Fly Up into the Night Air (Canny Tales)

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. 🙂

Highly recommended.



  • Absolutely sold 🙂
    So happy our taste in books is alike and so far every story recommended by you was a great read for me. Keep it up! 😀

    • Hey Jen, I know I sound like a parrot right now, but I am going to say this again – I will be keeping my fingers crossed for you to enjoy this story , because for me it was such a joy to read.

    • Hi Kim, thanks for commenting. This book certainly was a gem for me, please let me know how did you feel about it if you decide to get it.

  • Sounds good, Sirius! Your review persuaded me to buy this story, and I’m looking forward to reading it very much indeed.

          • Sirius, there were a number of things I enjoyed.

            I liked the style of writing … very easy to read.

            I really liked the characterisations. I loved Harte and Stillian – Harte lives up to his name. I found him to be heart warming and charming. As you say, the other characters are also appealing.

            I enjoyed the court room scenes. They weren’t over the top or too full of legalese which made them easy to understand.

            I’m looking forward to reading more of John’s stories – I think there might be one in the works at the moment.

            (One tiny little nitpick – the formatting didn’t indicate when the story flipped back and forth between the present and past, or when time passed in the present. I had to stop and think for a while whereabouts I was in the story.)

            • I totally agree about characters Gaycrow and I would *love* to read another book set in this world. You know, now that you remarked about formatting, I realised that you are right, but I have not noticed when I read it that indeed flashbacks were not marked as such. I guess it was not a problem for me?

              Anyway, thanks so much for commenting.

  • I wouldn’t even have looked at this, thanks for the review!

    I was looking at the amazon page and noticed someone had tagged it “erotica” {rolls eyes}. I guess this is why authors want books more formally cross-referenced.

    Oh well.. off I go to purchase!
    Thanks you!

    • Oh, I went back to Amazon and added a tag and the rest of them went away! Yeah, so I take back what I said about they’re tags.

      I haven’t read it, so I put YA gay. Is that appropriate?

      • I dont know Reggie, I mean it is certainly more appropriate than “erotica”, but the idea that young people age sixteen – eighteen (this is YA age range, correct?) need special books written for them never sat well with me. Probably because my parents never thought that at the certain age I have to read age specific books (only when I just started to read at four lol). And at sixteen I would never pick a book which would felt a need to talk down to me in any way, if that makes sense.

        I mean, if the question is would I recommend this book to a young person age sixteen through eighteen, the answer is absolutely, but it deals with very adult themes, even if it has no explicit sex IMO.

        • Yeah, I don’t really know how to tag books. I know that the authors want their books tagged so people can search by interest but I’m not sure how to help them best. I don’t know if there is a way to become schooled in this. Maybe an idea for a future post? Depends on how important this is to our writers I guess.

          Thanks again for the review!

          • Reggie, I do not think I know how to do that either unfortunately. I mean, it seems easy enough to add the tag in the place provided by Amazon, but I am never sure which one would be the best. Thanks for commenting and please please let us know what you thought about the book.

  • Wow, what a great review. I am going to go buy this one as soon as I finish writing this comment (and I just read Raine’s comment about it being a “good price”, too – never hurts!). I found your comments about the trial and trial prep very interesting – badly rendered legal settings usually make me grit my teeth, so I’m looking forward to this book in that respect, too. Thank you!

    • I thought about you Pea, when I was typing this review lol. Badly rendered legal settings make me grit my teeth too. The funny thing is that in this story as far as I am concerned author could have gotten away with portraying legal system any way he wanted, because it is a fantasy. But he chose to write my favorite type of fantasy, where he firmly grounded several important features of this society in our reality first and then added some fantasy features. I think you may like it. Yes, good price never hurts 🙂

      • I really enjoyed it! I see what you mean – the author’s handling of the issue of witnesses was well done. I loved the world-building, and the characters were very finely drawn. I particularly enjoyed the contrast between Stilian’s personality in his youth and in present day – and the flashes of humor he displays in some of his exchanges with Harte, despite his overall more somber mien. Between this and Coyote’s Creed, I was a very happy reader this weekend!

        • Oh I am so glad you enjoyed it and yes, the world came alive in front of my eyes and in such effortless way. I wanted Stillian to find happiness again, I think he does have a future with Harte, I agree that change in his personality was well done. Glad we could make you a happy reader this weekend Pea 🙂

  • Oh so definitely sold. 😀 Such a good price too.

    This sounds like a special one. Bliss. Thanks Sirius I would never have found this.


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