Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Kiss Before the Apocalypse

A Kiss Before the Apocalypse by Thomas E. Sniegoski
The Remy Chandler Chronicles, #1

Boston P.I. Remy Chandler has many talents. He can will himself invisible; he can speak and understand any foreign language (including the language of animals); and if he listens carefully, he can hear thoughts.

Unusual, to say the least—for an ordinary man. But Remy is no ordinary man—he’s an angel. Generations ago, when he was known as the angel Remiel, he chose to renounce heaven and live on Earth. He’s found a place among us ordinary humans, with friendship, a job he’s good at—and love.

Now he is being drawn into a case with strong ties to his angelic past. The Angel of Death has gone missing, and Remy’s former colleagues have come to him for help. But what at first seems to be about tracing a missing person turns out to involve much more—a conspiracy that has as its goal the destruction of the human race. An only Remy Chandler can stop it.

--A Kiss Before the Apocalypse
by Thomas E. Sniegoski
Copyright © 2010 by Thomas E. Sniegoski

My Review

I found this story because its audiobook narrator is Luke Daniels, who I think is amazing (more about him in another review).  And thanks to him, I have a new favorite author and character in Thomas E. Sniegoski and Remy Chandler.

Remy is an Angel of the Heavenly Host, who decided to come to earth and live as a human.  He’d been on earth for many millennia when, in the 1950’s, he opened a private detective agency in Boston and got married.  Fast forward to today and he has a new case:  his former bretheren, the Seraphim, need his help.  Israfel, the Angel of Death, is missing, as are the Scrolls that unleash the Apocalypse.  They need Remy to find Israfel.   With the Angel of Death missing, no one on earth can die. 

At first, Remy refuses.  He wants nothing to do with his old life and even less to do with the Seraphim.  But he’s sensitive to the plight of the humans he lives amongst, namely that there is a balance to life, and death is a part of it.  Just to make his decision even more complicated, his wife and love of his life, Madeline, is dying of cancer.  If Israfel stays missing, she stays alive.  Find Israfel, she dies.

Plus, if he doesn’t find Israfel, person or persons unknown are going to break open the Heavenly Scrolls and start Armageddon, wiping out all life on earth.  And he kinda likes living on earth.  It would suck if everyone on it was dead.  So he makes up his mind and enlists the help of a friend of his, another fallen angel named Francis.  Together, Remy and Francis go about trying to save the world before Famine, War, Pestilence and Death are unleashed upon it.

I think what touched me most in this story was Remy’s internal conflict regarding Madeline’s impending death.  There have been plenty of stories with long-lived characters (mostly vampires) that mention to their present-day companions that they had past loves and companions and it was painful for them when those companions passed away while they continued to live, forever young.  This is the first story I’ve read where we get to go through the grieving process with one of these long-lived characters.  It was a little heart-wrenching to go through the emotions with Remy as he reconciled himself to finding Israfel, if for no other reason than to bring an end Madeline’s agony, and then going through the aftereffects after she’s gone.

There are four books total in the Remy Chandler series, the fifth due to come out later this year.  Stay tuned, for those reviews will be coming soon.

I give this story FOUR STARS.

By the way, I listened to an audiobook version of this story and I had to guess the spelling of the Angel of Death’s name.  If I got it wrong, could someone please let me know so I can correct it?  Thanks!

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