By Christopher Leibig
Psychic attorney Samson Young returns to fight for justice on behalf of a group of exiled angels. But before he gets to trial, he must clear the human hurdles of corrupt billionaires and Hungarian mobsters. Young (whose literary forefather is Andy McGee, the dad in Stephen King’s Firestarter) can subtly implant his thoughts into the minds of others. Unlike McGee, Young can peek around inside a person’s mind and see what they’re hiding — a useful skill for an attorney.
Author Christopher Leibig ushers readers into a mystical world of angels and demons by packing his novel with legit legal proceedings and factual religious history. Clearly, Leibig knows the nuts-and-bolts of both law and religious dogma, and uses both to weave an intricate tale of fallen angels, missing mothers, and spiritual redemption. Like his earlier title, Almost Mortal, ALMOST DAMNED is a theological legal thriller, a strange hybrid of Andrew Vachss and John Grisham, with a topping of Dan Brown. Bennett County, Virginia offers a deceptively bucolic backdrop for the story and engaging prose and descriptive language lend authenticity to Young’s psychic journey (ie “Suffering and hate smell like a monkey cage” and the scent of flowers “follows a happy woman,” while safe places “smell like lemons”). Preparations for a rape trial and an international wire-fraud investigation lead Sam to uncover some uncomfortable truths about himself and his mysterious mother…and the ancient Jewish origins of the scapegoat (literally, a goat heaped with symbolic sin and sent off into the wilderness).
Young puts God’s high counsel — Raphael, Michael, Gabriel, Sarakiel, and Uriel — on trial for crimes against a league of fallen angels. While the final legal showdown is wordy, it works. A literal devil in disguise gets his plans foiled Perry Mason-style by Young while the curse of immortality gets a full forensic workup. Angels and angel/human hybrids are “homozygotic at seventeen loci,” lab-speak for “they’re not human.” They can’t be killed, even though some try, over and over again. Life is hard, but living forever is even more difficult. In Leibig’s capable hands, it is a living hell.
Christopher Leibig’s ALMOST DAMNED is an engaging and page-turning theological legal thriller that will appeal to fans of The Da Vinci Code and courtroom dramas alike.
~Rob Errera for IndieReader