The Hour Of Dust And Ashes is the third book in the Charlie Madigan series by Kelly Gay. It is a dark and gritty urban fantasy, my favourite kind of book. There is a lot of time between books as they are released annually and I had forgotten what had happened in the previous books and had to keep skimming through them to jog my memory. So if you have a bad memory like me here is a little run down of what happened. I have tried to keep it really brief and not give away spoilers. If you like dark urban fantasy I would recommend this series and strongly advise you read the first two books before reading this book so you might want to look away now or at least skip over the next two paragraphs.
The Better Part Of Darkness is book 1 and introduces us to Charlie Madigan who is a police detective and mother to 11 year old Emma who lives in Atlanta with other races known as off worlders. Off worlders are people such as Sirens and Jinn who have come from other parallel planes of existence known as Charbydon our version of hell and Elysia our version of heaven. These people have been coming into our world for thousands of years but humans have only known about Charbydon and Elysia for the past thirteen years after they were discovered by the scientist Titus Mott. Charlie works with Hank who originates from Elysia. He is a siren who emits an energy that makes women weak at the knees with a voice that can do all sorts of things. The story starts with Charlie dying but she is brought back from the dead by being injected with DNA from both Charbydon and Elysia. This starts to transform her into something that isn’t human. Charlie and Hank are given a case where they have to find and stop the people who are making a drug called Ash which is made from a Charbydon flower called the bleeding soul. Whilst working the case Charlie’s sister Bryn suffers a forced Ash overdose which results in her being addicted. On top of this Charlie also finds out her ex-husband has been possessed by a revenant called Rex after Will make a deal with him. The deal was for Will and Charlie to get back together then when Will died Rex could move into his body. Charlie eventually finds out that her life was saved and DNA changed so that she would unwittingly take part in a ritual to save her daughter’s life and plunge Atlanta into permanent darkness. This is because the moon in Charbydon is dying and soon people will not be able to live there and will need a new home to move too. The ritual works and darkness engulfs Atlanta.
The Darkest Edge Of Dawn is book 2. So Atlanta has been plunged into darkness, Bryn is addicted to Ash, Rex has taken over Will’s body and Emma has a hellhound called Brim for a pet whilst Charlie and Hank are working a case where powerful Elysians are being murdered. Whilst investigating the case Charlie and Hank experience a moment together which results in a fight where both end up tattooing the other with a Truth mark using a twig from the Throne Tree. It turns out that a cult, called Sons Of Dawn are doing the murders in order to capture the victims souls to raise a first one. A first one is a being where all three races human, Elysian and Charbydon come from. The Sons Of Dawn need the first one to prove that Charbydon nobles once ruled Elysia before being thrown out into Charbydon. A battle on top of Helios Tower ensues and Charlie is victorious but she cannot destroy the first one so Charlie and Hank hide her in a lake.
Phew so this leads us to book 3. It’s so hard to write a description of The Hour Of Dust And Ashes without giving too much away but here goes. The story picks up one week after the last book. The Ash victims are possessed and taking their own life and with Charlie’s sister Bryn one of those Ash addicts it is a race against time for Charlie and Hank to discover what is happening and to prevent the remaining Ash users from committing suicide. In order to save her sister Charlie follows Bryn to Charbydon with Hank, Rex and Brim where they encounter dangerous creatures and Charlie finds out about Hank’s mysterious past.
I absolutely love this series and book 3 hasn’t changed that in fact I love it even more. Ms Gay gives us a fantastic new world with fantastic characters. Charlie is a witty kick ass cop and her relationship with her daughter comes over brilliantly. Hank is amazing, he is incredibly good looking as one would expect from a Siren but he is also a good loyal friend. The relationship between Charlie and Hank develops some more in this book and it is great to finally find out about Hank’s secret past. There is one scene in the book where Hank is using his voice to heal Charlie and it is so well written that it is more intimate than some sex scenes that other authors have written. Rex appears more too, in the past I wasn’t too keen on Rex but I have changed my mind now, Rex really shines in this story. This book isn’t as fast paced as the other two books which I liked. We also see one of the other worlds for the first time as Charlie goes into Charbydon. We are not left with a cliff hanger per se but we are left with a situation that means I have to buy the next instalment as soon as it is released. If you like books with lots of sex and happy endings this book is not for you, however if you like kick ass chicks, hot men, witty writing and a cute hellhound I would definitely recommend these books. I would like to give this book 5 Nitro gun blasts.