[This review was submitted to Free Inquiry Magazine]

W. Milton Timmons
Reviewed by Bobbie Kirkhart

Regarding an Angel’s Flight by W. Milton Timmons may just be the perfect atheist novel.  The
atheist plot is occasionally interrupted by
historical narratives which emphasize often unreported
information of special interest to atheists.  The mostly freethinking characters pause in their
adventures for long philosophical discussions of various religions and secular world views.

The novel begins in a small East Texas community, where Austin Adams, the son of a fundamentalist
preacher, grows up.  The contrast between the bucolic innocence, shown in the anecdotes of
childhood adventures, and the sinister bigotry, shown in the teachings of the adults and often
reflected in the children, is stark.  In obvious metaphor of the environs, the author tells us that when
Austin saw his first jigsaw puzzle, “It seemed somehow disturbing to him that such a beautiful picture
should be all mixed up.”

Adams begins his attempt to fix this picture here, and continues it through San Francisco, Guam and
Los Angeles.  By the time he returns home at the end of the novel, the reader has learned about all
the major religions (except, interestingly, liberal Protestantism) as well as many minor ones.   The
book covers world history from 1933 to 1984, 15 years beyond the action of the novel.

A literary purist might say that the philosophy and history don’t belong in such a novel, but to the
adamant, truth-seeking atheist, every one of the 690 pages is worth reading.
                                   * * * * * * * * * * * *       
A retired teacher and former Sunday School teacher in a Protestant denomination,
Bobbie Kirkhart is currently (2005) president of the Atheist Alliance International, and
past president of Atheists United of Los Angeles. For a more complete biography, see
[This review was submitted to L.A. Weekly]



W. Milton Timmons
                                    Author House, 704 pp. $28.95
                              ISBN: 1-4040-3464-4

Reviewed by Henry Miller, Ph.D.

If you're looking for a quick read, something to while away a few hours between important matters,
don't read this book.  Yes, it's a murder mystery for aficionados of that literary genre.  It is an
historical novel in the sense that it deals with America from the early thirties, when most potential
readers were not yet born, into the eighties which, for the youth of America, are but vague
memories.  Regarding an Angel's Flight requires time and contemplation, considerations of one's
own personal values, faith or the lack of it and whether there really is purpose and meaning to our

In simple terms, the novel is the story of one young man's journey toward two goals.  The first, the
obvious driving force, is to find the murderer of a childhood friend, a quest that takes young Austin
Victor Adams from the small, insular Texas community of his birth and childhood to the metropolis of
Los Angeles.  The second is his quest for meaning, purpose; for, if you will, the nature and intent of
God…if, indeed, such a being exists.

Raised in a strict, fundamentalist faith and belief in the literal meaning of the scriptures as
interpreted by his minister father young Austin, exposed to the realities of life, finds his faith falling
away.  Examining other philosophies, secular and religious, he is attracted, confused, absorbed by
alien dogmas, or the lack of them.

Dr. Timmons’ ultimate message, if I read him correctly is nihilistic.  There is no meaning, no purpose,
no ordained goals for humanity, neither as individuals nor as a species.  We exist for our brief few
hours on the self manufactured stage of life and are gone, like a candle's flame blown out, to no
discernible purpose.

                         * * * * * * * * * * *

Henry Miller has held numerous official positions in American Mensa, including chairing
the Greater Los Angeles Area Board of Directors, editing the area publication and serving
on Mensa’s National Board.  Retired from an administrative position with the State of
California he has been, at various times, an actor, producer, director, professor of
microbiology, executive editor of a major publishing house and author under various
pseudonyms, of about eighty books.  His latest published work is
Bunny and Claude, a
dark novella.
[From the judge for the 2004 Writer's Digest Annual International Self-     
                                       Published  Book Awards]

Author: W. Milton Timmons
Title: Regarding an Angel's Flight
Category: Mainstream/Literary Fiction

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning "poor" and 5 meaning "excellent," please
evaluate the following:

4 -- Sprawling, epic novel, part historical, part philosophical.

Grammar: 5 -- Very well written, with few flaws.

Character Development: 5 -- Great characters, and Austin is a true American icon.

Cover Design: 4 -- An attractive, professional-looking cover.

Judge's Commentary: The size was daunting at first, but once I began it read easily.  
There's so much to like here; the eclectic characters, how history can make one question a
higher power, the dynamics of relationships, racial hatred, truth and self-awareness.  The
prose is witty and easy to read.  ...  Overall, a very worthy read.

Note: One sentence was deleted here, which would have given away too much of the plot


[From the judge of the 2005 Annual International Writer's Digest Self-       
                                      Published Book Awards]


Grammar: 5

Character Development: 4

Cover Design: 5

Judge's commentary: Regarding an Angel's Flight is a very enjoyable and quite
rewarding read. The combination of character development and historical contextualization
is reminiscent of great authors like Dos Passos, only conveyed in more of a realist mode of
writing. I enjoyed both the history and original characters, and thought the former did a nice
job of providing a backdrop for the latter. The history also had a perspective and focus to it
that was both refreshing and informative. The dialogue in the fictional parts of the book
came across as organic and convincing, and was well supplemented by the narrative.

[From the judge of the 2007 annual International Writer's Digest Self-       
                                         Published Book Awards]

Plot: 4

Grammar: 4

Character Development: 4

Cover Design: 3

Judge's Commentary: What did you like best about this book?

It's very hard to say anything about this book because: (1) it is very long; (2) tries to cover
huge expanses of time and place; and (3) is about a million different things and touches on
just about every significant event in the last 50 years of world history. The novel has only two
foci: the main character and a historical landmark in LA. This I find remarkable, for such a
sprawling, wide-ranging monster of a novel, even in the trying, much less the bringing off. I
admire the author's ambition, and although the writing does not compare to the feverish,
near-schizophrenic style of Pynchon, the closest relative of this novel is
Gravity's Rainbow.
What does all this mean, what is the author's message? Well, the message is a little easier
to understand than Pynchon's, I think, and this is to the author's credit.

How can the author improve this book?

The author is grandly ambitious, but perhaps the book, at times, bites off more than it can
chew. It tends to ramble in spots, getting off the main trail into historical thickets that seem
not entirely relevant. Such rambling is always interesting, but not always to the main point,
which takes some focus for the reader to grasp. Anything the author can do in aid of this
difficult task (that of absorbing the book's main thrust) would be a boon and a help.
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