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Kiss Before the Apocalypse (Remy Chandler Novels) [Paperback]

Thomas E. Sniegoski
2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 8.35 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Product details

  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Roc (1 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 045146205X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451462053
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 14 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,374,433 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
It was an unusually warm mid-September day in Boston. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Much Kissing - or Joy 31 Jan 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found this book a bit of a slog.It is written in the third person, so the reader is unable to empathise totally with Remy, the main character, who seems to have left Paradise in disgust afer the War in Heaven, rather than any desire to live with humans. Many of the other characters seem to have been just sketched in, and may develop in further novels There is no fire or joy at all...Although the story is interesting,I couldn't care enough about anyone in it, even Marlowe the labrador, to worry about them, or wonder what comes next.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes a seraph's gotta do... 21 May 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Remy Chandler is a Boston-dwelling private eye, with a black labrador named Marlowe, and a current case tailing an unfaithful husband - all in all fairly typical fare. Everything changes, however, when the man shoots his lover, and then himself, but fails to die, catapaulting Remy into a far more important case, and one which reunites him with kindred he thought he had left behind long ago, for Remy Chandler is really Remiel, one of the seraphim, the greatest of God's angels, who abandoned Heaven in guilt and disgust after fighting, and killing, his brethren in the war against Lucifer, and has been wandering the Earth in human form ever since. Soon, Remy is on the hunt for the missing Angel of Death, and the five scrolls in his possession that will permit the unleashing of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and bring about the end of the world.

Having an angel - not one who has Fallen, but who has voluntarily left Heaven - as a protagonist is the twist in Sniegoski's new series, which he populates with other beings from Biblical tales and Angelography. This is an interesting new theme in urban fantasy, if not an entirely original one (one only has to think of the 1995 movie 'The Prophecy', for example, which has many of the same ideas about angelic conflict and jealousy of humanity). Remy/Remuel makes an appealingly conflicted hero, struggling to be true to his humanity, to be part of the mortal world, while in reality being nothing of the kind, and his relationship with his failing human wife, and pet dog, to whom he can speak, that being one of his angelic powers, lends him a touching air of vulnerabilty.
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1.0 out of 5 stars The Apocalypse has never seemed so dull! 12 Oct 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback
What happens when an angel of the lord settles on earth and starts earning a living as a private investigator? Unfortunately not a lot.

The concept behind this story in an interesting one but in no way does the plot live up to the pitch. The author breaks one of the cardinal rules of writing ; SHOW dont TELL!! The reader is dictated everything. There are no instances of showing and the reader is treated as an idiot most of the time by having things spelled out for them. For example 'Francis dropped to his knees, his head beginning to swim. Losing as much blood as he had usually had that sort of effect.' Really?! I'm so glad I have been enlightened to something so obvious.

After having the read the book I had very little idea of what any of the characters looked like. There was very little that defined them as being more than names on a page. There was no character development; Mulvehill in particular was a completely wasted character. He had no relevance to anything in the plot. The author clearly thinks that character development means repeatedly hammering his readers over the head with Remy's angst, moaning on and on about how he can't forget what he really is. Enough already! I get it. You can't forget you're an angel - STOP TELLING ME!

The characters were cardboard cut-outs, plodding through a weak, under-developed plot. Everyone is searching for the five scrolls that if opened will summon the horsemen to bring on the apocalypse. You'd think there'd be some mystery and drama involved in finding these scrolls, but no. Remy finds them very easily, thus wasting a hige opportunity to inject some excitement into the flat narrative. The supposed 'twists' and 'revelations' at the climax were neither surprising nor interesting, just...blah.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  57 reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes a seraph's gotta do... 4 Jun 2009
By T. McAuley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Remy Chandler is a Boston-dwelling private eye, with a black labrador named Marlowe, and a current case tailing an unfaithful husband - all in all fairly typical fare. Everything changes, however, when the man shoots his lover, and then himself, but fails to die, catapaulting Remy into a far more important case, and one which reunites him with kindred he thought he had left behind long ago, for Remy Chandler is really Remiel, one of the seraphim, the greatest of God's angels, who abandoned Heaven in guilt and disgust after fighting, and killing, his brethren in the war against Lucifer, and has been wandering the Earth in human form ever since. Soon, Remy is on the hunt for the missing Angel of Death, and the five scrolls in his possession that will permit the unleashing of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and bring about the end of the world.

Having an angel - not one who has Fallen, but who has voluntarily left Heaven - as a protagonist is the twist in Sniegoski's new series, which he populates with other beings from Biblical tales and Angelography. This is an interesting new theme in urban fantasy, if not an entirely original one (one only has to think of the 1995 movie 'The Prophecy', for example, which has many of the same ideas about angelic conflict and jealousy of humanity). Remy/Remiel makes an appealingly conflicted hero, struggling to be true to his humanity, to be part of the mortal world, while in reality being nothing of the kind, and his relationship with his failing human wife, and pet dog, to whom he can speak, that being one of his angelic powers, lends him a touching air of vulnerabilty. Although Sniegoski doesn't have the skill with description of, say, Jim Butcher, the plot moves along at a fair rate and, the occasional flashbacks to the war in Heaven, and Remiel's past on Earth, before becoming Remy, make interesting reading.I can only hope that we see more of these in the sequel, Dancing on the Head of a Pin: A Remy Chandler Novel, which I'll definitely be giving a go.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spurning Heaven & seeking redemption in being human 19 Jun 2008
By H. Bala - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Are there ever enough novels in the urban fantasy field? Novelist Thomas E. Sniegoski would like to think: no. In other books and by other writers, we've already been treated to witches, wizards, vampires, werewolves, and elves making a living in these contemporary times, rubbing elbows with us just plain folks. So I think it's kinda neat that we hear from the heavenly hosts.

Sniegoski introduces Remiel, a mighty warrior angel of the Seraphim, who long ago participated in the bloody celestial war waged between the armies of God and of Lucifer Morningstar. Sickened by the resulting carnage and destruction, Remiel turned his back on Heaven. Cut to unmentionable years later, to the present, where Remiel now walks around in human guise as Remy Chandler, a Boston private eye. He's been content the past few decades, having met and married the wonderful Madeline, who is privy to all his secrets. But Madeline is only human, and, as such, only has a finite span on earth. Madeline today is old and wasting away from cancer in her nursing home. Remy sorrowly counts down the days. Meanwhile, the shamus business keeps him occupied.

Some possible plot SPOILERS now.

His latest gig is mundane enough, spying on a hubbie suspected of that old thing. Until the case abruptly escalates into a murder-suicide. But when the two corpses keep on breathing, Remy begins to get that uneasy feeling. Soon, word spreads of people around the globe who should now be dead but who refuse to give up the ghost. Shortly after, Remy is visited by his old brethren, the Seraphim, who task him with tracking down Israfil, the Angel of Death. Israfil, it seems, had gone missing and, worse, had shed his responsibilites. Souls are not being taken. Souls who should've passed on are agonizingly locked in their mortal coils. Including Remy's wife, Madeline. Remy takes the case.

There are also five scrolls missing, scrolls which, if unfurled, grant the Four Horsemen of Apocalypse license to cut loose and usher in the end of days. Naturally, there are any number of supernatural creatures who desire this calamity. The Grigori, for instance, are a heavenly host originally charged with safeguarding humanity's development (a job they rather thorougly bollocksed). As punishment, the Grigori were exiled on Earth, their wings torn off. Might the Apocalypse, they wonder, be a quicker way to reconcile with the Almighty? Then there is the Black Choir, angels who played both sides of the Conflict and whom neither God nor the Morningstar wants. The Angel of Death himself has an ulterior motive. Demons and fallen angels, trusted friends and sworn enemies, Remy has to sift thru his list of suspects, and quickly. Because the Four Horsemen have just manifested on Earth. Not a banner day for humanity.

End SPOILERS.

A KISS BEFORE THE APOCALYPSE is yet another dark and gritty urban fantasy. But, more to the point, it's another very good dark and gritty urban fantasy. It's fast-paced and action packed enough for the bloody minded, but with a core of melancholy and a humanity to lend it some gravitas and added nuance. Remy Chandler is an intriguing character, striving so hard to be human, to feel the depths of emotions which only a mortal can feel. To do this, he's ever struggling to deny his powerful heavenly aspect. But as the reader might've guessed, it'll be a losing battle as Remy must unleash his true self to save the world.

Even more interesting is his sweet, heartbreaking relationship with his dying wife, whom he has to pass off as his mother to her caregivers. Then, there's Remy's awesome Labrador, Marlowe. Remy's powers include being able to communicate with animals, and, trust me, Remy's touching conversations with his innocent dog will make you fall in love with Marlowe. Several flashback passages flesh out these three even more. I really like the bit telling of how Marlowe, as a puppy, first met Remy.

Remy does spend more time taking in beatdowns rather than dispensing them (again, he's very reluctant to let out his inner halo). Like any good fiction detective, he takes a good licking and keeps on pressing. That just might be the definiton of hard-boiled. What makes this book a really gratifying read, though, is that flavor of heartache and bittersweet angst. For the grief he feels, Remy reduces himself to a human level, but elevates himself in the reader's eyes. Early in the pages, we know that Remy's primary source of happiness is about to be wrenched away from him. It's not his angelic powers which makes me root for him; rather, it's how he deals with this impending loss. I hope Sniegoski comes out with a sequel soon.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting premise, but inconsistent powers drive me nuts 7 Aug 2010
By Eric - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
The premise is fun. I will give it that. And I don't expect amazing writing from this sort of quick one-night read, so I wasn't disappointed by the extremely on-the-nose dialog, lack of scene-settings details, or lack of crucial backstory details. Those things would have been important in convincing me to read the SECOND book, but they wouldn't have stopped me from reading the first book halfway through.

But stop I did... I just went to sleep early, because that was less annoying than reading. You see, at about a quarter of the way through the book, we learn that he can turn invisible and plant hypnotic suggestions into people. And a bit later it turns out he can create holy swords out of any metal blade, which he uses to kill a horrific demonic creature. And then at about 65% in, at the pivoting scene of the story, he is attacked by ANGRY RHESUS MONKEYS (I kid you not) and these defeat him where demons couldn't. He is so overwhelmed that the only way he can survive is to tap into his primal angelic essence, which makes him cry. Well, if this moron had just remembered his ability to create energy blades, turn invisible, or plant hypnotic suggestions, he wouldn't have been IN this mess in the first place!

In the above example, I tried to use something that is not a big spoiler. But rest assured that this basic problem of "I am a god-like being, and the problems of this book would be trivial for me to solve, but for reasons that the reader doesn't really understand, I am fighting with one hand behind my back, even though the whole WORLD is on the line" runs through it.

I'll see if I pick it up to finish it tonight, but I doubt it.
20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars heartwrenching beautiful urban fantasy 6 May 2008
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
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
15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Angels, dogs, and dying wives 17 Feb 2009
By Ithlilian - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The end of the world is coming, and only one man/angel can stop it. Remy is an angel who chooses to live on earth as a human private investigator. At the beginning of the story he is investigating an unfaithful spouse and hears gun shots. Quickly, he runs up to see what is happening, not really thinking about the danger. He walks in on a dead body and a crazed husband who shoots himself. But wait, they aren't really dead, and it turns out the husband was seeing visions of the end of the world. As the jacket says, the angel of death is missing, trapping souls here on earth, unable to move on. It's up to Remy to find the angel of death and set everything right before the world ends.

There is the summary of the book, here are my thoughts. The plot sure does sound interesting, but it falls short in my opinion. Without going into spoilers I can't say more, but the plot is very straightforward with no twists, no turns, no surprises. The constant mention of Remy's dying wife doesn't add much to my enjoyment either. Actually, when it came down to the end with the final standoff, I found my self skipping details, I wasn't very interested at that point. The story of the angel of death was interesting and I enjoyed Remy's conversations with his dog, but not much else. I just couldn't get into this story. The characters seemed boring and distant, and I didn't really care much what happened to any of them. If the above summary appeals to you though, by all means you should read this book. I wish I enjoyed it more than I did, something about it just didn't connect with me in any way.
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