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The Trial of Fallen Angels Hardcover – November 8, 2012

4 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“In a world seething with anger in search of so-called justice, James Kimmel, Jr., spins a heartbreaking story that delivers a rebuke with courage, intelligence, and elegant prose.”    —Bryan Gruley, author of The Skeleton Box

"In his first novel, Kimmel has created a thrilling and fantastic world, a heady combination of the movie What Dreams May Come, John Grisham’s best work, and Dante’s Divine Comedy. Sometimes dreamily lyrical and sometimes harshly realistic, Kimmel’s authorial voice is undeniably compelling. Raw, tender, and intelligent, The Trial of Fallen Angels is a fascinating glimpse into the judgment of lost souls and recovered memories." --Booklist (starred review)

"Kimmel pays readers a supreme compliment here by inviting them to take seriously the theological question of the Last Judgment.... An intriguing, intricate ,and metaphysical novel—not your typical fare." --Kirkus Reviews

"This powerful debut from lawyer Kimmel ... explores a myriad of spiritual concepts expressed in various religions. He deftly unveils each new charactyer and cleverly balances the positive and negative aspects of their lives. Building upon the memories of multiple generations, Kimmel has written a storring spiritual thriller" --Library Journal

About the Author

James Kimmel, Jr., received a doctorate in jurisprudence from the University of Pennsylvania and is a lawyer who focuses on the intersection of law and spirituality. This is his first novel.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Adult HC/TR; First Edition edition (November 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039915969X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399159695
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,403,974 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Beatles, among many others, said it many years ago in their hit song...that "love is all we need," and James Kimmel, Jr., in his lovely book, "The Trial of Fallen Angels," explores this theme through a spiritual journey on which he takes his reader and his memorable characters through a story that does what "The Shack" some years back attempted to do in what this reviewer thought was a heavy and contrived manner...but Kimmel does it so much better! You won't be bored; you won't feel the author is hitting you over the head in an attempt to drive his message home. Instead he introduces us to this incredible cast of characters, in particular Brek Abigail Cuttler, once a young lawyer, mother, wife, daughter, friend and victim. Before writing this brief review, I sent an e-mail to Mr. Kimmel, as I do frequently when finished reading a book that has moved or entertained me; I had the nicest of responses from Mr. Kimmel. Now as I reread that e-mail while also putting this Amazon Vine review together, I'm wondering if I'm up to being "that bold first explorer of a new land, reporting back what (I) have seen and offering encouragement or warning to those who would follow." Well, encouragement, yes; warning? No. Read this book from cover to cover. It's fascinating! Brek, as circumstances play out, becomes an eventual presenter in Shemaya; and yet, as she watches other presenters representing their clients, Brek becomes frustrated with stories not playing out in full. What frustrates is that she knows there is so much more of a client's life to play out in determing the eventual "reality" for that client, but that full story is seldom revealed, is seldom allowed. As in a courtroom...is it fair to convict without having all of the facts?Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
The Trial of Fallen Angels is James Kimmel Jr.'s first fiction book.

Brek Cuttler awakes in a train station. She's sitting on a bench in her favourite 'power lawyer' suit. The station is deserted. Her suit is covered in blood. She is sure she is dreaming when a man comes along and welcomes her to Shemaya. She struggles to remember who she is and what she was doing before she arrived at this station. Inevitability, she discover that the man Luas is right - she is dead. And she has a job to do in Shemaya....

"You don't think God would allow souls to face the Final Judgment alone, do you? Even murderers on earth have a lawyer to represent them, and the outcomes of those trials are only temporary. The stakes are higher here, dear. All of eternity."

As Brek begins presenting the memories of the dead, she begins to realize that the acts and events of each person have also played a part in her own life and are part of her own final choice and presentation.

Kimmel explores the themes of justice and forgiveness in The Trial of Fallen Angels with a keen eye and much thought. Kimmel has presented his philosophical viewpoints cloaked in a mystery. When this book was pitched to me for review, I wasn't fully aware of how much emphasis was placed on spirituality. I felt that the characters were used only a vehicle to carry the message, so I never really bought into Brek. As God is the Judge, this is somewhat limiting for believers of other faiths or non believers, although I do think Kimmel's views are extremely intriguing and applicable to anyone.

So while it was an interesting read, I did find it slow in parts and ended up skimming by the end to get to the conclusion.

Kimmell "is a lawyer and advocate who focuses on the intersections of law and spirituality and law and psychology."

The Trial of Fallen Angels would be an excellent selection for a book club, sure to engender lots of discussion.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I didn't really know what to expect from this novel - from the premise it sounded like a mixture of fantasy and mystery. And even now, after finishing it, categorizing it into a genre still proves rather difficult. Kimmel explores a lot of big themes here in his fictional debut - justice, forgiveness, truth, good, evil and the interconnected nature of humanity. The book deals with religion, too, but in a vague and rather non-specific Christian way (though Judaism and Islamic faiths also play a part). This rather undefined spiritual aspect seems to be Kimmel's attempts to avoid his fantastical Shemaya from offending any readers and to appeal to as many different religions as possible.

The story itself that these issues are wrapped around is that of thirty-year-old Brek Abigail Cuttler. This young lawyer/wife/mother arrives abruptly at an abandoned train platform and her afterlife unravels from there. Slowly, Brek comes to term with all the histories and lives of others that led not only to her own life, but to her untimely death. Kimmel throws in a lot of connections (but your disbelief should already be suspended from the very premise), leading to many surprises as the complete story unfolds. A surprising amount of World War II history is included throughout the novel, too.

Kimmel's prose describes a vast and ever-shifting setting his Shemaya (there's even a visit to Tara!), along with the intimate details of the lives of many characters. The clear writing prevents confusion and allows readers to be swept along with Brek's journey. It is a tragic story, but beautiful and completely captivating. Kimmel captures Brek's point-of-view very convincingly and manages to evoke plenty of empathy for nearly all of the characters introduced. It is a strange and wonderful novel and one that completely took me by surprise. I certainly hope Kimmel continues on as a writer of fiction - I am very curious to see what he writes next!
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