09 November 2012

Imprint Friday: The Trial of Fallen Angels by James Kimmel Jr.

Welcome to Imprint Friday and today's featured imprint: Amy Einhorn Books. Stop by each week to be introduced to a must-read title from one of my favorite imprints. I know you'll be adding many of these books to your wish list.

Do you ever wonder if you'll ever really be accountable for all your actions--big and small, good and bad--to some higher power? If so, you've probably imagined some version of standing at the pearly gates arguing your case to St. Peter (details depend on your religious beliefs). In James Kimmel Jr.'s The Trial of Fallen Angels, Brek Cuttler is faced with a completely different scenario.

Here's the publisher's summary:
Brek Cuttler has it all: a husband she loves, a daughter she adores, a successful law practice. And then one day everything she has ever known disappears. Brek finds herself standing on a deserted train platform, covered in blood. As she tries to comprehend what is happening to her, a man from her past approaches and explains that she has been chosen to join the elite team of lawyers charged with prosecuting and defending souls at the Final Judgment.

As Brek struggles to find her way back to her husband and daughter, she will discover that her first client holds the shocking secret of her fate. That seemingly disparate events during her life have conspired to bring her to a single moment in time that will determine her eternity. And that every act of kindness and cruelty sets in motion things beyond our wildest imaginations.
Let me be honest here. All I really want to say about The Trial of Fallen Angels is this: I loved it. I read the novel before I read the summary and before I knew the first thing about it. So let me reassure some of you from the start. This isn't a religious/Christian book, this isn't an inspirational story, and Kimmel isn't pushing a personal spiritual agenda.

The story of Brek Cuttler's afterlife is part mystery and part philosophy and can be read on either level or both. We know only what Brek knows, and at first that's not much. For Brek, death temporarily blocks her memory, especially of the last few hours of life, and restores it only in bits. Eventually, she is able to piece everything together to see a broader picture of the interconnected events and acts that ultimately set her fate. Only when she sees the entire web, through time and place, can Brek understand what happened to her and why.

The other aspect of the novel has to do with the trials, the lawyers, the defendants, and the judges. This is the meat of The Trial of Fallen Angels and the part that will spark conversations in book clubs and among readers. What can I say that won't lead you or give away the crux? I'll put it this way. It's all about making a choice. You'll wonder if there is a right or wrong option, you'll imagine what you'd do in Brek's place, and you'll think about whether Kimmel's vision matches your own. I found similarities to a particular question Shakespeare asked; others may find a more strictly religious interpretation.

I don't want to leave you with the idea that The Trial of Fallen Angels is heavy with sadness, deep intellectual thought, or no plot. In fact, Kimmel teases us with hints of Brek's fate both in life and in death. His descriptions of the central Pennsylvania landscape and way of life are spot on. And the action scenes have you reading as fast as you can. Those who don't want to dwell on questions of fate or the afterlife can read the novel as a unique and engaging story. This was my principal approach to the story.

I have a feeling The Trial of Fallen Angels will provoke strong feelings in readers, depending on individual expectations and beliefs.

Amy Einhorn Books is a featured imprint on Beth Fish Reads. For more information about the imprint, please read Amy Einhorn's open letter posted here on January 25, 2010, or click the Amy Einhorn tab below my banner photo. To join the Amy Einhorn Books Reading Challenge, click the link.

Buy The Trial of Fallen Angels at an Indie or at a bookstore near you. (Link leads to an affiliate program.)
Published by Putnam
/ Amy Einhorn Books, November 2012
ISBN-13: 9780399159695

Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy).

8 comments:

Jenn's Bookshelves 11/9/12, 9:16 AM  

I meant to start this one last week but as I'm sure you can understand, life happened. I'm hoping to start it over the weekend!

Anita 11/9/12, 10:04 AM  

I've seen this and it sounds interesting. Maybe next year.

Teresa 11/9/12, 10:22 AM  

I want to read this book!

Eleanor Brown 11/9/12, 2:14 PM  

This sounds SO good. Onto the TBR list it goes!

Laurie C 11/10/12, 7:43 AM  

Sounds great! I don't think I would have been attracted to it without your review. You definitely talked me into it!

Jenners 11/10/12, 8:39 PM  

I've fallen for my fair share of Amy Einhorn books and this sounds awesome!

Julie P. 11/11/12, 7:45 PM  

Well it's Amy Einhorn, so....

I just started it too!

Daryl 11/12/12, 8:17 AM  

Just finished book 1 of FallenAngel series so this is a sort of odd coincidence .. adding it to the Ereader .. thanks!

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