 5): 5 stars
Note: White this review will be spoiler free, it may have spoilers for other books in the series. If you have yet to start this series, check out our review of the first book, Unholy Ghosts.
Gah, be still my Terrible heart. If you thought you had it bad for Terrible before reading Wrong Ways Down, the new Downside novella set between Unholy Ghosts and Unholy Magic, prepare to swoon on a whole new level.
Told from Terrible’s point of view, we join him as he investigates what appears to be the ritualistic murder of one of Bump’s men and the possibility of dark magic on the streets. We get to see what makes Terrible tick, and I found it fascinating.
Like with all the Downside books it took me awhile to fall back into the thick slang. Truth be told a little longer as Terrible thinks this way, too. That being said, I love how committed the writing is to it, helping you feel totally immersed in this dark and gritty world.
Terrible is the right-hand man of a drug kingpin. He beats people, oversees drug sales and prostitutes… But in the post-Truth world nearly everyone is doing something immoral to survive, particularly in Downside. While he enjoys what he does, we learn that it’s so much more to him than a job. Through his past we see how lonely he was before Bump, why he considers him and the other Downsiders his family. When a prostitute is raped the fierce protective streak Terrible feels for those under his care shines through. He embodies the shades of grey that make up this world.
As he works the various junkies and cutpurses that owe money for information on the crimes, it becomes clear just how intelligent Terrible is—fitting pieces together, strategizing. What was heartbreaking was seeing just how little he thought of himself. There is a beautifully sad moment where he’s thinking about a book Chess has lent him:
“It wasn’t hard to read, which made him figure he must be missing something, not understanding something, because the writing on the back cover mentioned how the dude who wrote it won all kinds of prizes and shit, which should have made it way beyond him.”
I wanted to reach into the pages and hug him after reading this. There is a sense he wants to be more. More for Chess and more for his daughter. However as he draws closer to those he’s hunting he feels ruled by his temper, falling back on the confidence he has in his fists.
Chess does appear in person at various points, but her presence is weaved into every page through Terrible thoughts. Wow… They say still waters run deep. In fact, all I want to do now is go back a reread the earlier books, armed with the knowledge that no matter how unaffected he seems I know the truth now! It was also a revelation seeing Chess through his eyes. In his mind she isn’t muddling her way through; she isn’t a junkie. She is beautiful and smart, damaged maybe, but a fighter. He also really really wants to get in her pants.
Brutal yet sensitive. Utterly capable yet lacking in confidence. Ugly but a total heartthrob. Terrible is truly one of the most complex and dichotomous antiheroes I’ve ever come across. His novella adds a new layer and richness to this fantastic series.
Sexual content: Kissing, sensual scenes, reference to rape and child abuse.