Shadows Before the Sun by Kelly Gay

Rating: 4 1/2 stars

Series: Charlie Madigan #4

The setting for part of the story was in another world, so the book didn’t focus on all of the usual characters as much as normal. It all worked out very well though. This was my favorite installment in the series. Another reason this one felt a little different was that Charlie had accepted her situation and her feelings for Hank. It was great to see her determined to get what she wanted instead of torn apart with indecision.

One character who played a much smaller role in the other books had a big role in this. Alessandra (a.k.a. Sandra) is the oracle. She and Charlie have to work together to achieve a goal. She was a character I didn’t particularly like before, but she was surprisingly fun.

Although Hank didn’t get as much page time as usual, some small parts were from his perspective. I really enjoyed getting a little glimpse into his POV, and it was necessary to the plot since he and Charlie were not together for a good portion of it. Also lot more was learned about his family and his world.

All of the big issues were wrapped up since this is the last book before the publisher cancelled the series. There were several things left unexplained, which definitely leaves room for more books. Leander was a new character who was very mysterious. It was hard to tell if his long term plans would help or hurt Charlie. I’m keeping fingers crossed that the fifth book will be self published next year so some of these things will be explained.

The Hour of Dust and Ashes by Kelly Gay

Rating: 4 stars

Series: Charlie Madigan #3

A lot things happened in this book. Bryn and the other ash victims are still being randomly controlled. Sometimes the beings controlling them are leading them to their deaths. It’s up to Charlie to figure out a way to save them. She does figure out a way with some help, but it may kill her to try to save everyone else.

The romantic tension was increasing between Charlie and Hank. She was finally able to admit that she has feelings for him. Hank finally explained his past. He told Charlie about why he left his homeland and why he will be in deep trouble for leaving.

There was an unexpected turn of events with the Rex/Will storyline. I was very happy but shocked at the way things turned out. Luckily Rex will be around. He is an entertaining character who lightens the mood.

This ended with a cliffhanger. I’m anxious to start the next one to see how things turn out. Unfortunately the next one is the last in the series, and I don’t want to say good by to these characters yet.

The Darkest Edge of Dawn by Kelly Gay

Rating: 4 stars

Series: Charlie Madigan #2

Dead bodies are piling up, and Charlie and Hank have to stop whoever is doing it. The murders could cause some serious problems amongst the different factions of people. This case ties in closely with the events in The Better Part of Darkness, but saying much more would give too much away.

Charlie is dealing with problems at home. She’s still learning how to cope with her own powers, which are physically draining her. Her preteen daughter is acting out as expected for her age. They’ve adopted a pet hellhound who for all Charlie knows could turn on them at any time. On top of it all, she’s living with Rex who is inhabiting her ex-hubby’s body, and she hasn’t broken the news to her daughter about what really happened to her dad.

I liked this one better than the first. The beginning was a little slow, but after that I was hooked. Hank was more prominently featured but not as much as I would like. He’s definitely an alpha but not the overbearing type. The relationship between Charlie and Hank began to evolve into something more.

One issue I have with Charlie is that she is resistant to getting close to anyone. She has several good, reliable people in her life, but she often wants to keep problems to herself. I’d like her be in a romantic relationship, but I’d be willing to settle for a close friendship.

I can’t wait to read the next one and see how all of the issues that were left hanging are resolved.

The Better Part of Darkness by Kelly Gay

Rating: 3 1/2 stars

Series: Charlie Madigan #1

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 urban fantasy a divorced mother for a main character is a rarity. Actually I don’t think I’ve ever encountered one in urban fantasy 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 found in urban fantasy like vampires and werewolves.

In this world supes are out in the open. Charlie is a cop with a partner, Hank, who is a siren. A drug called ash is putting people into comas and eventually killing them. The case gets personal when someone she knows is affected. The case does tie into some issues Charlie has been having. She had died 8 months before and was brought back to life. She hasn’t quite been the same since.

I’m sure some people will find it annoying that Charlie wasn’t over her ex yet. Although I did not like her ex, how she felt about him seemed realistic. Having been through a similar situation, her reaction to him made sense. I hope she has the sense to realize that love isn’t always enough, and stay away from him.

I ship Hank. He was was kind, caring, and loyal. Their relationship may stay platonic, which is fine, but they had great chemistry. I would love to see their relationship evolve into something more.

This would have been better if the mystery involving the drugs had been more complex. There weren’t any red herrings; it was all fairly straight forward. Also I didn’t like it that Charlie made a lot of rash decisions that had dire consequences. Her friends and family may not want to stick around if things stay this way because they might not want to deal with the consequences of her impetuousness.