Where Angels Fear to Tread: A Remy Chandler Novel
by Thomas E. Sniegoski
Review by Drew Bittner
Roc Trade Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451463142
Date: 02 March 2010 List Price $14.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Remy Chandler, private investigator and Seraphim, is on what might be his biggest case yet. Something very old and powerful is loose in the world, and dangerous people are on its trail. If Remy can't find it first, the seven Biblical plagues may seem like a summer's day compared to what's in store for the world...
In Where Angels Fear to Tread, the third Remy Chandler mystery, author Thomas Sniegoski goes old school, literally—the prime mover in this adventure is the biblical Delilah, whose betrayal of Samson left her cursed with immortality and the ability to drain men of their lives and souls with a kiss. For a very long time, she's been chasing something that could end her curse and deliver fantastic power into her hands. Problem is, her hands are precisely the wrong ones.
Bereft by the passing of his wife Madeline less than six months before, Remy is biding his time with mundane casework but worries about his restless, resurgent angelic side. He has kept his Seraphim self under lock and key since averting Lucifer's return to Hell, but it is a close thing; he can feel his control fraying. Confiding his worries to his best friend, police detective Steven Mulvehill, Remy is told that he needs a new anchor to his humanity...in short, he should start dating. Even his dog Marlowe senses his loneliness and is worried for his master.
Which is when a truly weird case falls into his lap. Young mother Deryn York comes to Remy for help finding her autistic daughter, Zoe. Her father kidnapped the girl from the hospital where she was undergoing tests; now Deryn has no idea where they could be. The weird part is, Zoe predicted her own kidnapping in a series of drawings -- and she left her mother Remy's address and phone number for help...along with a picture of Remy as an angel.
Following a trail of clues, Remy comes to realize that Zoe is much more than she seems, and that many want what she has. In a series of escalating challenges and threats, Remy comes up against his biggest fears--and biggest hopes, as well--all before a climactic showdown with Delilah for the life of a little girl.
Angels is without question Sniegoski's best installment of this series to date. Wrestling with his angelic nature and the need for keeping his humanity has never been so clearly and emotionally articulated; truly, we see in this book exactly why he needs both his human and Seraphim halves.
We're also treated to a terrific villainess in Delilah, whose selfish nature drives her to monstrous cruelty. She justifies her vicious rampage by reflecting on the love she has known and lost, a context that gives readers a hint as to who she might have been, but when it comes down to it, she's a monster. Readers will almost certainly appreciate the irony of her final fate.
Lastly, Sniegoski has created a great mother-daughter duo in Deryn and Zoe. Raising a "special needs" daughter is a tremendous challenge, and Deryn represents a young mother who not only tries but succeeds in loving her girl, even when Zoe cannot reciprocate. It's a very emotional story arc Sniegoski has created here, with a genuinely moving payoff.
Readers of the series will be delighted with this book but others who like urban fantasy/mystery will enjoy it just as much.