As a lawyer, James Kimmel Jr. spent a lot of time over many years worrying about how to get his clients justice. Eventually, though, he began to feel that his life in law was in some ways antithetical to his faith. Out of this conviction came first his nonfiction book of spiritual and legal wisdom, Suing for Peace. He further explores the connection between God and justice in his new novel, The Trial of Fallen Angels.
Brek Cuttler was a happily married successful lawyer with a baby girl — "was" being the operative word. She remembers talking to her husband, going to work, picking up her baby from day care, and stopping at the store. There’s nothing after that until she wakes up in Shemaya Station, alone and covered in blood. Brek is now a denizen of the afterlife.
As someone who was devoted to justice while alive, she has now been selected to be a presenter in Shemaya. As a presenter, Brek will be in charge of presenting souls before God, in order that justice may be done. Presenters are tasked with absorbing a soul’s entire being and deciding how to organize that life for viewing by God, the ultimate judge. Something about the way souls are presented doesn’t sit right with Brek, though. God always seems to cut off the presenter before the positives of the life can be shown.
The Trial of Fallen Angels alternates between Brek’s time in Shemaya and various parts of her life on earth. What she most wants to remember, the time between her stop at the store with her daughter and her death, is an inaccessible memory. Until, that is, she meets the first soul she has been assigned to present.
For all that it takes place in heaven, The Trial of Fallen Angels is by and large not explicitly religious. Although there are some references to biblical figures, it would be more appropriately described as spiritual. More than that, though, it is a novel about love, justice, forgiveness, and all the ways these things do or do not intersect.
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