A clique of outcasts drop peyote in a Birmingham, Ala., basement and hell breaks loose, literally, when the kids discover they are Nephilim, the offspring of biblical fallen angels. Among the survivors are Niki Ky, a Goth-rock schizophrenic who pops Klonopin by the fistful, and her lover Daria Parker, a latter-day Courtney Love from the band Stiff Kitten. When Niki's hallucinations bleed into reality, they realize the consciousness-expanding experiment ripped a portal into a mystical para-world where battling gods threaten to destroy Earth. And Niki is the only sorceress powerful enough to put things right again. Caitlin R. Kiernan, a paleontologist and Neil Gaiman collaborator, spews enough religious symbolism to fill a Joseph Campbell colloquium. But her punk-rock prose, and the brutally realistic portrayal of addiction and mental illness, makes Murder of Angels fly.