The Darkest Edge of Dawn by Kelly Gay

Picking up two months after the events of book one in the series, The Darkest Edge of Dawn finds Charlie Madigan and her partner, Hank, a siren, trying to make sense of a pile of dead bodies and the corpse of a nymph discovered in a warehouse. Hoping to gain some information from the newly-dead nymph, the two detectives call in Liz, the medical examiner who also happens to be a necromancer. After the unsettling conversation with the dead nymph, Daya, Charlie and Hank pay a visit to Pendaran, the Druid King, to let him know of the death of one of his people. When the news comes out that the woman had a relationship she was attempting to keep secret, Pendaran tells the detectives he gives them one week to find Daya’s killer, and then he will take matters into his own hands.

In the series, thirteen years earlier the beings from Elysia and Charbydon, roughly equivalent to heaven and hell, respectively, made themselves known in the human world, creating some problems. The organization that Charlie and Hank work for, the Integration Task Force, oversees law enforcement for crimes involving those from the other worlds. When Charlie’s blood was genetically altered to combine strains from all three races, she ended up covering Atlanta in darkness for a forty-mile radius, and she and Hank now comprise a top-secret branch of the ITF that deals with the most serious crimes. While seeking out Daya’s killer, Charlie and Hank learn that her death is part of a bigger plan involving power plays and ancient beings.

At times the reader may wish to shake Charlie for the juvenile behavior of her actions, but must remember that the conflicting racial bloodlines (Elysian, Charbydon, and human) coursing through her body and mind may be to blame. In fact, her predicament may be viewed as that of an adolescent with burgeoning hormones resulting in feelings and reactions she does not understand or even fully control.

Gay’s tactile imagery allows the reader to vividly perceive the heavy darkness surrounding Atlanta reflected in the events and characters of this excellent novel. The fabulous world-building enables the reader to easily and fully envision the different beings that inhabit this alternate and unsettling version of Atlanta. The intriguing underlying premise that beings from the other two worlds now live and interact openly with humans creates endless possibilities.

The only misstep in the book concerns the violence present in one sexually-charged scene, leaving a feeling of distaste. This reviewer highly recommends this terrific and engrossing series to all urban fantasy readers, and eagerly awaits book three, The Hour of Dust and Ashes.

Book stats:

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket (August 31, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439110042
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439110041

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Books in the Charlie Madigan series in the order they should be read:
The Better Part of Darkness The Darkest Edge of Dawn

The Hour of Dust and Ashes

Picking up two months after the events of book one in the series, finds Charlie Madigan and her partner, Hank, a siren, trying to make sense of a pile of dead bodies and the corpse of a nymph discovered in a warehouse. Hoping to gain some information from the newly-dead nymph, the two detectives call …

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About Carol

A book reviewer and editor at Bitten by Books since 2008, Carol reads extensively in the urban fantasy genre, and also writes the column on genre television, Screen Bites. Serving as the director of the Urban Fantasy track at Dragon Con, Carol also works at Coastal Magic (formerly Olde City, New Blood), and AnachroCon, and for the last three years has been one of the organizers for a small literary festival in the town where she lives. When not reading, writing reviews, or working at conventions, Carol spends as much time as possible with her three amazing grandsons.

2 comments

  1. I really enjoy this gritty series. I just finished DARKEST EDGE OF DAWN a few weeks ago and it was one of my fastest reads this year.

  2. Good series. This author was new to me and now I think of her as a great friend