The Better Part of Darkness by Kelly Gay

As an Urban Fantasy fan, I had been meaning to read this book by local author Kelly Gay for quite a while. It finally made its way to the top of my reading list this summer, and I’m happy to report that it did not disappoint! The book is set in Atlanta, and Gay’s protagonist is single mother and cop, Charlie (don’t call her Charlene) Madigan. Charlie is not just any cop, she works for the ITF, which is the Integration Task Force, the band of law enforcement charged with policing the alien creatures from off world. These creatures are what we have thought were mythological beings for most of human history, beings such as sirens, demi-gods, imps, demons, and more. They come from two worlds, which are actually parallel alternate dimensions: the heaven-like Elysia and the hell-like Charbydon. These alternate dimensions were discovered fairly recently by one of the most brilliant scientists of our time. In the years since the Revelation, there have been tons of these off world beings who have come to make Earth their home, with a large percentage of them in and around Atlanta. Charlie and her partner Hank (a siren from Elysia) must contend with an unknown group who is distributing a deadly new drug called ash. You think juggling your job and kids are hard? Try a day in Charlie’s shoes. Oh, and did I mention that Charlie recently died and was brought back to life?

Yes, she was legally brain dead after an attack from a powerful demon, with whom her now-ex-husband was dealing, back when he was dabbling in black magic. She’s not sure how or why she was brought back, but ever since she’s had terrible nightmares. Thoughts of her daughter, her sister and her job are what she holds onto to bring her back from the edge of blackest terror when she wakes each night. Now that this new and deadly drug is spreading across Atlanta, and has even infected someone Charlie knows – her daughter’s babysitter – she has a new terror to worry about.

Charlie is a modern, independent (one might even say “kick-butt”) woman. She’s used to handling things on her own, or with her partner Hank. But, as events begin to spiral out of control, and her daughter is kidnapped, she must realize that she can’t battle the forces of evil alone. Charlie’s always thought of her sister Brynn, perhaps subconsciously, as the flighty one. But Brynn, her friend (a powerful mage), and even Charlie’s ex just might be able to help save her daughter and bring down some of the baddest of bad guys.

The ending is satisfying, and we learn a whole lot more about Charlie, and the world of Underground Atlanta, in this first novel in the series. If you like Urban Fantasy (you know, books like those starring Harry Dresden, Anita Blake and Rachel Morgan), or even just good action stories with a tough, confident heroine, give Charlie Madigan a try.

 Find and reserve this book in our catalog.


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