This rare US appearance for Kilworth (A Theater of Timesmiths, 1985)—he has a lengthy science fiction/fantasy track record in his native England, where Angel was first published in 1993—is set in San Francisco and boasts a rather colorless pair of detectives in pursuit of a pyromaniac angel. As the tally of suspicious fires reaches an appalling and inexplicable high, detective Dave Peters (known as Mother Teresa) loses his wife and son in a department store conflagration. His partner, Danny Spitz (Friar Tuck), watches helplessly as yet another fire rips through an apartment building; the firebug appears to be a powerful, eerily handsome man who's somehow unaffected by the tremendous heat. After lots of banter and some unproductive sleuthing, David and Danny are forced to conclude that the fires are being started by an angel using holy fire—one whose self-imposed mission is to track down and incinerate demons who, fleeing Armageddon, have taken refuge on Earth; the angel cares nothing for the people who get burned up along with the demons. The sleuthing duo stands no chance against the angel until it knowingly disobeys a divine command and falls—so becoming one of the demons it was trying to eliminate. Now, its new mission will be to destroy Dave and Danny. . . . Impossible as it may seem to make San Francisco sound anonymous, Kilworth succeeds; still, the serviceable plot is packed with well-rendered incidents and intriguing, unsettling insights into the nature of angels and demons.
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