Mistaken for another man, Tempest Landry is "accidentally" shot by police. Sent to receive the judgment of heaven he discovers his sins, leading St. Peter to condemn him to hell. Tempest takes exception to the saint's definition of sin; he refuses to go to hell and explains that he, a poor Black man living in Harlem, did what he did for family, friends, and love.
St. Peter, whose judgment has never been challenged, understands the secret of damnation and heaven's celestial authority--mortals must willingly accept their sins.
Should Tempest continue his refusal, heaven will collapse, thereby allowing hell and its keeper - the fallen angel Satan - to reign supreme. The only solution: send this recalcitrant mortal back to earth with an accounting angel, whose all-important mission is to persuade Tempest to accept his sins and St. Peter' judgment.
Using the street smarts that served him so well in his previous life, Mosley's hero takes the accounting angel on a tour of mortal life that tests not only heaven's notions, but the poor angel's own resolve.
In this episodic battle with heaven and hell for his ultimate destiny, Tempest also takes the reader on a philosophic and humorous journey where free will is pitted against class and race--and the music of heaven is pitted against the blues.
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