Wrong Ways Down
4/13 Publishing / August 6, 2013 / $3.99 digital
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.
Whenever I pick up a Stacia Kane book, I know, without a doubt, that the atmosphere of the book will come off the page. So, when I heard she was writing a novella, I wondered if she would be able to pack Downside into fewer pages. I needn’t have worried. If anything, the darkness and desperation of Downside were more concentrated in the limited number of pages.
“A dame stepped forward, her skin as pale as Slick’s from cold and lack of sun. Terrible ain’t felt the cold much neither—and even if he did he wouldn’t have showed it—but he couldn’t imagine how that dame weren’t shivering so hard she could barely stand. Barely dressed at all, she was, just wrapped inna dirty blanket scrap with holes for her arms, tied around her waist with a blue ribbon. Bright blue, only barely smudged with dirt. Like she tried keeping it clean and nice, tried making herself pretty the only way she could. Something about it made sadness echo in his chest.”
The novella features everyone’s favorite enforcer, Terrible. Well, maybe he isn’t everyone’s favorite. If you have owes, or if you’re out to cause harm to the people under his care, you probably never want to see him coming. In this story, Someone is messing around in Terrible’s playground, killing street men and raping the working girls under Bump’s protection. It’s Terrible’s job to figure who is behind the trouble and to make it stop. There is no end to the list of potential suspects or their possible motives. Is it gang warfare business as usual, or is there something more sinister and ghostly in effect? But, through solid investigative techniques that would make even Inspector Morse proud, the mystery is unraveled. As we work towards the solution, we get an in-depth look at Terrible’s ife. eBcause he is one of urban fantasy’s most fascinating characters, he is also the perfect Downside tour guide.
While the mystery, and the systematic solving of it, are exceptional, it is the atmosphere that makes the story memorable. Unlike some books where the main characters are the only focus, Kane’s whole landscape is a living, breathing character. From the gang wars, to the individuals, to the unique flow of Downside speech, the area is as much a character as any other in the story.
It isn’t all about business, though. Kane treats the reader to an inside look at Terrible’s relationships from all angles: business, casual and personal.
“Hey…” She followed him to the door. “I’ll probably be around all night. You know, if you wanted to come back later. I’ll be up.”
He wondered what she’d say if he told her how much he wanted to come back, how much he wished he didn’t have to leave at all. But then, she knew, didn’t she? She’d blush and stammer, maybe tell him a lie to try and spare his feelings like she had after that night, but that would be it. He could picture her shutting down, picture how uncomfortable she’d look, just like it were really happening.
You get more of the story on how he came to be who he is, and there is not one false note as can sometimes happen when authors dive into the pasts of beloved characters. All in all, this is a can’t-miss for Kane fans, and for everyone who has always wondered how Terrible became terrific.
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