The Better Part of Darkness (2009)

1. The Better Part of Darkness (2009)

The Charlie Madigan series is written by Kelly Gay

Genre and SubgenresEdit

Adult Urban Fantasy

Brief Series Description or Overview Edit

The setting is Atlanta, 13 years after the discovery of other dimensions. This discovery, known as the Revelation, means that races originally thought to be myth are now openly living among humans. Charlie is a detective with the Integrated Task Force (ITF) and works closely with her partner of three years, Hank, who also happens to be a male siren. Their job is to keep all the races in line, a job which is made exponentially harder when a new off-world drug starts making the rounds on the streets. When the drug hits too close to home Charlie finds herself personally involved and soon she is caught up in a much farther reaching scheme. And if that's not enough trouble on Charlie's plate, she's also plagued by nightmares of her death experience that may contain some truths she just doesn't want to know. Oh, and her ex-husband wants her back. ~ Goodreads reader | Veronica

Lead's Species Edit

  • Human, paranormal-cop

Primary Supe Edit

  • Off-worlders

What Sets it ApartEdit

Narrative Type and Narrators Edit

  • First person narrative told by Charlie Madigan.

Books in Series Edit

Charlie Madigan series:

  1. The Better Part of Darkness (2009)
  2. The Darkest Edge of Dawn (2010)
  3. The Hour of Dust and Ashes (2011)
  4. Shadows Before the Sun (2012)
  5. The Cold Light of Day (?)

Shorts, Anthologies and GuidesEdit

  • 4.5. "Hell’s Menagerie" in Carniepunk (July 23, 2013) ~ Anthology

World Building Edit

Setting Edit



  • Underground Atlanta: criminal element in Underground has grown since the Revelation.

Supernatural Elements Edit

✥ Para-cops, Mages, sirens, jinns, hellhounds, Adonai, goblins, revenant, angels, demons, vampires, Necromancers, oracle, angel-like beings, Pendaran, supe drug, , , Nuallan Gow, Greek mythology, , , , ,


  • Off-worlders: foreigners from the alternate dimensions of heaven-like Elysia—angelic Adonai—and hell-like Charbydon
  • Elysia: heaven-like dimension with nicer monsters
  • Charbydon: hell-like dimension with eviler and darker monsters
  • Adoni: angel-like
  • Pendaran:
  • Revelation: discovery of other dimensions
  • Ash: off-world narcotic
  • Sirens: have the ability to voice people
  • Jinn: creatures from Charbydon, kind of like hell, they're a warrior breed with a serious self worship issue


  • Integration Task Force: Atlanta P.D.'s special force trained to take down the toughest human and off-world criminals

World Edit

✥ Earth is trying to balance out the discovery of two other worlds that creatures from legend live, and have been coming to earth throughout history. Elysia heaven-like where nicer monsters live and hell-like Charbydon where the eviler and darker monsters reside. Besides Sirens, Jinns, and Mages there are even more supernatural creatures happening. Hellhounds, angelic-like Adoni, Goblins, Revenants (read to find out), and so much more. ~ Book Whispers

✥ This is not your mother's Atlanta. Scientists have discovered that what we used to think of as heaven and hell is actually two other dimensions with complete societies and inhabitants. Now Earth is sharing itself with these inhabitants, which include sirens, mages, hellhounds, jinns, etc. Goodreads Reader - Christen

Protagonist Edit

✥ Divorced mother turned paranormal police officer Charlie is sarcastic, determined, and capable. Yet beneath her tough exterior she is also vulnerable, scared, and occasionally reckless. Prior to this book she died for two hours and now suffers from chronic cryptic nightmares reliving the experience—there's also the inhuman bursts of strength that accompany strong feelings of anger that she can't explain. Charlie put Emma first. She was always trying to ensure not just Emma's physical safely, but her emotion safety as well. ~ All Things Urban Fantasy

Sidekick Edit

  • Name: / What: / Sidekick-to: / About: / Book First Seen:

Characters Chart Edit

Characters What About
Charlie Madigan Para-cop, human divorced mother of one, and a kick-ass cop trained to take down the toughest human and off-world criminals; discovering powers;
Hank siren from Elysia Charlie's partner and friend;
Emma preteen daughter Emma is Charlie's world
Will Charlie's ex betrayed Charlie in a way that she cannot forgive;
Byrn Mage, half breed Jinn eclectic sister who runs a herb shop in the Underground; loving and supportive

To expand the table, in Edit–Visual mode, right-press on a Row of the table or Column (Control-press on a Mac)—choose add Row or Column.

Kelly Gay web pic

Kelly Gay

Author Edit

Kelly Gay

Bio: Kelly Gay writes the critically acclaimed 'Charlie Madigan' urban fantasy series. Her work has been nominated for a double RITA, an ARRA, a Goodreads Choice Award, and landed on SIBA's Long List Book Award Finalists. Kelly is also a recipient of North Carolina Arts Council's fellowship grant in Literature. She is published in Young Adult fiction as Kelly Keaton. ~ Goodreads

Cover ArtistEdit

Publishing InformationEdit

  • Publisher: Pocket Books fantasy
  • Author Page:
  1. The Better Part of Darkness: Paperback, 416 pages, Pub. Nov 24th 2009, ISBN 1439109656
  2. The Darkest Edge of Dawn (2010)
  3. The Hour of Dust and Ashes (2011)
  4. Shadows Before the Sun (2012)
  5. The Cold Light of Day (?)

Book Cover Blurbs Edit

BOOK ONE BLURB—The Better Part of Darkness (2009): 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?  ~ Goodreads | The Better Part of Darkness (Charlie Madigan, #1) by Kelly Gay

BOOK TWO BLURB—The Darkest Edge of Dawn (2010): It takes a strong woman to keep the peace in a city of endless night. . . . Deep beneath Underground, a cunning bid for power and revenge has begun; one that threatens to make Atlanta the new battleground in the ultimate confrontation between good and evil. The powers of hellish Charbydon have the upper hand after plunging the city into primordial night. And under the cover of darkness, a serial killer targets the most powerful Elysians in the city, the angelic Adonai. For Detective Charlie Madigan and her siren partner Hank, tracking deadly predators is all in a day's work . . . but this case will test the limits of their strength and friendship as it draws them into a deadly world of power plays, ancient myths, explosive secrets, and a race against time that risks all that Charlie holds dear. ~ Goodreads | The Darkest Edge of Dawn (Charlie Madigan, #2) by Kelly Gay

BOOK THREE BLURB—The Hour of Dust and Ashes (2011): To save her sister, she must stop a silent killer. . . . Protecting Atlanta from the off-world criminals of Underground is tough enough, but now Detective Charlie Madigan and her siren partner, Hank, learn that the addicts of the offworld drug ash have begun taking their own lives. Ash makes humans the perfect vessels for possession, and something or someone is leading them to their deaths. Charlie is desperate to save her addicted sister, Bryn, from a similar fate. As New Year’s Eve approaches and time runs out, Charlie makes a deadly bargain with an ancient race of beings and embarks on a dangerous journey into hellish Charbydon with Hank and the Revenant Rex to save Bryn and make it back before it’s too late. Only, for one of them, coming home means facing a fate worse then death. ~ Goodreads | The Hour of Dust and Ashes (Charlie Madigan, #3) by Kelly Gay

BOOK FOUR BLURB—Shadows Before the Sun (2012): The electrifying sequel to the acclaimed urban fantasies The Better Part of Darkness, The Darkest Edge of Dawn, and The Hour of Dust and Ashes! After filling out mountains of paperwork, Detective Charlie Madigan sets out for a death-defying trip into heavenly Elysia to rescue her partner Hank and bring the siren home. Of course, she doesn’t expect to leave behind an all out siren revolution or return home to find that jinn crime boss, Grigori Tennin, has begun a massive search for the divine being, Ahkneri. Tennin’s tactics set off a chain reaction that puts Charlie in the crosshairs of the shadowy creature known as Death and awakens Ahkneri from her long sleep. And when Vengeance rises, Atlanta will never be the same.  ~ Goodreads | Shadows Before the Sun (Charlie Madigan, #4) by Kelly Gay

BOOK FIVE BLURB—The Cold Light of Day (?): Goodreads | The Cold Light of Day (Charlie Madigan, #5) by Kelly Gay

First Sentences Edit

  1. The Better Part of Darkness (2009) — "You told a two-thousand-year-old oracle to prove it."
  2. The Darkest Edge of Dawn (2010) — "Okay. I'm ready. Give me a leg up."
  3. The Hour of Dust and Ashes (2011) — "You told a two-thousand-year-old oracle to prove it." Hank kept pace beside me, nursing his bloody nose with a handful of fast-food napkins I'd pulled from the glove box earlier. "I mean, do you ever think before the words spew out of your mouth, Charlie?"
  4. Shadows Before the Sun (2012) — Prologue: "Again." His muscles tensed, going rock hard as the whip sliced through the air with a long, brutal sigh. / (Can't find first sentence of chapter one.)
  5. The Cold Light of Day (?) — unpublished

Quotes Edit

Read Alikes (similar elements) Edit

Awards Edit

RITA® Award by Romance Writers of America Nominee for Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements (2010)

Trivia Edit

Notes via Edit

See Also Edit

Category links at bottom of page

External References Edit



World, Characters, etc:


Interviews, Guest Posts, Author Commentary:




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Gallery of Book Covers Edit