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The Better Part of Darkness (Charlie Madigan #1)

3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,774 Ratings  ·  391 Reviews
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 integ
Kindle Edition, 418 pages
Published November 24th 2009 by Pocket Books (first published November 2nd 2009)
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Feb 02, 2011 Vinaya rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: urban-fantasy, bleh
You know how many urban fantasy series I've read over the last few years? Thirteen. Yeah, that's right, THIRTEEN. And that's only the stuff I remember at least vaguely. There's a whole bunch more that I can't even retain, cause they were so boring or generic. And after a while, with that many books rattling around in my brain, they sort of start to merge together. And because I'm a geek, I've even made a table about it.


Now which one of these boxes will The Better Part of Darkness check? Why, a
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
4.5 stars
Charlene Elizabeth Madigan, you and I are going to become best friends!

For all of you who still haven’t read The Better Part of Darkness, I have but a single question: What the hell are you waiting for?!

Charlie Madigan is a detective and a single mom, doing her best to balance the two and make her pre-teen daughter happy in a world that’s beyond crazy. So let’s talk about that for a little while: Surely every single parent (or any parent in general) tries to do the same every day. We a
Sep 25, 2011 Sofija rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Lately I left a lot of books unfinished. So when I start reading “The Better Part of Darkness” I promised myself that no matter what, I will end it. And I did. But I suffered through every page.

I picked up this book for two reasons:
1)Charlie Madigan is a detective.
And I love to read procedural crime solving books.
2)Charlie Madigan has a eleven-years-old daughter.
So I expected there to be some parental issues, some upbringing problems, and some funny situations about being a parent.

I didn’t ge
THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS was a weird book because I liked it and didn't like it. There were times where it was slow and I didn't really get what was going on and part where I was completely into what was going on. The characters were great and I really enjoyed them, but the plot bored me to a point where I was skimming through parts of the book.

Charlie has the personality of a lot of my favorite Urban Fantasy Heroines. She's very stubborn sometimes and she has a temper on her, but you love he
⊱ Irena ⊰
Charlie Madigan is the most frustrating heroine I've read so far. There were some I didn't like, some were too bitchy, some disappointed me later in the series and so on, but she seems to cover every single annoying thing. She was killed a few months ago and was returned with new abilities. The annoying thing is: every so-called victory was accidental or at least it seemed like it to me. She is constantly whining, getting beaten up. I won't take into account her love for her daughter since that ...more
All Things Urban Fantasy
Review courtesy of

Imagine a world where Heaven and Hell combine, where beings thought to exist only in myths live and work alongside with humans who are still reeling from the shock of worlds beyond their own. Or better yet, let Kelly Gay imagine for you.

"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 be
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
Better Part of Darkness worked for me and didn't work for me. It worked for me in that our protagonist, Charlie, makes a lot of mistakes and she pays dearly for most of them. She's not naive, or even particularly idealist honestly, and she knows that the world is in a horrible place, but that doesn't mean she shouldn't keep trying. She also makes choices that aren't usually seen of the 'hero'. All that was very refreshing and interesting for me. Apparently even I have limits on how many heroes/h ...more
Shera (Book Whispers)

The Better Part of Darkness was huge talk around the book sphere last year when it made it's debut. When its sequel, The Darkest Edge of Dawn, came out this year even more praise started to pour in. Clearly it was a no brainer to finally read my copy of The Better Part of Darkness. Let's say I am not disappointed, I'm practically whispering sweet nothings to this book.

Dark gritty, with one heck of a kick booty heroine, what's not to love. Sure I'll confess I had some doubts about my ki
This was a fun book, though I felt a little... I don't know, I guess let down by the ending. I can't put my finger on why, exactly. I think I am just getting tired of books where our intrepid hero / heroine busts ass to save a bunch of worthless ingrates who have neither appreciation nor even interest in what she does to help them. "The whole world is against you" styled books are beginning to get tiresome to me. Mostly because it always seems to end up that the "whole world" working against the ...more
I think I'm burning out on tough chick 1st person urban fantasy. It was good but not great. Not bad, just not quite a 4. It's just getting to a point where I'm letting irritations bother me more than they probably should. The writing was good and the plot was fine. I kept turning the pages and wasn't bored at all. Tthe only thing that bothered me was that at first Charlie was exhibiting Too Stupid To Live syndrome, by not telling anyone about her strange symptoms or asking for any help, plus con ...more
Apr 02, 2012 Maya rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Heroines with an attitude problem are as common in Urban Fantasy as sand on a beach. Some call them "kick-ass" or "strong", I call them bratty and annoying. Whether this book is for you will largely depend on which of these two groups you are part of, because Charlie is yet another one of the anti-authoritarian and run-head-first-through-the-wall-instead-of-thinking heroines, and I simply can't relate to this kind of characters. Charlie's narrative voice is very unlikeable as well. She is selfis ...more
This is the first book in the Charlie Madigan series. It wasn't great (as most first books aren't) but it wasn't bad either and there was enough there to interest me to read more. Charlie is a likeable enough heroine. She's 31 so that differentiates her from most of the twenty-something heroines in the genre, plus she's a single mother to a 12 year old daughter. Eight months post divorce and post a total death experience guarantees that Charlie is not without her fair share of baggage.

The settin
Dec 22, 2014 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: urban-fantasy
I'm impressed with this first in series. Refreshing to read about an urban fantasy heroine who is in her 30's, has a kid and is divorced. Yes she can still kick ass. Also, would you believe that she actually drinks water and doesn't live on a diet of coffee? I'm flabbergasted. I can't wait to read the rest of the series. I love Kelly Gay's world building and Charlie Madigan is a heroine that just might be my next favourite character in the genre.
Jan 27, 2013 Jean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars. This book had just about everything I look for in a book: great characters, excellent world building, surprises/twists, and just a dash of humor. It was while reading this book that I realized I love it when an urban fantasy series sets up a nice team to fight the bad guys. I think I prefer having an eclectic team rather than the lone hero fighting the good fight.

Even though it was a super exciting book to read, I knocked off a half star, because I didn't really think about the story
Sep 08, 2015 Kira rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: urban-fantasy, magic
3 1/2 stars. This certainly has the potential to be a really good series. It did have some unique aspects which made this stand out. The coolest thing about this book was that Charlie is a single mom. In UF a divorced mother for a main character is a rarity. Actually I don't think I've ever encountered one in UF before. Another thing that made this special was the world. All of the supes came from alternate universes that roughly resemble heaven and hell. The supes in this weren't the usual ones ...more
Mar 05, 2016 cookiemonger rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
This book is so racked with indecision that it's practically a theme. Charlie can't even issue a declarative statement without clarifying it, generally with a contradicting statement. Thus:

"She's not dead.
Immediately, I felt for her pulse. "I swear to God, Hank, I'll put a bullet in your belly and send you back to Elysia if you're messing with me."
"Jeez, Charlie, give me some credit, will you? I wouldn't kid you about this."
Emma loved Amanda like any devoted little sister would. She also adored
Mrs. Badass
Nov 30, 2009 Mrs. Badass rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Urban Fantasy Fans
This was an interesting book. I read it all in one sitting, so you can tell it held my attention. I enjoyed Kelly Gay's writing style. The story wasn't too action packed, wasn't boring, had some new and fresh spins on mythology/aliens/other worlders, The lead heroine, Charlie don't call me Charlene Madigan, was a strong lead. She has flaws, she has strengths, and she does kick butt. There are a few surprises where her Ex-Husband is concerned and although I wanted her to forgive him at first, it ...more
Christen *Goldilox And The Three Weres*

"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?"

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
Jan 30, 2010 Darcy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aliens are now real and a fact of life after the big Revelation where it was discovered to alternate dimensions to earth and America is once again the country that everyone wants to immigrate too. Once aliens are accepted as common place they start to blend into society just as other immigrants have done in the past.

Charlie, a human and in the police force, and her partner Hank, who is a siren, are just another fact of life in the newly changing melting pot of America. They are called out when a
There are three realms - the human realm, heaven-like Elysia, and hell-like Charbydon. While few, if any, humans travel to Elysia or Charbydon, many of the creatures from those realms now make their home in the human realm.

Charlie is a human working for Atlanta PD's Integration Task Force. Her partner Hank is a siren from Elysia. The big case that's on their plate as the book opens is a new designer drug called ash that is suspected to have other realm origins.

I really like Charlie. It's a new
Emily WilowRaven
Jan 31, 2015 Emily WilowRaven rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, arc, shelfcheck
Simply put - this book kicks a**! I devoured it. I read it in two days. I read it when I should have been eating, sleeping and bathing. I couldn't put it down. I didn't want to put it down! And when it ended - I was sad. I wanted more, more, more! More Charlie and all her bada**ness. More Hank with his heavenly beauty. More Emma. More Bryn. More Will. And not just the characters. I want more background, more history, more of the fantasy![return][return]I have to be honest. I'm a fantasy/sci fi j ...more
Snarktastic Sonja
I am having a lot of trouble with this review. Might be because it seems to be more of the same. But, when a formula works, why mess with it? Maybe because we as readers like something a little different. Or, at least we *think* we do – then we go out and purchase more of the same.

I gotta say, this book reminded me a *lot* of Kate Daniels. But, maybe that was just the Atlanta setting. Or, maybe it was the mystifying powers that Charlie had. It certainly wasn’t the presence of a shape shifting c
Lady Rogue
Review courtesy of: http://escapebetweenthepages.blogspot...

The cover is appealing, as it definately has the urban fantasy look to it, giving the impression of a confident and strong woman in a dark and grungy world.

The story starts off strong. Charlie Madigan arrives at her daughter's school, after she overhears a call for paramedics being needed. (As a mother myself, I can relate to the urgency, to make sure that her daughter was alright and safe.) Once there, she discovers the body of her da
Kathy (Kindle-aholic)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 20, 2010 Ellen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Is there something wrong with me? I see all of these four and five star reviews, yet I've actually put this book aside without finishing it. Trust me when I say that such actions are rare in this house.

The writing is weak. It's so weak that at first, I kept checking to see if it was book two of a series. Nope, it's the first book. But the way background information is presented makes it feel as if we're getting reminders of what happened earlier in the series, rather than exposition. I kept thin
Shehreyar Khan
I'll give this one three stars, but not because it was exceptionally written or told a unique story. The only part that interested me was the concept of two universes and the presence of supernatural beings seen a little less often than vamps/ghouls/werewolves/anne-rice.

Without giving away much of the story: Charlie is a divorced mother, and her a-little-too-clever thirteen-year-old studies at a private school where there seems to be a circulation of a drug known as Ash .

Charlie is tough--she's
Jul 20, 2015 Denise rated it really liked it
Review can also be found on my blog.

I got into this book pretty easily. The world is different than what I normally read in urban fantasy and the slight mix of science fiction was a big draw. However, towards the middle to last third of the book it started to lag a bit too much for me. I kept finding myself putting the book down or getting distracted by another app on my iPad.

Charlie is closed off and hard to get to know making her, as the main character, hard to related to, with, get to know, l
Jan 31, 2013 ☀Rachael☀ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Soo glad I finally got around to this one! It's refreshing for the kickass chick to be divorced and have a kid! I'll be reading the next one very soon!
Kristine Hansen
Feb 18, 2016 Kristine Hansen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paranormal
Charlie has her hands full. Doing the single mother thing, the cop thing, the dealing with the overly concerned sister's a lot to handle, especially when there's a big nasty on the streets that's putting people into a coma. For a cop drama, you've got all the elements, right down to the dangerously sexy partner.

But then we add in all the creatures of heaven and hell, parallel dimensions that gave rise to a whole lot of mythology but are all too real since the gates have opened. Her e
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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.
More about Kelly Gay...

Other Books in the Series

Charlie Madigan (5 books)
  • The Darkest Edge of Dawn (Charlie Madigan, #2)
  • The Hour of Dust and Ashes (Charlie Madigan, #3)
  • Shadows Before the Sun (Charlie Madigan, #4)
  • The Cold Light of Day (Charlie Madigan, #5)

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