Still at work on the poems that he hoped would make his name, he spent his nights enjoying the alcohol, opium and women who filled the seedy streets of the city. One woman would catch his eye, a beautiful Haitian cabaret singer named Jeanne Duval. Their lives would remain forever intertwined thereafter, and their romance would inspire his most infamous poems leading to the banning of his masterwork, Les Fleurs du Mal, and a scandalous public trial for obscenity.
Gabriel Bell is a grumpy 44 - year old web journalist irritated by the accumulating disappointments in life. He and his girlfriend Ellie want to start a family, but Gabriel has so few sperm he can name them and knit them flippers. So it's IVF, which is expensive. Losing his job was bad enough, but getting run over and waking up to find himself in a therapy group run by angels really annoys him.
In Gabriel's group are a professional killer and his last victim, as well as the woman whose car put Gabriel and herself in a coma. From this therapeutic community, just below Heaven, they can see the lives of those they have left behind and how they cope. Will the one hit wonder resurrect his Eighties band for a reunion tour? And can Ellie and her friends retrieve what they need from Gabriel's body, so that she at least can finish what they started?
If the group do well in the therapy they may be allowed to pass into Heaven, or go back to Earth to finish their lives. If not, it's Hell. Or worse, more therapy.