Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Release Day Review: Wrong Ways Down by Stacia Kane

Wrong Ways Down
(Downside Ghosts #1.5)
Stacia Kane
Release: August 6, 2013
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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.

Wrong Ways Down is the long awaited novella in the Downside Ghosts series that focuses on Terrible and is from his point of view. Fans of the series who adore Terrible, including this girl, have been desperately wanting to get inside that head of his and I can certainly say we were rewarded for our patience - or lack thereof - with Wrong Ways Down.

First of all, this feels like a Downside book. The mood and themes of the story are the same as all the other books in the series, despite the fact that this is a novella and the story is told from Terrible's third person POV instead of Chess'. Starting a Downside book always feels like coming home and this novella is no different. The novella - we'll loosely call it a novella since its almost the length of a full-length novel - is set in between books one and two in the series, with some overlap into book two.

It is completely awesome to read things from Terrible's side, especially his thoughts and feelings about everything that has gone on between him and Chess up until the start of book two. I almost forgot the incident in book one when Chess was insanely messed up and started making out with Terrible before he realized she was wasted. That incident had both given Terrible hope that she might be interested in him and then completely squashed any hope he might have had. In the novella he still carries that hurt with him.

From Chess' POV we only get what she suspects Terrible might be thinking, and her thoughts are often skewed by her own insecurities. But, one thing is for sure - Terrible is already SO in love with Chess in the novella and we get to see him come to realize this fact. But, he also has no hope that she might want to be with him. I almost want to go back and reread the whole series now, knowing everything I do about his feelings for her and how real they were so early on.

The absolute best thing for me in reading Wrong Ways Down was getting to see Chess from Terrible's POV. After reading all of Chess' self-criticisms, self-doubts, and the shitty image she has of herself, it was refreshing to see her the way Terrible sees her. He sees her as the most beautiful woman in the room all the time, like a breath of fresh air. All the brief moments they shared early on in the series were like little rays of sunshine for Terrible and the way he notices all of the little details about her is beautiful. There's a thought that Terrible has to himself after spotting Chess at Trickster's that was so simple yet really true to how he feels about her:
"What the fuck was wrong with every other man in the room, that they weren't all killing each other just to stand next to her?"

Its also sad to read how below Chess he imagines himself to be and how much he really never thought early on that she would want him. The two of them are just plain idiots early in the series, both feeling the same way about each other but neither thinking they were good enough for the other. And all the ways they hurt each other until they finally come to their senses? Sheesh.  Knowing what I know about them now, five books into the series, I found myself giving Terrible a little knowing smile when he'd be down on himself for wanting her and thinking she was too good for him. A few more books, Terrible, just give it a few more books.

The plot for this novella felt really true to the series as well. There were enough magical elements involved to feel like other Downside books, but the plot was still for Terrible. We get to see Terrible be even more rough and ruthless than we have in the previous books of the series and we also get to learn how Terrible feels about his job as an enforcer for Bump. In fact, we get to learn a little more of his back story including more about his relationship with his daughter's mother and his relationship with Katie, his daughter. All of these things give us a deeper understanding of Terrible and make him an even more complicated and layered character than he was before.

This is another gritty, spectacular, emotional book in the Downside Ghosts series that will more than whet the whistle of readers waiting for the next full-length installment. Fans of Terrible will fall over themselves swooning at his undeniable love for Chess - I know I did. Who wouldn't want to be seen the way he sees her? Even with her emotional baggage and her laundry list of faults he finds her to be perfect. Major swoon.

Recommended for fans of: TERRIBLE!!!

This review is based on an early copy of the book provided by the author.

  5 / 5 stars

My reviews of other books in this series:

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