Tempest Landry, an everyman African American, is "accidentally" killed by a cop. Denied access to heaven because of what he considers a few minor transgressions, Tempest refuses to go to hell. Stymied, Saint Peter sends him back to Harlem, where a guiding angel tries to convince him to accept Saint Peter's judgment, and even the Devil himself tries to win over Tempest's soul. Through the street-smart Landry, Mosley poses the provocative question: Is sin for blacks the same as it is for whites? And who gets to decide?