Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Better Part of Darkness by Kelly Gay

The Better Part of Darkness


Kelly Gay

ARC won from contest

Either I'm getting way better at picking out books I want to read, or there are a lot of great debut novels with good writing and dialogue in the bookstores today. This is one of those books that I was waiting to get, wanting to get very badly, I was lucky and won it. I'm so glad I received this book. It's worth buying, worth reading and worth looking for the sequel.

The main character, Charlie (Charlene) Madigan is a detective with the Atlanta P.D.'s Integration Task Force. She's also a divorced mother of a young "tween" (Emma). The Atlanta P.D needs the Integration Task Force (ITF) to deal with the new citizens of the world. "Offworlders" from Charbydon (similar to the biblical Hell) and Elysia (similar to Heaven) - two dimensions recently discovered by a scientist- have settled in Atlanta and with the new citizens come new paranormal crimes. Charlie's partner, Hank, is a siren as well as a good friend of the family.

The secondary characters in this book are interesting supporting characters. There is Charlie's sister, Bryn, who practices magic; her daughter Emma; her ex-husband Will (that's my youngest son's name- a good all-round name) who is fightin an addiction that helped to end their marraige,;and her boss, the chief- Chief Abernathy. Throughout the book he's mainly referred to as the chief, if his first name was mentioned I don't recall it right now, and somehow that works for me.

Besides being a cop working with paranomals, Charlie seems to have some sort of edge herself. She was recently killed and brought back to life with some extra abilities and nightmares. This is a help as well as a hindrance to her.

The plot of the book starts with the recent introduciton of a new deadly drug, an off-world narcotic (ash). Charlie and Hank investigate this and soon find Charlie's family in danger. There are important people involved and soon Charlie is being accused of murder. Bad things happen to people Charlie cares about, and her reactions are amazing to behold. I loved her reactions - from the rage, to the cold determination to her utter breakdown in emotions. Through it all, she never gives up and in fact finally realizes that she has to learn how to work with the extras she came back to life with.

The more I read of this book, the further I got into, the more I enjoyed myself. Charlie's reactions were totally believable and she is a strong woman who can lose her temper, fall into a rage, and yet doesn't come across as totally cranky and angry or abusive to everyone she comes across - she has her moments, but her character is likeable. Charlie also learns more about the off-worlders than she knew before and isn't too stubborn to admit there's more to learn.

The dialogue was also very good. I love reading a book when the dialogue fits the character's personalities. Good dialogue helps a book along, bad dialogue just can bring the whole thing to a screeching halt for me. Thankfully this is an example of great dialogue fitting in with a great origianl plot and great narration.

And the ending? chills.

If you get this book (and you should) enjoy not only the supporting cast already mentioned, but the supporting characters introduced throughout the book. A lot of interesting characters, most of whom I hope to see in future books. Books like The Darkest Edge of Dawn, which according to is the second Charlie Madigan book and releases in August 2010.

Reading Challenges that I'm applying this book toward:

because of the word "darkness" I considered using it for the Colorful Reading Challenge, but that would be just down-right cheating! Darkness wouldn't really be a color, right? :)

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