About the Author
Read an Excerpt
It was an unusually warm, mid-September day in Boston. The kind of day that made one forget the oft-harsh New England winter was on its way, just waiting around the corner, licking its lips and ready to pounce.
Remy Chandler sat in his car at the far end of the Sunbeam Motor Lodge parking lot, sipping his fourth cup of coffee and wishing he had a fifth. He could never have enough coffee. He loved the taste, the smell, the hot feeling as it slid down his throat first thing in the morning; coffee was way up there on his top ten list of favorite things. A beautiful September day made the list as well. Days like today more than proved he had made the right choice in becoming human.
He reached down and turned up the volume on WBZ News Radio. Escalating violence in the Middle East was once again the headline, the latest attempts for peace shattered. Big surprise, Remy thought with a sigh, taking a sip from his coffee cup. When hasn't there been violence in that region of the world? he reflected. For as long as he could remember, the bloodthirsty specter of death and intolerance had hovered over those lands. He had tried to talk with them once, but they used his appearance as yet another excuse to pick up knives and swords, and hack each other to bits in the name of God. The private investigator shook his head. That was a long time ago, but it always made him sad to see how little things had changed.
To escape the news, he hit one of the pre-set buttons on the car's radio. It was an oldies station, though he found it faintly amusing that an "oldie" was a song recorded in the 1950's. Fats Domino was singing about finding his thrills on Blueberry Hill as Remy took the last swig of coffee and gazed over at the motel.
He'd been working this case for two months, a simple surveillance gigkeep an eye on Peter Mountgomery, copy editor for the Bronson Liturgical Book Company, and husband suspected of infidelity. It wasn't the most stimulating job, but it did help to pay the bills. Remy spent much of his day drinking coffee, keeping up with Dilbert and maintaining a log of the man's daily activities and contacts. Ah, the thrilling life of the private gumshoe, he thought, eyeing the maroon car parked in a space across the lot. So far, Mountgomery was guilty of nothing more than having lunch with his secretary, but the detective had a sinking feeling that that was about to change.
A little after one that afternoon, Remy had followed Peter along the Jamaica Way and into the lot of the Sunbeam Motel. The man had parked his Ford Taurus in front of one of the rooms, and simply sat with the motor running. Remy had pulled past him and idled on the other side of the lot, against a fence that separated the motor lodge from an overgrown, vacant lot, littered with the rusting remains of cars and household appliances. Someone had tossed a bag of garbage over the fence, where it had burst like an overripe piece of fruit, spilling its contents.
The cries of birds pulled Remy's attention away from Mountgomery to the trash-strewn lot. He watched as the hungry scavengers swooped down onto the discarded refuse, picking through the rotting scraps, and then climbing back into the air, navigating the sky with graceful ease.
For a sad instant, he remembered what it was like: the sound and the feel of mighty wings pounding the air. Flying was one of the only things he truly missed about his old life.
He turned his attention back to Mountgomery, just in time to see another car pull up alongside the editor's. Time to earn my two-fifty plus expenses, he thought, watching as Peter's secretary emerged from the vehicle. Then he picked up his camera from the passenger seat and began snapping pictures.
The woman stood stiffly beside the driver's side of her boss's car, looking nervously about the parking lot as she waited to be acknowledged, finally reaching out to rap upon the window with a knuckle. The man got out of the car, but the couple said nothing to one another. Mountgomery was dressed in his usual work attiredark suit, white shirt and striped tie. He was forty-six years of age, but looked older. In a light raincoat over a pretty floral print dress, the woman appeared to be at least ten years his junior.
The editor carried a blue gym bag that he switched from right hand to left, as he locked his car. The two stared at each other briefly, something seeming to pass silently between them, then together walked to room number 35. The secretary searched through her purse as they stood before the door, eventually producing a key attached to a dark green plastic triangle. Remy guessed that she had rented the room earlier and took four more pictures, an odd feeling settling in the pit of his stomach. The strange sensation grew stronger as the couple entered the room and shut the door behind them.
This was the part of the job Remy disliked most. He would have been perfectly satisfied, as would his client, he was sure, to learn that the husband was completely faithful. Everyone would have been happy; Remy could pay his rent, and Janice Mountgomery could sleep better knowing that her husband was still true to the sacred vows of marriage. Nine out of ten times, though, that wasn't the case.
Suspecting he'd be awhile, the detective turned his car off and shifted in his seat. He reached for a copy of the Boston Globe on the passenger seat beside him, and had just plucked a pen from his inside coat pocket to begin the crossword puzzle, when he heard the first gunshot.
Remy was out of the car and halfway across the lot before he even thought about what he was doing. His hearing was goodunnaturally so, and he knew exactly where the sound had come from. He reached the door to room 35, pounding on it with his fist, shouting for Mountgomery to open up. Remy prayed that he was mistaken, that maybe the sound was a car backfire from the busy Jamaica Way, or that some kids in the neighborhood were playing with fireworks left over from the Fourth of July. But deep down he knew otherwise.
A second shot rang out as he brought his heel up and kicked open the door, splintering the frame with the force of the blow. The door swung wide and he entered, keeping his head low, and for the umpteenth time since choosing his profession, questioned his decision not to carry a weapon.
The room was dark and cool, the shades drawn. An air conditioner rattled noisily in the far corner beneath the window; smoke and the smell of spent ammunition hung thick in the air. Mountgomery stood naked beside the double bed, illuminated by the daylight flooding in through the open door. Shielding his eyes from the sudden brightness, the man turned, shaken by the intrusion.
The body of the woman, also nude, lay on the bed atop a dark, checkered bedspread, what appeared to be a Bible clutched in one of her hands. She had been shot once in the forehead and again in the chest. Mountgomery wavered on his bare feet, the gun shaking in his hand at his side. He stared at Remy in the doorway and slowly raised the weapon.
"Don't do anything stupid," Remy cautioned, his hands held out in front of him. "I'm unarmed."
He felt a surge of adrenaline flood through his body as he watched the man squint down the barrel of the pistol. This is what it's like to be truly alive, he thought. In the old days, before his renouncement, Remy had never known the thrill of fear; there was no reason to. But now, moments such as this made what he had given up seem almost insignificant.
The man jabbed the gun at Remy and screamed. "Shut the door!"Slowly, Remy did as he was told, never taking his eyes from the gunman.
"It's not what you think," Mountgomery began. "Not what you think at all." He brought the weapon up and scratched at his temple offhandedly with the muzzle. "Who . . . who are you?" the editor stammered, his features twisting in confusion as he thrust the gun toward Remy again. "What are you doing here?" His voice was frantic, teetering on the edge of hysteria.
Hands still raised, Remy cautiously stepped further into the room. As a general rule, he didn't like to lie when he had a gun pointed at him. "I'm a private investigator, Mr. Mountgomery," he said in a soft, calm voice. "Your wife hired me. I'm not going to try anything, okay? Just put the gun down and we'll talk. Maybe we can figure a way out of this mess. What do you think?"
Mountgomery blinked as if trying to focus. He stumbled slightly to the left, the gun still aimed at Remy. "A way out of this mess," he repeated, with a giggle. "Nobody's getting out of this one."
He glanced at his companion on the bed and began to sob, his voice trembling with emotion. "Did you hear that, Carol? The bitch hired a detective to follow me."
Mountgomery reached out to the dead woman. But when she didn't respond, he let his arm flop dejectedly to his side. He looked back at Remy.
"Carol was the only one who understood. She listened. She believed me." Tears of genuine emotion ran down his face. "I wish we'd had more time together," he said wistfully.
"The bitch at home thought I was crazy. Well, we'll see how crazy I am when it all turns to shit." The sadness was turning to anger again. "This is so much harder than I imagined," he said, his face twisted in pain.
He lowered the gun slightly and Remy started to move. Instantly, Mountgomery reacted, the weapon suddenly inches from the detective's face. Obviously madness had done little to slow his reflexes.
"It started when they opened up my head," Mountgomery began. "The dreams. At first I thought they were just that, bad dreams, but then I realized they were much more."
The editor pressed the gun against Remy's cheek. "I was dreaming about the end of the world, you see. Every night it became clearerthe dreamsmore horrible. I don't want to die like that," he said, shaking his head, eyes glassy. "And I don't want the people I love to die like that either." The man leaned closer to Remy. He smelled of after-shave and a sickly sour sweat. "Are you a religious man?"
If he had not been so caught up in the seriousness of the situation, Remy Chandler would have laughed. "I have certainbeliefs. Yes. What do you believe in, Peter?"
Mountgomery swallowed hard. "I believe we're all going to die horribly. Carol, that was her name," he jerked his head toward the dead woman on the bed, "Carol Weir. She wanted to be brave, to face the end with me. But she was too good to die that way."
He smiled forlornly, and tightened his grip on the gun. "I would have divorced my wife and married her, but it seemed kind of pointless when we looked at the big picture. This was the nicest thing I could do for her. She thanked me before I . . . "
Mountgomery's face went wild with the realization of what he had done and he jammed the barrel of the gun into Remy's forehead. The muzzle felt strangely warm.
"Would you prefer to die now, or wait until it all goes to Hell?" the editor asked him.
"I'm not ready to make that decision."
Remy suddenly jerked his head to one side, grabbing the man's wrist, pushing the gun away from his face. Mountgomery pulled the trigger. A bullet roared from the weapon to bury itself in the worn shag carpet under them.
The two men struggled for the weapon, Mountgomery screaming like a wild animal. But he was stronger than Remy had imagined, and quickly regained control of the pistol, forcing the detective back.
Again, the editor raised his arm and aimed the weapon.
"Don't you point that thing at me," Remy snarled, glaring at the madman. "If you want to diethen die. If you want to take the coward's way out, do it. But don't you dare try to take me with you."
Mountgomery seemed taken aback by the detective's fierce words. He squinted his eyes, tilting his head from left to right, as if seeing the man before him for the first time. "Look at you," he said suddenly, with an odd smile and a small chuckle. "I didn't even notice until now." He dropped the weapon to his side.
It was Remy's turn to be confused. He glanced briefly behind him to be sure no one else had entered the room.
"Are you here for herfor Carol?" Mountgomery continued. "She deserves to be in Heaven. She iswas a good persona very good person."
"What are you talking about, Peter?" Remy asked. "Why would I be here for Carol? Your wife hired me to . . ."
Mountgomery guffawed, the strange barking sound cutting Remy off mid-sentence. "There's no need to pretend with me," he said smiling. "I can see what you are."
A finger of ice ran down Remy's spine.
With a look of resigned calm, Mountgomery raised the gun and pressed the muzzle beneath the flesh of his chin. "I never imagined I'd be this close to one," he said, finger tensing on the trigger. "Angels are even more beautiful than they say."
Remy lunged, but Mountgomery proved faster again. The editor pulled the trigger and the bullet punched through the flesh and bone of his chin, and up into his brain, exiting through the top of his head in a spray of crimson. He fell back stiffly onto the bedatop his true love, twitching wildly as the life drained out of him, and then rolling off the bed to land on the floor. His eyes, wide in death, gazed with frozen fascination at the wing-shaped pattern created by his blood and brains on the ceiling above.
Remy studied the gruesome example of man's fragile mortality before him, Mountgomery's final words reverberating through his mind.
I never imagined I'd be this close to one.
He caught his reflection in a mirror over the room's single dresser and stared hard at himself, searching for cracks in the façade. Is it possible? he wondered. Had Peter Mountgomery somehow seen through Remy's mask of humanity?
Angels are as beautiful as they say.
Remy looked away from his own image and back to the victims of violence. How could a case so simple turn into something so ugly? he asked himself, moving toward the broken door, followed by the words of a man who could see angels, and had dreamt of the end of the world.
He stepped quickly into the afternoon sun and almost collided with the Hispanic cleaning woman and her cart of linens. She looked at him, and then craned her neck to see around him and into the room. Remy caught the first signs of panic growing in her eyes and reached back for the knob, pulling the door closed. In flawless Spanish he told her not to go into the room, that death had visited those within, and it was not for her to see. The woman nodded slowly, her eyes never leaving his as she pushed her cart quickly away.
Homicide Detective Steven Mulvehill stood beside Remy, as the team from the medical examiner's office prepared to remove the bodies from the motel room. Remy leaned against his car, arms crossed. The two friends were silent as they watched the activity across the lot.
A small crowd had formed, kept at bay by a strip of yellow crime scene tape and four uniformed officers. The curious pack craned their necks, moving from one end of the tape to the other, eager to catch a glimpse of something to fill the misery quotient in their lives. It was something that Remy had never really understood, but had come to accept; the human species was enthralled with the pain of others. Whether a natural disaster or a drive-by shooting, the average Joe wanted to hear every detail. Maybe the fascination stemmed from the fact that somebody else had incurred the wrath of the fates, and they, for the moment, could breathe a sigh of relief.
Mulvehill and his partner, Rich Healey, had already examined the scene in the motel room and released the bodies to the coroner. Healey was still inside, supervising the removal.
The detective took a long drag of a cigarette, expelled the smoke from his nostrils like some great medieval beast, then broke the uncomfortable silence. "You all right?" he asked. "You're kind of quiet." He took another pull from his smoke.
Remy stared straight ahead, his eyes focused on the entryway of the room across the lot. "He saw me, Steven. Right before that guy killed himself, he really saw me."
Mulvehill was a stocky man, average height with a wild head of thick, black hair. He was forty-seven years old, divorced, and living the job. Remy had met him more than five years earlier, when a homicide investigation had intersected with a missing persons case he had been working on. The two had been friends ever since.
"He saw me for what I really am," Remy said again, truly disturbed at what he was saying.
Mulvehill looked at Remy, the last of the cigarette protruding from the corner of his mouth. "What, a shitty detective?" The cop smirked, taking the smoke from his mouth and flicking the remains to the ground.
The case that had first brought them together had ended badly, the murder suspect dead and Mulvehill with a bullet in his gut.
"You're a riot," Remy responded. "The stuff of Vegas floorshows. Really, if this cop thing doesn't work out . . . "
Mulvehill laughed out loud, as he reached into his sports jacket for his pack of cigarettes. "And you're an asshole. Tell me again what you were doing here." He pulled one from the pack and placed it in his mouth.
"Very smooth, detective," Remy grinned wryly. "It was simple surveillance," he explained. "Wife suspected he was having an affair. Nothing out of the ordinary."
Mulvehill lit up with an old fashioned Zippo. He flicked the cover closed with metallic click, then slipped it back inside his pocket next to the cigarette pack. He took a long, thoughtful drag. Smoking helped him think, he often said. Helped him focus. He'd tried to stop once, but it had made him stupid.
"So he shows up here with his secretary, they go in, and after a while you hear the first shot?"
Remy nodded. " That's about it. By the time I got in there, he'd already killed the woman. I think he was getting ready to shoot himself but I interrupted him."
The homicide detective idly brushed some ash from the lapel of his navy blue sports coat. "So you think this guy could somehow see youthe real you."
Mulvehill had been near death when Remy found him lying in a pool of blood in an abandoned waterfront warehouse. To ease his suffering and calm the terrified detective, Remy had revealed his true countenance. Death is only a new beginning, he had reassured the man.
Remy nodded, replaying the conversation with Mountgomery inside his head. "I didn't drop the façade at all, haven't done it in a long time. But the way he looked at meand that smile. He was definitely seeing something."
The doctors said it was a miracle that Steven had survived the shooting. After his recovery, the homicide detective had come looking for Remy, who had denied nothingand offered nothing. But Mulvehill knew he had encountered something very much out of the ordinary, something that couldn't simply be attributed to loss of blood.
Remy knew that Steven's mother and grandmother had been strict Catholics, and had tried to raise him in the faith as well. As a young man, he had gone to church to please them, but he had believed Christian doctrine to be nothing more than fairy tales, fantasies to relieve the fears of the devoted when faced with their own mortality. But since his own brush with death, and his encounter with a certain private investigator, the Boston detective wasn't quite sure what he believed anymore. In fact, he'd even started to attend Mass again. Just to be on the safe side, he'd told Remy.
But Remy had shown Mulvehill his true face by design. He had revealed himself on purpose. This was something else altogether. This dead man had seen beneath his mask.
"That ever happen before?" Mulvehill was asking, interrupting Remy's brooding. "Besides when you wanted it to, I mean?"
Remy looked at his friend. "Not to me, but throughout the ages there have been holy men, visionaries, who could glimpse the unseen world and its inhabitantsusually before some kind of change in the worldsomething of great religious significance."
Mulvehill sucked a final drag from his cigarette. "Anything coming down the pike that you know of? New Pope or something?"
Remy shrugged. "Well, the guy did talk about having dreams about the end of the world, the Apocalypse. He thought he was doing the woman a favor by killing her, thought I was here to take them up to Heaven."
Mulvehill looked at his friend with a serious expression, a new, unlit cigarette having appeared almost magically in his mouth. "When the time comes, will you carry me up to Heaven?" he asked, fishing for his lighter.
Remy grinned. "Sorry, that's not my job, but I imagine you're gonna have to drop a few pounds if you want anybody carrying your sorry ass up to"
Their playful banter was cut short by a sudden commotion. Healey ran from the motel room and beckoned to one of the uniforms. They exchanged some words and the cop spoke rapidly into his radio, then followed the detective back into the room. Mulvehill grumbled beneath his breath, threw his latest smoke to the ground and hurried toward the crime scene.
Remy followed, that strange, uneasy feeling in his gut returning.
"What's going on?" Mulvehill asked a second uniformed officer who stood just outside the motel room.
An ambulance pulled into the parking lot, sirens wailing, and screeched to a halt in front of the open door. Two EMT's jumped into action, hauling open the doors at the back of the vehicle and removing their equipment. Another ambulance had been there a short while ago, but it was gone now. There had been no lives for its technicians to save.
The uniform speaking to Mulvehill appeared shaken. He made brief eye contact with the detective and then looked back into the room, which buzzed with surprising activity. "I think the other detective said something about them being alive."
A harried looking paramedic pulling a stretcher barked for them to get out of the way as he pushed through the door. Another followed with a second stretcher at his heels.
There was a growing excitement amongst the gathered crowd, anticipation crackling in the air. They moved closer, an undulating organism hungry for anguish not their own.
Mulvehill shoved the officer aside and stormed into room 35, with Remy close behind. The blanket-covered bodies of Peter Mountgomery and Carol Weir were atop the stretchers, oxygen masks on their faces. They were deathly pale, the damage done by gunfire blatantly evident. How could they possibly be alive?
Remy stepped back against the wall as emergency workers pushed the stretchers past him, then approached Mulvehill and his partner, who stood beside the queen-size bed. "It's the damndest thing," Healey was saying, obviously flustered. "They were getting ready to bag ‘em when they felt a pulse on the guy. They checked the woman just to be sure, and she was still alive too."
Mulvehill looked at Remy, his expression that of someone who had just been slapped.
"Steven?" Remy asked, concern growing in his voice.
"Why don't you go outside and get some fresh air," Mulvehill told his partner, squeezing the man's shoulder in support.
Healey excused himself and headed for the door, shaking his head as he went. From outside they heard the mournful sound of sirens as the ambulance departed the lot.
Mulvehill cleared his throat and fumbled for his cigarettes. "They're still alive, Remy," he said, the package crinkling from inside his coat pocket.
"That's impossible. I saw the woman's body, Steven. Mountgomery shot her in the forehead." He pointed to the center of his furrowed brow. "And just to be sure, he put another one in her heart."
Mulvehill was silent, glancing around at the several spots where blood had been spilled. It had already begun to dry, ugly dark stains that would never be completely washed away.
"I saw him put that gun under his chin and blow his own brains out." Remy pointed to the wing-shaped stain on the ceiling. "That's brain matter up there. They can't possibly be alive."
Mulvehill looked away from the ceiling and shrugged his broad shoulders. "Did you not see the ambulance take them out of here?" he asked. "They're alive. They both have pulses."
The feeling in Remy's gut grew more pronounced.
"Hey, it's not a bad thing, two people are still alive," Mulvehill reasoned. "Maybe it's a miracle or something."
"Or something," Remy repeated as he turned and walked from the motel room, leaving his friend to make sense of it all.
Though Remy looked and acted like a human being and chose to live like one, he was nothing of the kind. On occasion his body functioned on another level entirely. He could feel things, sense things that others couldn't. And right now there was something in the air that no one else could feel, something unnatural.
As he walked across the parking lot, he glanced at his watch and swore beneath his breath.
Remy got into his car, knowing that what had begun in Room 35 of The Sunbeam Motor Lodge was far from over, and that two hundred and fifty dollars a day plus expenses wasn't going to come close to compensating him for what he feared was waiting on the horizon.
Excerpted from "A Kiss Before the Apocalypse"
Copyright © 2009 Thomas E. Sniegoski.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Over the last twenty five years, I have read hundreds if not thousands of books. Most of which fall in the Fantasy/Sci-Fi genres. Quite a few of the books had a 'fallen angel' as a character in the work. In all of those efforts, I cannot remember one author who made me care about him, her or it. No one was able to humanize the inhuman. They were cardboard cutouts, marching in predictable steps thru the storyline, and just as remarkable. Now comes along Thomas E. Sniegoski. In 'A Kiss Before the Apocalypse', the character of Remy Chandler, onetime celestial being, now a hard working Boston PI, becomes a person, not a caricature. Sniegoski makes you understand why anyone would literally leave Heaven to walk amongst a bunch of overachieving baboons. He will make you understand why someone would do what was right even though it cost them the love of their, oh so long, life. He will make you care. The irony of this book, with characters like Remy, the sad but immortal Lazarus or even the Angel of Death, my favorite character was Marlowe, Remy's dog. The most hard hearted person in the world will give an AAAGH, whenever Marlowe runs across the page. Pick up this book, you will not be disappointed.
The concept of an angel in modern time, i really thought it would suck. i was pleasantly surprised. The story was well done. It almost made me believe in angels. And the conversation with his dog, awesome. Well worth the read, even if you don't believe in angels.
I bought this because the writer was listed in an anthology that included a short story by Jim Butcher. I bought one book by every writer included, except Butcher (I alredy own them all). This was not the worst book I bought that day, but I cannot recommend it. I did manage to get all the way through it, but only because it was really short. The main character was really hard to accept, an angel who believes in all the things associated with a Judeo Christian afterlife stuff, but not the Judeo Christian during life stuff. Reminds me of the old song lyric, they say they want the kingdom, but they don't want God in it. The hero would have been much more interesting if he made a commitment one way or the other.
This was an over all great read I thought. It had good charicter development. When you go into the retirement home with Remy to see his "mother" you cannot help but feel his pain and sadness. Its a good story ove all with interesting concepts. I will definatly pick up the second book.
I really enjoyed this book. I wish it was longer and more developed. I think the author could have easily made this an enjoyable 500 pager..That aside, I loved the love story of Remy and Maddie, I think I cried at nearly every part that they were together. Remy's friendships were awesome too... I liked the angelic nature and the concept that angels can tune in and hear the prayers to god and the notion that divine creatures don't have the humanity that humans do. Eventhough this book was very short I really liked the imaginery and the 'possibilites' of the story. I really cared about the characters and want Maddie back in some form!!!
I read through this in one evening. I truly enjoyed the story line and the character development. You felt for the hero and the story kept right on moving.
I enjoyed this book. It was like an episode of Supernatural, only without my boys. I liked the protagonist conversations with his dog.
One of the better Urban Fantasy stories to read. Remy Chandler isn't perfect, even if he is one of the Heavenly Host who decided to live as a human, but he never forgets who he is and why he decided to leave Heaven. Thomas Sniegoski does a great job of building the plot, introducing us to Remy and the other angels, and weaving an exciting story that is relevant and a bit familiar. I wish I could speak to my animals the way Remy is able to speak to his beloved dog and other creatures. Totally believable. You don't have to be Catholic or have a large knowledge of religion to keep up with the story. I highly recommend reading this wonderful tale.
Purchased this purely based on the novella compilation Mean Streets. Being quite fond of the Paranormal Investigator novels. This one takes quite the spin away from the rest Remy Chandler is quite the conflicted character To save the world he is forced to lose things he cares about more than any thing else. The novel is a fairly quick read and if you enjoy Dresden, Nightside, or Greywalker you may want to pick this up if your out of new material in this vein.
You have to love an angel who gave up heaven for earth, because he was disallusioned. And finally finds a love that begins to match that of his love for the Creator. Its the Appocrypha written by St Thomas of Sniegorski, and infinitly more tightly connected. Remy Chandler is an unfallen angel, but one who left heaven after the destruction of his serentity backing the right side of the Heavenly Great Conflict. He falls in love with a mortal woman, who gives him back his peace. But as a mortal she grows old and ill, he stays faithful and loving. Other Heavenly host "contract" with Remy Chandler to find what has happened to the Angel of Death. Through a series of strange and awesome events, Remy had already noted that the AOD has abdicated his responsibilities, since his wife is nearing the end, its clear he doesn't want to have her caught in a living limbo. The Angel of Death, the glimpses of the ranks of Angels and what they are doing now on earth, whether fallen or not, the description of Hell and the elements of faith and counter faith...all well written and worth the effort to delve into this explanation of the continuing struggle. Just meeting the ranks of Angels and their current duties, is worth the pondering, but adding the seven seals and the four Horsemen of the Appocalypse, worth the ride. Sniegorski write well and all of his excursions tie into the final scenes. Very glad to have run across this series, and this author and hope he writes more for adults. Dante would be envious, don't remember which circle of Hell he'd be in, but he'd definitely wished he'd written this book.
Remy Chandler is an angel who has seen so much over thousands of years , yet he still just wants to be a regular human being. Tom Sniegoski shows how fantasy characters can have such varied emotions that they become someone you can laugh with and then cheer for to win each fight. You see Remy care for his wife, his dog, and his friends with such heart. A cast of colorful characters round out the story of mystery, and action, woven together to show how much each person matters in this world. Brilliant
This book rocks... I could not put it down. The characters are intersting, complicated, believable and their internal struggles are facinating. As the story unfolds, I was caught up as if I were there. The careful attention to detail from the settings, the characters, conflict and the action were rivoting. The story gave me a lot to think about love and loss as well. It had an excellent balance of character development and action. Each character was like an onion, there were plenty of layers to peel off. One of my favorite things about this story was the setting, growing up in and around Boston, I could picture all the scenes and it was a lot of fun. If you aren't from Boston, the description will make you feel like you've been there. I highly recommend this book.
He was old before the earth was created. Archangel Remiel of the host of the Seraphim fought when Lucifer and his allies rebelled and though he was on the winning side, he witnessed the atrocities that angels committed. He left Heaven and came to earth. After several millennia as a hermit he hid his angleic personna to live amidst humans and even loved a human. He currently calls himself Remy Chandler, twenty-first century Boston private investigator. --- His former Heavenly brothers, the Seraphim led by Nathanial visit him. Nathanuel asks on behalf of the Creator for Remiel to find Israfil, the Angel of Death who disappeared a week ago earth time. He has the five seals that would call up the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and the fifth seal giving them permission to proceed with their mission. The Seraphim fear Israfil, like Remy, has taken human form, which means no one is collecting the souls of the dead leaving broken and dying but never dead people praying for release. To avoid the Apocalypse and to bring death back into salvation, Remy takes on the assignment, but finds traitors amongst the allies who supposedly aid him. --- This reviewer prays there will be more novels starring Remy, a being who could return to Heaven any time he wants, but so far chooses to live amongst humans because he relishes the emotions that Heaven does not have. Not everyone will agree with his choice as many people strive on going to Heaven not running from heaven, but the audience will believe he is on earth for a reason as he does great things for humanity. This heartwrenching beautiful urban fantasy will grip readers with its potent emotional fervor. --- Harriet Klausner
Remy Chandler is one of Heaven's elite angel warriors who, on the field of battle, chose to come to Earth and live among humanity, basically to see what God liked so much about us. After discovering the ups, downs, flaws and wonder of love and life Remy decided to stay...until he finds out that someone or something is out to bring the four horsemen of the apocolypse down upon Earth to destroy all life.I really did enjoy this novel. I enjoyed the characters and Remy's special abilities. I particularly enjoyed his conversations with his dog LOL The story moved well and didn't bore me. I think it woud be a good fill in for someone who is langushing between Harry Dresden novels and looking for something similar but different enough as to not be confused with one another. Although I probably won't actively seek out the sequels, I wouldn't pass on a chance to read one if it came my way.
This is poorly written - I'm sure the concept is great, but it's written so stiffly that it feels like an author's first attempt. And I don't mean that the author feels young... it feels like it's a middle-aged man who came up with an idea about a fallen angel and decided to dig out his grammar text book from 22 years ago and write a novel. And a grammar book doesn't tell you how to create and develop characters that the reader will care about... hence there's none of that in this novel.I see that others have commented that the relationship between Remy and his dog is a plus for the story. I have to disagree, and I think that even these conversations (yes, he can converse with the dog) are stilted and a tad lame. (Read Hearne's Iron Druid series if you want examples of well-written man-dog communication, or even just for an example of a well-written urban fantasy with characters you'll care about.)Actually, I can't think of a thing about this story that I enjoyed, other than the premise of a fallen angel amongst humans... I even have the next book in the series, but I'm not going to wasted my time reading it, it's that mundane.
Listened to the NLS Talking Book version. Short read. Enjoyable. I liked the relationship between Remy and his wife. I was able to relate to the characters with the exception of the angel of death. I wish that character was a little more fleshed out. Overall, a decent, not great, supernatural thriller.
Urban fantasy with supposedly noir touches (I didn't think so) starring Remy Chandler, an angel passing for human - he's also a P.I. and he can talk to animals, including his dog Marlowe (who I liked better than anyone else). He has to stop the 4 Horsemen from coming with a lil help from some fallen friends but doing so means losing the one person he loves the most (insert canned Awwwww). It's an ok book, nothing terrible, nothing great.
This is a short novel, (less than 300 pages) dealing with big themes at a brisk pace that shows a discipline I wish more writers in this genre would share.The plot line is pure graphic novel (a plus from my point of view; I¿m a long time fan of the genre): The Angel of Death is missing, the apocalypse is coming and Remy Chandler, PI and former Seraphim has to find the Angel of Death to prevent the end of the world. The downside (apart from the blood and pain needed to achieve the task) is that success will mean the death of the woman he loves.The book brims with new ideas that capture the imagination and old ideas artfully redrawn that give the book a context. The feel is as Film Noire as the character¿s name suggests and all the better for that.Sniegoski handles the big issues here not by rambling discussions of ethics and philosophy but by bringing us to the basics of humanity: the overwhelming impact of being loved, the inevitability of death, the optimism it takes to keep going in the face of pain and suffering, and the acknowledgement that there are no short cuts when it comes to emotions; knowing grief is coming won¿t protect you from its bite.The linchpin of this book is Remy¿s desire to put aside the angelic nature that he has become ashamed of and embrace the physically fragile but emotionally and spiritually rich existence of humans. This allows us both an insight into the inhumanity of Heaven and the things about our own lives that define us as human.The various non-human entities here are described succinctly and with a clarity that enabled me to see the movie that this book would make.The book truly comes to life in Remy¿s relationship with his young Labrador dog, Marlowe. Anyone who has ever had a Labrador as part of their pack will recognise Marlowe. They will also be jealous of Remy¿s ability actually to hear Marlowe¿s voice rather than having to work out what is being said through gestures and body-language; few things are more humbling than realising that your dog is being patient with you, waiting for you finally to figure out what he has already told you three times.The book would have been stronger in my view if there had been a little more visibility of the back-story between Remy and his wife, but this is a minor nit.I look forward to the next in the series.One last thing: don¿t be put off by the title. It is definitely the worse thing about the book.I suspect there¿s an editor out there somewhere who should be blushing for having insisted on this title and the even worse cover art.I imagine the editor saying: ¿It¿s a wonderful title, honestly. We¿ll maximise the appeal to the target demographic if we have the word Kiss and Apocalypse in the title and let¿s make sure the dog gets on the cover, oh, and give him a sort of Harry Dresden grim-in-a-leather-duster look (yes I know it isn¿t in the text ¿ this is cover art, darling, you don¿t have to be so literal) and remember to give him a big long sword, gotta love the symbolism in that.¿
After the war that had cast the Morningstar down, Heaven had lost its allure to Remiel and so he walks the Earth as one with mankind. We pick up his story when he's in the guise of Remy Chandler, a PI in Boston with a wife and dog to look after. Unfortunately his aged wife is all but dead and seeing out her final moments in a rest home that cares for the terminally ill. Remy and Marlow, the dog, miss her a lot and Marlowe never ceases to ask after her. The ability to talk with any living creature is one part of Remy's angelic powers that he's not suppressed. Remy is on a standard surveillance gig for a suspicious wife who thinks her husband is cheating on her when he hears a gunshot from the motel room the man and his secretary are in. Bursting in he finds the man standing with a smoking pistol over the body of his, now former, secretary. He recognises Remy for what he is and tells him that the Apocalypse is coming then shoots himself. Remy realises that something major is brewing when these two fail to pass over and he discovers that others are failing to cross as well. He finds out why when some of his former brethren tell him that the Angel of Death has gone missing and they want Remy to find him and get him back on the job. Israfil, the Angel of Death, also holds the scrolls that if opened will release the Four Horsemen and bring about the end of the world.This book is the first of an urban fantasy series written by an author who primarily worked in the YA and comic industries before trying his hand here and in some ways that shows. Only the main character is fully fleshed out and those that either aid or hinder his efforts given only minimal airbrushing to satisfy the story requirements. Hopefully some of these will become more integrated into this world as the series develops. Despite the drawbacks this is not a bad opener and is quite a quick read with the opening noirish feel (what'd you expect when the names of Chandler and Marlowe are given to the featured characters) giving way to headlong action prior to a slightly overlong denouement. I'll be picking up the next in the series hoping for some improvement.
I credit it with an interesting premise. But the author came across as inexperienced: both the plot and the character development were blunt and heavy-handed.
I read a short story with Remy Chandler in it and was intrigued by the character. So, I decided to pick up the first book in this series. It was a good book with an interesting premise.Remy used to be Remiel part of the Seraphim host. He decided to suppress his angelic nature and live with humans. Now his lives with his dog Marlowe, his wife (who is in a nursing home) and runs his own PI agency . On a investigation that should have been a straight case of infidelity things go awry when the man being investigated shoots himself in the head and dies, but then regains his pulse. Something weird is going on, people all over the world are getting fatal injuries but not dying. Remy finds out that the Angel of Death is missing. The Seraphim want Remy to investigate and try to find the Angel of Death. Time is definitely not on Remy's side because as hospitals fill with people who should be dead, the four horsemen of the Apocalypse are getting restless. If Remy can't find the Angel of Death it could mean the end of the world.Overall this was a good book. Remy is an interesting character. Sniegoski does a good job of dealing with angelic and demonic nature without getting too weird about all the religion behind it; which I really appreciated. There is a lot of action in this book and the plot moves along quickly. The world being on the edge of destruction really propels the book forward. There is some humor, but more heartbreak in this book than I was expecting. The side characters are well filled out and were interesting to read about. The writing is straight-forward, nothing exceptional but very easy to read and engaging. I also liked that Sniegoski dealt with how these disasters were affecting the whole world and not just Remy's little corner of it.Despite the fact that this is technically a well-written novel I had a bit of trouble getting into the characters. The characters had depth, but they were a little fuzzy around the edges. The action scenes were well-written but didn't really grab me and make me feel like I was there. So, I guess, everything felt a little softer than it should have been and didn't have the hard definition that I expect from an investigative novel. I also expected more witty banter and humor than I got, really most of this novel deals with heartbreak. Remy is a character who deals with love in the toughest forms. The novel wasn't very uplifting (not that I expected it to be), I was almost in tears a number of times.So, I guess this was a paranormal PI novel with heart. Unfortunately I wanted something with a bit more humor and well-defined action. For me this was one of those books that I kind of like, but was kind of disappointed in. I wasn't exactly sure what was missing but I have described it as well as I can above. I do think this could be an excellent series; this book may just be suffering from the first book syndrome a lot of paranormal books seem to suffer from. It was an easy read and engaging; so I will be picking up the next book to read and see how I like that one.
Remy Chandler lives a life he enjoys, with his dog and his wife. But now his wife is dying, age is something he doesn't have to deal with but she does, and there's nothing really he can do about it. He is an angel who decided to investigate what being human was like and found himself living among them. Deathless he can communicate with anything that has sentience and after several centuries he can put his hands to most jobs. He's investigating for a divorce case when the man shoots his lover and then himself and fails to die. What disturbs Remy more is that the man can see him for what he really is.It's then that Remy finds out that the embodyment of death is missing, that he has a mission to find him and that there's rumours of an apocalypse, and his dog Marlowe needs a run in the park!Marlowe steals the show in the book. I liked Remy and a lot of it reminded me of Pratchett and Gaiman's Good Omens, (only without the antichrist) I was quite pleased to see that there were sequels.
Getting the next one!
The premise was interesting, then I began to read the actual story. Love Remy, Marow and Madeline. The build up to the Apocolyps was very well done. I am looking forward to the next installment.
I want to start off by saying, if you are a fan of Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files, I think you may really enjoy this book. I didn’t notice it as first, I was about half way through the book, but I started to think, What does this remind me of? Although there are similarities, this book stands on it’s own feet as a fast-paced Urban Fantasy. Remy Chandler is an angel who chose to come to Earth after witnessing the horrific battle in Heaven that led to Lucifer being sent to Hell. Remy shed his angelic powers (although they are still beneath the surface) and is living among humans. After being here for many years, he fell in love with, Madeline, his wife. And to round out their small pack, they adopted a dog named Marlowe. Remy does use his ability to communicate with any person or animal, and talks with Marlowe. His chats with Marlowe made me like him even more. Thomas Sniegoski must have down a lot of research into the various levels of angels and their philosophy, along with Biblical research. That aspect of the book was pretty new to me, and very interesting to read. The theme of angels being jealous of humankind is not a new story concept, but Sniegoski made it work with all of his extra research and his dynamic writing. The author also does a great job in showing the conflict warring inside of Remy. There are times when he is getting beaten up, but instead of giving in and using his angel powers, he resists. In this respect it is like the Hardboiled Detective novels. The detective gets roughed up, but still keeps on going. There is also the pain he feels with his wife dying, but continues to battle for the rest of humankind instead of just quitting, and spending the remaining time with his wife. While this was very hard for him, it’s a choice he must make. I don’t want to go much more into the plot than what is in the blurb above because I don’t want to give anything away, but Sniegoski set up the secondary characters perfectly for the continuation of the story. We find out who’s Remy’s friends are, and who he has to be wary of. If you enjoy Urban Fantasy and/or Hardboiled Detective novels, I think you may really enjoy this series. I’m looking forward to reading Dancing on the Head of a Pin, book two in the Remy Chandler series.