11 agosto 2013

Review: Wrong Ways Down (Stacia Kane)

Wrong Ways Down by Stacia Kane
Publisher: ? (2013)
Format: e-book | 142 pages
Genre(s): Urban Fantasy, Dystopia
Description (GR): "It’s a thin line between right and wrong. It’s an even thinner one between wrong and dead…
Terrible has always been on the wrong side of the law, living up to the only name anyone ever gave him. As the chief enforcer for Downside’s most powerful criminal, it’s his job to collect debts and protection money by any means necessary. And he’s very good at his job.
But part of that job is also to keep Bump’s various employees safe. So when a street dealer is found dead and a prostitute is brutally attacked, Terrible immediately starts using his fists to hunt down the ones responsible.
He’s determined to find and destroy them. They’re determined to use his desire for the woman he secretly loves to break him."
WARNING: some (minor) spoilers for the Downside Ghosts series.

Terrible: giving depth to thugs everywhere. You'll never look at Thug A from Action Movie 12495 the same way again! And that's a damn feat in my book.

Stacia Kane's characters are so human I actually want to meet them. They are so appealing I actually want to forgive Terrible for his crimes. Damn.

Wrong Ways Down is a novella from Terrible's (the unlikely male protagonist/hero of the Downside Ghosts series) point of view. Terrible is the "chief enforcer" for Bump, one of Downside's drug dealers. As such, he is expected to make sure all of Bump's operations run smoothly. However, when one of Bump's dealers is murdered and Bump's prostitutes are brutally attacked, it is up to Terrible to investigate. So he does it the way he knows best... with his fists.

This story takes place between books 1 and 2 of the series, so, as many readers have already remarked upon, there aren't many "aww moments" between Chess and Terrible. This isn't really about our drug addict of a heroine (erm... no pun intended or whatever); it's about Terrible. And that's fine.

I loved this story because I got to know more about Terrible. Not just how much he cares for Chess (although I must admit that part was too cute for words) but also what makes him tick, how he feels about what he does (and his feelings aren't pretty sometimes) and how he sees himself (as a dumb, ugly goon). We also get to see a bit of how Chess sees him and how that changes him. This interaction helps explain their mutual attraction.

As for the plot itself, it was pretty run of the mill. It served mostly to make the characters interact, which is a constant in Kane's books. Although she has constructed a pretty believable and interesting dystopian world, with solid supernatural elements, it isn't actually the world or even the stories/mysteries that make the series shine, in my humble opinion; it is the characters, that are so excellently written and developed that make me come back to these books again and again. I think did mention in my last review(s) that I was a bit frustrated with the lack of world development; Kane's world remains static (we still don't know much about Haunted Week, there are no factions that we know of, that question the Church's version of events, there are no alternate explanations, etc) and the characters are too absorbed by their little worlds to think about the bigger picture.

But that is a rant for another review. Suffice to say we got little to no world building/development in this short story, but we do find out more about Terrible, which was great to me.

In general, a great read. As compulsive and compelling as always!
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