Title: Fly Up into the Night Air (Canny Tales)
Author: John Houser
Publisher: Self Published
Amazon: Buy Link Fly Up into the Night Air (Canny Tales)
Genre: Fantasy/Court Room Drama/Mystery/Gay Romance
Length: 70841 (approximate)
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
A guest review by Sirius
Summary: A beautifully told story, where every character shines no matter how small his part in the story was, set up in the society where we have people with empathic and telepathic abilities, but so many features of this society reminded me of some worst features of our society.
Presenter Advocate Harte Walford wants to do the right thing and bring a cruel attacker to justice. His father opposes any involvement with the case because the victim may be a pretty boy—a male prostitute who can’t possibly pay for Harte’s legal assistance. The situation deteriorates when Harte discovers that the perpetrator has powerful connections on the town council. When another boy, Peli, is threatened because he witnessed the crime, Harte must find a way to spirit him out of harm’s way.
Smack in the middle of the delicate operation, a new obstacle appears in the form of canny judge veritor, Stilian Cast. Judges Veritor can tell when you’re lying. Judge Cast doesn’t know why Harte and his band of watchmen have kidnapped Peli, but he’s positive Peli was betrayed. When things appear as if they can’t get any worse, Harte finds himself thinking the craggy judge is really handsome. Is it getting hot in here? Why are my breeches so tight? Yes, that kind of handsome.
Harte Walford wants justice on behalf of Raf, the young prostitute boy who was horribly beaten as the blurb tells us. Unfortunately obstacles keep piling up and Harte must fight tooth and nail to even attempt to bring the attacker to justice. When I opened the book I expected to see a mystery/court room drama and of course some romance. Yes, I found all of that, but I also found a society which is both a society of the future and at the same time reminded me so much of the things which should have been buried in the past long ago in our current one.
The story was great. I was wavering about its genre, because the mystery itself is not particularly mysterious. Harte figures out who did the deed pretty early in the story, and then he has to actually prove it. He has to investigate, find witnesses, etc, etc. It is not boring in the slightest, let me assure you. Speaking as a lawyer, I also want to thank the author for the attention to certain details of how a trial lawyer actually does his job. Of course the justice system is not completely based on the American justice system, but the author made sure to show us that trial lawyers actually prepare their witnesses before trial, in other words, go through their testimony with them. I see this so rarely that I just have to say a very special thank you for that. And when a lawyer makes a mistake during the trial, even if that helps him, we actually hear the lawyer saying that. This was actually quite a breath of fresh air for me to read about.
I adored our protagonists and if the only characters in this story which were well developed would have been Harte and Stilian, I would have still loved it. We all know how hard it is sometimes to get justice on behalf of a poor person, how many obstacles one may have to fight. Luckily Harte is determined to do just that. He represented for me the best qualities that a lawyer should have, and he was such an appealing character. Desperately wanting to succeed in his profession and still not wanting to compromise his principles to do so, somebody who loves with all his heart and wants his father’s love, but who again would try to do a right thing no matter what.
And Stilian, somebody who, as the blurb tells us, has an ability to tell if a person lies to him and therefore his ability makes him an important part of the justice system in this society, was a great character as well. Their slowly-developing love (even though it starts with instant affection) just warmed my heart. Stillian has plenty of baggage to bring to the table, but I really loved how well-developed his past was. It made me relate to him more, sympathise with him more and actually made me believe that his relationship with Harte may last for a long time precisely because Stilian does not forget his past when he is trying to build his future.
So, as I said, if the only characters the author would have given me to love were these two, I would still have been grateful. But every character in this story shines — and I mean every character, no matter how tiny their part is. One wonderful standout was Peli — strong and smart, and so vulnerable and so starved for somebody to love him. Plus the story has several great female characters, and I thought Sister Grace was particularly memorable.
Oh for those who care, there is no explicit sex scenes in this story, but personally I did not miss the sex at all. 🙂