The Hour of Dust and Ashes by Kelly Gay + Giveaway

As far as urban fantasy series goes, the Charlie Madigan books deserve all kinds of love. I was first attracted this is exceptional series by their dynamic covers (I bow down to the genius of Chris McGrath) and have kept coming back for more after spending some time with Charlie and her family. Truly these books have so much going for them: a loyal and determined heroine, unique mythology, and a cast of quippy characters.

**SPOILER WARNING** You know the drill folks. We're onto the third book in this first-rate series so, you know, spoilers for the previous books contained herein and all that.

Special Forces Detective Charlie Madigan has never been one to sit back and let others handle her problems. She's more of a confront them head on and beat them until they lie shivering in a corner type of gal. Unfortunately that tactic isn't working too well for her at the moment. Charlie's currently juggling a precocious magic-wielding daughter who thinks a hellhound makes a excellent pet, a sarcastic revenant currently residing in her ex-husband's body (and in her house), some curious new DNA which is giving her wicked yet unpredictable magical abilities, and a very new and very unexplored relationship with her longtime siren partner Hank. Charlie's most immediate concern however is the safety of her younger sister Bryn whose inadvertent addiction to the off-world drug ash has left her susceptible to possession and even death after other ash addicts begin to commit suicide. As a last resort (frankly the only option she has left) in helping her sister, Charlie agrees to a plan that will most likely kill her if she doesn't play it safe. Too bad she's never been particularly good at toeing that line.

Well. Seeing as we are now onto book three, The Hour of Dust and Ashes certainly ups the ante as far as tension goes. Despite the non-stop action, most of my favorite scenes are the ones that focus more on Charlie's relationships. I simply never get tired of her interactions with the swaggering revenant Rex or her feisty daughter Emma. And as far as Hank is concerned, let's just say that Kelly Gay gets the sizzle juuusst right in that department.

Even though I spend every first 50 or so pages of Kelly Gay's books trying to remember the complicated names and belief systems of the opposing Elysian and Charybdon races, I am still all kinds of fascinated by the heaven/hell mythology she has created. Especially as Charlie visits Charybdon (yeah, that would be hell) for the first time in The Hour of Dust and Ashes. Suffice to say, it's one skeery place. Though our girl Charlie fits right in. I really don't see this series going stale any time soon as Ms. Gay still has so much to explore in terms of cultures and relationships. I for one want to be there with Charlie as she gets a better handle on it all.

And holy crap! Hank!! My lips are sealed on that front, but all I can say is Charlie really has her work cut out for her in book 4. Want. Now.

Thanks to Pocket Books, I have one copy of The Hour of Dust and Ashes to giveaway. Open to US residents only, giveaway will run through September 12, 2011. Fill out the form below to enter.

series reading order:
The Better Part of Darkness - my review
The Darkest Edge of Dawn - my review
~ The Hour of Dust and Ashes

Because Everyone Likes a Second Opinion:
Books and Things review
RT Book Review

book source: review copy from the publisher