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Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest honest review.

Release Date: August 17th, 2021

560 Pages

Synopsis: Angels walk among us, but so do other unearthly beings in this brand new series by #1 New York Times Bestselling author Laurell K. Hamilton.

Meet Detective Zaniel Havelock, a man with the special ability to communicate directly with angels. A former trained Angel speaker, he devoted his life to serving both the celestial beings and his fellow humans with his gift, but a terrible betrayal compelled him to leave that life behind. Now he’s a cop who is still working on the side of angels. But where there are angels, there are also demons. There’s no question that there’s evil at work when he’s called in to examine the murder scene of a college student—but is it just the evil that one human being can do to another, or is it something more? When demonic possession is a possibility, even angelic protection can only go so far. The race is on to stop a killer before he finds his next victim, as Zaniel is forced to confront his own very personal demons, and the past he never truly left behind.

The first in a new series from the author of the Anita Blake and Merry Gentry series. (Goodreads)

Way back in 1993 a friend recommended the first Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter book, Guilty Pleasures, and I was immediately hooked. That is until several books later when the series grew more and more into soft porn featuring way too many orgies, which turned me off completely. I haven’t been tempted to pick up a Laurell K. Hamilton book for years, but then I began hearing some rumors about this new series she was working on about angels, and even better, early reviews were overwhelmingly positive. So, I took a deep breath, contacted the publisher and requested an eARC, and I’m thrilled to say after reading A Terrible Fall of Angels that LKH is BACK!

My main critique concerns the massive amount of information and world building relayed here, especially in the first half of the book. Added into this heady mix is the introduction to a large cast of characters. Needless to say it slows things down a little as you acclimate yourself to a world with deities, angels, demons, and other magical and supernatural creatures. But it’s worth reading through everything, because in my opinion, this storyline and its disparate cast of characters are better than even the early Anita Blake books. Zaniel is a fabulous hero, who as a creation of Hamilton is of course a kick-ass gorgeous tough guy, but he’s got a sweet vulnerable side as well. While he’s dealing with angels and demons, etc… he’s also trying to save his marriage and reunite with his estranged wife Reggie and three-year-old son. Although some of Zaniel’s background is revealed, including a little of his childhood in the cultish College of Angels and what caused him to leave it, I’m looking forward to learning even more in subsequent novels. The same is true of all the characters. There are so many of them and while we get a brief introduction to each and their backgrounds (Zaniel’s lieutenant is a voodoo priest, another character is a wiccan priestess and so on), I’m craving more.

The main focus of this first book though is setting up this fantastical world and balancing that with an intriguing, exciting, and at times, somewhat gruesome mystery involving a demon serial killer. Despite some of the less action-filled parts of the book, I was completely enthralled and found myself increasingly reluctant to pull myself away when real life intruded. Despite it being well over 500 pages, I easily finished this in two days and was a tad disappointed when I came to the end. I am excitedly looking forward to the second book.

For readers who, like me, gave up on Hamilton due to the overwhelming sexcapades that eclipsed everything else in her books, I urge you to give her another chance and pick up A Terrible Fall of Angels. For anyone new to her storytelling, this is a wonderful and imaginative introduction to a world filled with wondrous beings, where it’s not always discernible exactly which side is the right one. I will be shocked if this doesn’t make it to the top of the bestseller lists.