You will want to read the first two books, Unholy Ghosts and Unholy Magic, in the series in order to understand the world that Chess lives in as well as Chess as a character.
Stacia Kane is back with the third book in her Downside Ghost series and mangled human corpses are just the beginning of Chess' problems:
Downside is known to be a touch part of the city, but when mangled corpses start to show up, that is something that the Church need to investigate. Chess is signed up to help the Black Squad but in order to do so she has to undergo a binding spell that will kill her if she breaks the terms of the spell. This makes investigating a little bit harder in downside when she cannot tell Bump and Terrible about the information that she needs. Plus Chess has to work with Black Squad Member (Elder's Daughter) Lauren, who is not too friendly with Chess and who thinks having Chess with her is a waste of time. But Chess is determined to do the best job that she can and everything is pointing to the City of Eternity and Chess needs to figure everything out before it is too late.
Sometimes by the third book the author has run out of ideas or is repeating something that has occurred before (think of how many trilogies are out there?). However, this series is amazing, each book is just as good as or better than the one before it. This book is non-stop action and even Chess' drug use takes a back seat to the story that Kane is presenting here. I mean Chess is still pill popping constantly but she does not have a withdrawal scene like she does in the previous book. Honestly, I am so impressed with her ability to hold it together most of the time it is crazy.
We get to see much more of Chess in action with her job than before, with the return of the Black Squad, where Chess tries to play nice but working with people is not really her thing. I don't know if it was the drugs and such that Chess takes but at times I found it hard to follow her thought process of how she gets from point A to point B but she gets there. There was a lot of twists and turns along the way and with the reintroduction to the luminary things go south pretty quick. I was glad that Kane decided to bring the Luminary back as they were an interesting society that was not fully explored in the first book.
And working with Terrible is not going to happen anytime soon as he is not only not talking to her but also ignoring her. It was hard to Chess try to reach out to Terrible and try to explain or say she is sorry and get nothing back, I realized just how invested I am in Chess.
I really enjoy the world that Kane has created and she is not afraid to push the boundaries of the readers imagination. Additionally, she is not afraid to add some darker elements and descriptions into her writing which I really enjoy, I mean why sugar coat things that should not be sugar coated. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in this series.