I thoroughly enjoyed The Better Part of Darkness by Kelly Gay.
Charlie Madigan is a policewoman and a single mother in a dystopian Atlanta in which we share our world with beings from two magical realms that are vaguely reminiscent of heaven and hell. Shortly before the novel starts, Charlie is beaten to death and brought back to life with a new set of nightmares and supernatural powers she must come to terms with if she hopes to solve the mystery. The story begins when a pre-teen friend of her daughter is found comatose from inhaling a magical drug. Charlie must investigate.
I admired Kelly Gay’s craft in spinning this excellent tale. The plot and gritty world setting had sufficient twists and surprises and details that I didn’t want to set The Better Part of Darkness down. Charlie’s conflicted relationship with her ex-husband was well depicted. And the society of the Djinn was so interesting that I wished it had played an even larger role. The sexual tension, too, kept me wondering if Charlie would end up dating anyone, and, if so, who.
What’s not to like? Well, for readers who crave new story ideas, the premise was not insanely innovative (though several world and plot elements were). And if what you’re looking for is a police procedural, then you might want to shop elsewhere. But honestly, none of that detracted from my personal enjoyment of this imaginative tale. I look forward to the next installment and would recommend The Better Part of Darkness and Kelly Gay to any fans of urban fantasy.
Charlie Madigan — (2009-2012) Publisher: Divorced mother of one, Charlie Madigan, lives in a world where the beings of heaven and hell exist among us, and they aren’t the things of Sunday school lessons and Hallmark figurines. In the years since the Revelation, they’ve become our co-workers, neighbors, and fellow citizens. Charlie works for ITF (Integration Task Force). It’s her job to see that the continued integration of our new “friends” goes smoothly and everyone obeys the law, but whena new off-world drug is released in Underground Atlanta, her daughter is targeted, and her ex-husband makes a fateful bargain to win her back, there’s nothing in heaven or earth (or hell for that matter) that Charlie won’t do to set things right.