Tempest Tales

Tempest Tales - Walter Mosley Tempest Landry is a young man trying to make the best of what life in Harlem has handed him. One day, in a case of mistaken identity, he is shot and killed. When he arrives at the Pearly Gates he is held accountable for his acts, turned away and told he is on his way to Hell. Tempest disagrees with the judgment – he’s not a bad guy. After all didn’t he buy groceries for his aunt when she was ill? Okay, he stole money from the church to do it. And didn’t he stand up in court to help send a man to jail? Okay, the man was innocent but only of that crime. He was a known rapist and murderer and deserved to be jailed. St. Peter cannot be swayed yet Tempest stands his ground and refuses to make his was to Hell. This has never happened before and the precedent could rock the very foundations of Heaven as we know it (if it has foundations to be rocked). Offering St. Peter a compromise Tempest is sent back to his old life (albeit in a different body with a different name) with a guardian angel so that Tempest can come to realize that no error was made in the Heavenly accounting. As the guardian angel attempts to make Tempest see the error of his thinking, Tempest introduces the angel to the grey areas of being a human with free will. Not only that, but Satan is a little miffed that he has lost a soul so he pays a little visit to Harlem as well.

This book was humorous, entertaining and yet thought provoking as well. It raises so many questions about the nature of good and evil, free will, racism and the difference between bending the rules and actual sin. Kudos to Mr. Mosley, as through Tempest, he finds an original and creative solution to a situation that could bring Heaven to its knees.