Series or Stand Alone: Book one in the Charlie Madigan series
Release Date: November 2009
Pages: 416 (Mass Market Paperback Edition)
Author Site: http://www.kellygay.net/
My Rating: 4.75/5
Source: ARC won in a giveaway
Synopsis [from fantasticfiction.co.uk]:
Atlanta: it's the promised city for the off-worlders, foreigners from the alternate dimensions of heaven-like Elysia and hell-like Charbydon. Some bring good works and miracles. And some bring unimaginable evil...
Charlie Madigan is a divorced mother of one, and a kick-ass cop trained to take down the toughest human and off-world criminals. She's recently returned from the dead after a brutal attack, an unexplained revival that has left her plagued by ruthless nightmares and random outbursts of strength that make doing her job for Atlanta P.D.'s Integration Task Force even harder. Since the Revelation, the criminal element in Underground Atlanta has grown, leaving Charlie and her partner Hank to keep the chaos to a dull roar. But now an insidious new danger is descending on her city with terrifying speed, threatening innocent lives: a deadly, off-world narcotic known as ash. Charlie is determined to uncover the source of ash before it targets another victim -- but can she protect those she loves from a force more powerful than heaven and hell combined?
I should smack myself for not reading this sooner. You may be saying "But it just came out Mishel, it's not that big of a deal..." and you'd be right. However, I've had the ARC sitting on my shelf for quite some time now. I decided to put it on hold because on the back of the ARC it says it was going to be released in December. Mmmm, not true because it was released last month. But no biggie. The point of the ranting was that I really liked THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS.
Charlie Madigan is somewhat like your typical Urban Fantasy heroine. Strong-willed, independent, smart-mouthed, fiesty and basically just a kick ass kinda woman. She does have some slight differences that set her apart from the rest of the "pack". First off, Charlie is a divorced mother. Most heroines are just fine being childless or they don't mind waiting until a better time in their life before they help populate the Earth. But Charlie's pre-teen daughter gives a good element to the story. Charlie is very passionate about her job, but having her daughter at home keeps her level-headed and makes her think a little bit more carefully about the situations she puts herself in. And Charlie's daughter does get put into danger (you knew it was coming) but I don't think it was a weakness of the storyline.
Charlie is a detective living in a different kind of Atlanta. This Atlanta's not only home to humans but "off-worlders" from two different dimensions as well; Elysia and Charbydon. Kelly Gay created a remarkable world filled with characters a lot of us have already read about. She adds her own spin on them however and she brings in a little bit more science fiction rather than fantasy into this novel. Magic and the paranormal are intertwined with genetics and scientific means that make the read a very refreshing one.
The dialogue kept me giggling and the plot kept me turning those pages until I got to the end. I wouldn't call this a funny novel but Kelly Gay has infused her characters with a wry wit that I came to really love and enjoy. The character interactions were one of my favorite aspects of the story and even the characters themselves were extremely likeable. From Hank, Charlie's siren partner, Bryn, Charlie's gifted sister, and Will, Charlie's ex-husband...I just found myself surrounded by really great characters.
I'm really looking forward to what Kelly has in store for her readers with Charlie's next book. I highly recommend this THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS to any Urban Fantasy fan. I also think Fantasy and Science Fiction fans may even enjoy it =)
1. The Better Part of Darkness
2. The Darkest Edge of Dawn (August, 2010)