Review: The Better Part of Darkness by Kelly Gay

The Better Part of Darkness by Kelly Gay
Book 1 
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Year: 2009 (November 24, 2009)
Format: Paperback, 416 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1-4391-0965-6 (Pocket)
My Copy: Received from author

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?

My Ramblings:

When the opportunity to read The Better Part of Darkness by Kelly Gay presented itself, I eagerly snagged it. I've wanted to read this book ever since I’d seen the art work for the cover several months back. After I read the synopsis, I was even more intrigued that the heroine was a divorced mother. You don’t see that scenario often in Urban Fantasy. I was not disappointed by my anticipation.

The Better Part of Darkness, told from Charlie Madigan’s point of view, was an exciting, fast-paced read for me. I finish this book in nearly one sitting. What kept me glued to the pages was how clues were dropped at just the right place, and the mystery just kept building. The pace of was perfect. The unique world and atmosphere of this book had the right combination of dark and gritty paranormal aspects.

The biggest attention grabber for me was the colorful personalities of the characters. From Hank, Charlie’s gorgeous off-world partner to Byrn, her eclectic sister who runs a herb shop in the Underground. Charlie, a mother of a pre-teen, is a gusty heroine, who has heart. But she’s tough as nails when the situation calls for it and it’s called for many times. She presents everyone with a tough exterior and acts like she can handle whatever comes her way on her own, but on the inside she is always questioning herself. I could see Charlie as a real person.

The thing that can make a book really pop for me is when the bad guys are truly evil and vile. You get that kind of scary here. So when your reading a scene with the bad guys, your on the edge of your seat with worry and dread. More than once I was wondering how Charlie was going to save herself.

The ending left me feeling very satisfied but full of anticipation for the next book. This was a story that left me thinking about it long after I finished reading it. I will be picking up the next book in Charlie Madigan's universe. This one is going down in my top 10 reads of this year.

My Rating: Perfect!

Places you can find Kelly Gay: Web Site | Blog | Twitter

Charlie Madigan Series:

  1. The Better Part of Darkness
  2. The Darkest Edge of Dawn - August 31, 2010

Side note: I love the book titles in this series. Great play on the right combination of words.


Leontine said...

I love the atmosphere you're describing Donna and the bad guys...I love to hate the bad guys and they sound like true evil that makes you root for the protagonist!

This sounds like great UF ;)

SusiSunshine said...

That sounds thrilling! I love it when the bad boys are really bad. I think I would enjoy this book. Great review hon!

Michelle Greathouse said...


Great review. :) I have been looking forward to this one as well - I'm glad to know you enjoyed it.

I love books that are set in Georgia. :)


Patti (@TheLoveJunkee) said...

This does sound good. I, too, was intrigued by the fact that she's a divorced mother - that is unusual in a scifi heroine. I'm looking forward to reading this one!

Mandi said...

Oh wow - top ten of the year? AND first in a series..I like it:) Nice review.

Wendy said...

Awesome review, Donna! I really can't wait to read this book.

Donna said...

Leontine & Susi - Yes, very bad guys...clench your teeth and sit on the edge of your seat bad. ;)

Michelle - Bet you do! Books set in near you tend to either add to the enjoyment of the book or take away. I hope this one adds to it when you read it.

Patti - I like the way the divorcee/child situation was handled in this book, a lot "Uh-oh" moments and smiles.

Mandi & Wendy - Thanks! I hope you both get a chance to read BPOD and like it as much as I did.

Blodeuedd said...

Great review, it does sound good and yes great titles. I do love a good one

Sophia (FV) said...

Oh I'm liking everything about this!! Great review.

Angiegirl said...

You've got me really excited for this one now! That's some high praise. Can't wait.

VampFanGirl said...

Hey Donna!

I agree, really scary villains can bring a whole new level to a book. I recently read THE FLAME AND THE SHADOW by Denise Rossetti that had some pretty creepy bad guys. They were evil scientists bent on studying the magic of the heroine. The scenes where she's captured are pretty hair-raising but it does make the reading experience that much more intense. It fuels your hatred of the villains and the love of your hero and heroine.

Thanks for the great review and recommendation!

;) VFG

Abigail said...

This is the first review I've read. I'm so glad you like it. Can't wait to read it myself

Donna said...

Blodeuedd - Great titles!

Fiction Vixen - Thanks! I hope you give this one a try.

Angie - I love this book. I feel like I can't say enough about it. :)

VFG - YES! I love to have evil guys that scare the pants off of you. Sometimes it makes the story terrific. But BPOD has that evil bad guys and much more to make it terrific.

Abigail - I think this one is right down your alley. I really want to know what you think if you read it.

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Hi Donna. I just started following you today from over at Tweeter.

This book looks like a great new series to start. I am going to have to write it down to pick up on one of my trips to the bookstore. It sounds like a good quick read. Thanks for the review!

Donna said...

Hey Melissa - Glad to see you hear! This is urban fantasy at it's finest, seriously. If you read The Better Part of Darkness, let me know what you think about it.

cfisher1504 said...

Great review. The Better Part of Darkness just got added to my wish list. I can't wait to read it!!

Donna said...

My comment *hear* should've been *here* Sheez spelling is not one of my points. ;)

Hi Cfisher! Hope you get a chance to read BPOD. :)

Erotic Horizon said...

Love your take on this... I MUST read this...

Do you know if and when this will come out in ebook...


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