A Terrible Fall of Angels by Laurell K. Hamilton

Detective Zaniel Havelock stars in this brand new paranormal series by Laurell K. Hamilton. Trained from a young age at the College of Angels, Zaniel “Havoc” Havelock is a former Angel speaker turned detective for the Metaphysical Coordination Unit.

He’s called to a murder investigation when Angel feathers are left as evidence at the gruesome scene. Even in the world of the paranormal, Havoc can tell that something is off. It seems that the feathers were left on purpose. So, what are the Angels trying to tell this former Angel speaker?

Havoc continues his investigations as a string of violent rapes and murders plaques the city. As an expert in the supernatural, he knows that if there are Angels then there must demons. Can he catch this surprisingly unique and powerful killer? Is it really a demon after all, or something more human?

Meanwhile, Havoc attempts to reconcile with his separated wife while living in his small new apartment. He reconnects with childhood friends, who each represent a different path from the College of Angels. One excelled and ranks highly among her order, the second has been driven mad by the Angels themselves and kicked out of the College. I’m hoping we learn more about each of these characters in future books because they provide an excellent glimpse into two lives that Havoc may have had.

The other members of the Metaphysical Coordination Unit display various talents, just like Detective Havelock. There’s quite the cast of supernatural powers and beings that make for unexpected twists and turns.

Detective Havoc proves he has some “extra” skills that make him a unique Angel speaker, but then nearly every supernatural person introduced has some “special” skill as well, so it dilutes the hero’s value. When everyone is special, no one is special. I’d like to see a bit more to make our main character stand out and be the center of attention in his own book series.

Although a demon is our main bad guy, the book doesn’t read as too gory or violent. There are a few scenes describing blood, violence, and torture, but they don’t come across strongly.

Hamilton spends a lot of time explaining the rules of the paranormal. I understand that this is the first in a planned series, so she only has to explain these rules once, but it really bogs down this first book. The complexities are easy enough to understand, but seem like data-dumping.

“The demon couldn’t pass the wards, but bullets could.”

Laurell K. Hamilton, A Terrible Fall of Angels

My favorite parts include the battles with the demon. I’m a sucker for action and that’s what drew me in–the promise of police work mixed with the paranormal. I also enjoyed the wide cast of other supernatural people on the side of the good guys. The overwhelming majority of the magic and mystic was fighting for the good of mankind.

The plot was a bit messy at times and we get derailed by some side plots. There’s maybe a bit too much time spent on Havoc’s relationship with his wife that don’t really build him up as a character. I think this time could have been better used to dig deeper into the bad guy’s story or to show some investigative police work.

I found it interesting how much time was spent on the meaning of names. Any characters that entered the College of Angels as children left behind their human names and are given angelic names. I’m hoping Hamilton plays more with the meaning of each name and the personal identity the characters associate with their names. I’ll even give a bit of credit for the “Havoc” nickname deriving from Havelock during his military days.

Havoc is brave, courageous, and intelligent. He runs towards the fight and is persistent in his pursuit of evil so he’s the perfect paranormal detective. But he’s also horny and easily distracted by all manner of women. Even though he’s married with a three-year-old, he sure does seem to spend a lot of time noticing and flirting with women while on the job. Including immediately after a demon attack and while waiting for a demon to attack his next victim. Well, every character has to have at least some flaws.

If you’re a fan of the TV series “Supernatural” starring Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, and Misha Collins then this is the book series for you. I highly recommend this to readers that enjoy paranormal worlds with magic and mythology.

Author Laurell K. Hamilton is best known for her Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series, now comprising 29 volumes. She does an excellent job setting up the beginning of her new series and I’m excited for more!

I thought A Terrible Fall of Angels was uniquely interesting and a fast read. Although there are a lot of new paranormal rules, the book reads smoothly and was enjoyable.

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