July 15th, 2008

wings, believe

A Kiss Before the Apocalypse by Thomas E. Sniegoski


"The most inventive novel you'll buy this year." - Christopher Golden

Book Summary

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, he chose to renounce heaven and live on Earth. He's found a place among us ordinary humans; 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.

And only Remy Chandler, formerly known as the angel Remiel, can stop it.

My Review

If you like reading about hard-boiled detectives and are prepared to enter a battle of epic proportions, get ready to kiss this book, because you will love A Kiss Before the Apocalypse. In this novel, Thomas E. Sniegoski successfully blends mystery and fantasy into a taut, well-paced story. This crossover novel will appeal to both adults and teens, especially those who enjoyed The Fallen, Sniegoski's quartet of novels which also had an angelic touch.

Remy was - is - an angel. He didn't fall to Earth accidentally; this is not a story of redemption. Instead, Remy has chosen to become human - or as close to it as he can, in his condition - and live a life on Earth. As a detective, he investigates crimes that others may turn away or write off, crimes with unexplained debris and unbelievable elements, crimes that don't seem natural - because they are supernatural.

His most recent case is a doozy. A pair of adults attempt to commit suicide, but they remain alive. Barely so, but there they are, hospitalized, in pain, unable to die. As more and more almost-deaths occur, with all different circumstances, Remy realizes he must track down an old acquaintance: the Angel of Death.

As a film noir aficionado, I love a good detective story, and that's what I got - with wings and immortality. I really loved Sniegoski's development of the story and his use of flashbacks to reveal more of Remy's past. I especially enjoyed Marlowe, as well as some other characters and elements I don't want to reveal here so I don't spoil other readers. Suffice to say there are some unexpected twists in the story, and the climax is amazing.

Those looking for love will find it in scenes between Remy and his wife, who is now elderly and ill and in a care facility. Since Remy is immortal and has never aged, he looks much older than his wife and must pretend she is his mother. Their love has never diminished, but This side-plot, as well as scenes between Remy and his loyal dog Marlowe, will tug at your heartstrings.

If you have a soft spot in your heart for pets, especially dogs, you will fall head-over-heels for Marlowe. As an angel, Remy can communicate with intelligent creatures, so Marlowe's barks are translated easily, expressing his desires for food and play. His thoughts are sometimes more serious, especially when he's scared or worried, wondering when the female will return to the pack, not quite understanding why she's gone away to the hospital. He's like a little kid, inquisitive one moment, frightened the next, then happy-go-lucky again.

I hope this book is the start of a full series of novels. Sniegoski has also written a Remy novella which is coming out in an anthology called Mean Streets, and I can't wait to read it!

Wings and Websites

Are you ready to kiss and tell? Sniegoski and I invite you to drop by the brand-spankin' new website for A Kiss Before the Apocalypse - just leave your swords at the door, please.

A Kiss Before the Apocalypse was Sniegoski's first book about Remy Chandler. Dancing on the Head of a Pin was the second; Where Angels Fear to Tread was the third. Sniegoski is currently working the fourth full-length novel in the line. I recommend reading the books in order.

If you dig this series, you'll also enjoy Sniegoski's series The Fallen.

A Kiss Before the Apocalypse by Thomas E. Sniegoski is on my Best Books of 2008 list. I also recommended this book at GuysLitWire.

I included this book in my SparkNotes Literature feature article entitled Summer Teen Fiction Musts.

Remy also appears in a short story, Noah's Orphans, in the anthology MEAN STREETS. On the timeline, that story takes place between the first two books.