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Guardian of Deceit

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Darwin Hastings is seventeen and his dying aunt sends him from Pittsburgh to New York to a new guardian, a famous wealthy football player. He is excited and afraid; he wants to recapture the love he knew with his parents before they died and become a doctor like his father. But in his new home of celebrities, crooks, untrustworthiness, and excessively wealthy deviants, lust and want thwart his search for selfless caring love, and in his quest to become a doctor, he discovers the altruism of health care and scientific discovery riddled with profit motivation and deficient moral standards. A finalist in the 2012 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition.
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Official review from OnlineBookClub.org:
William H. Coles engages his readers fully within the first few pages of Guardian of Deceit. A complex story line demonstrates things like what a family is and what it means to be a part of a family, how reality differs from what one expects, and exploring what's important in life overall. Coles lets you delve into a story that brings out both the worst and the best in people.
Our protagonist is Darwin, a teenager who has been orphaned for several years. At the start of the book, he is sent to live with his Uncle Luther, a famous football player known just as much for bad behavior in his personal life as he is for his skills on the field. Such behavior is along the lines of what many people post on social media when sharing disgust with certain celebrities' actions. Darwin finds himself taken in by the household help and Granny rather than by Luther. Luther finds Darwin to be an inconvenience at first, someone that he needs to find a way to deal with, which he does in ways that would shock most sensible people.

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12 reviews for Guardian of Deceit

  1. Kirkus Reviews

    A coming-of-age story reveals a smart and strong-willed teen becoming a man in a new and unfamiliar environment.
    At the beginning of this novel, Darwin Hastings is on a flight to New York from Pittsburgh to live with his football star cousin Luther Pinnelli. Darwin’s parents died years before, and his aunt can no longer take care of him. He’s ambitious and wants to study medicine after graduating from private school. His plans get muddled when he moves in with Luther, a self-serving celebrity who thinks he’s doing right by Darwin by denying him basic luxuries, making him live in a storage room on his estate, and denying him easy access to the money his parents left him. Darwin is able to overcome just about every obstacle with his keen intellect and genuine empathy for people. It gives him allies in the house, including Luther’s eccentric grandmother, house manager Mrs. Thomas, head of security Laszlo Forgash, and Luther’s girlfriend, Sweeney Pale. He meets Dr. Adrian Malverne on the plane and befriends his family, including two daughters, Helen and Coral. Darwin’s life in New York does not lack for adventure. Laszlo becomes a father figure, teaching Darwin how to drive and other basic life skills. Granny and Mrs. Thomas look out for him when Luther is neglectful. Luther is a philanderer with a gambling problem, which puts him in physical danger at one point during the story. Darwin must navigate all of this, including his friendship with Sweeney, while avoiding his cousin’s problems, getting into medical school, and figuring out his romantic life. Coles (Sister Carrie, 2016, etc.) offers an engrossing story in the first half that shows Darwin finding his place in a world that was set to reject him from the start. There is a strong dynamic between him and the other characters in the house, especially as Darwin’s integrity keeps him—and sometimes everyone around him—in line. That fades severely in the second part when the tale focuses more on Darwin’s relationships with women and a twist involving a murder mystery. Established storylines are unfortunately ignored. The most engaging element is watching these core players bounce off one another, and they do much less of that in the second half.
    An exhilarating family tale when concentrating on the main characters, but the relationship fireworks and intrigue feel ordinary.

  2. Arya Fomonyuy

    Guardian of Deceit by William H Coles is an entertaining literary novel with well developed and rock solid characters. Darwin Hastings is an orphan and has been under the care of his aunt until she can’t take care of him any longer. Now, he boards a plane from Pittsburgh to New York to join his cousin, a football star, Luther Pinnelli. But things aren’t what he’d expected to find. His cousin is a self-serving and arrogant guy who lives luxuriously and does everything to make life miserable for Darwin, including cutting his access to an inheritance that is rightfully his. Darwin is determined to win and to pursue his dreams of studying medicine. Read on to find out how he learns to be shrewd, to connect with people that matter, and to get the help he needs to achieve his goals.

    William H Coles is a terrific writer and he creates a story in Guardian of Deceit that will both entertain and inspire readers. The characters are believable and readers can easily connect to them. I enjoyed the portrait of Darwin Hastings, a young, energetic, determined, and resourceful personality. The conflict in this story is well developed, and while the reader watches with keen attention as the relationship between the protagonist and his cousin gets tenser, they also enjoy the psychological and personal conflicts in the characters. I loved the writing and the author’s unique signature phraseology. Here is a compelling story woven with great characters, a gripping plot, and a conflict that escalates quickly and with a perfect and satisfying finish.

  3. Grant Leishman

    When Darwin Hastings’ aunt can no longer take care of the talented young man, whose parents had died in a car accident five years earlier, Darwin’s guardianship reverted to his famous football star cousin, Luther Pinnelli. In William H Coles’ Guardian of Deceit, we first meet Darwin on the flight from Pittsburgh to New York, where he meets Doctor Adrian Malverne who will have a big impact on the young man’s future career and personal life. Staying in a converted storage closet at his cousin’s mansion in the Hamptons, Darwin soon discovers that life with his erratic, drunken and gambling cousin was not going to be an easy one. Nevertheless, Darwin sets out to make his life’s dream of becoming a doctor a reality. Along the way, he will meet and associate with many famous and many dangerous persons, but always manage to keep his dreams and his morals intact.

    This is a coming-of-age novel with a bit of a difference, set in the well-to-do world of the Hamptons. I particularly liked Darwin as a character, as despite his obvious academic talents he was well grounded and prepared to work hard for his advancement, regardless of the wealth left to him by his parents and his cousin’s ostentatious lifestyle. He never allowed this to cloud his judgement or his morality, and when the occasion demanded it he was prepared to stand up to authority, for himself and for others, where he perceived injustice. The character of Luther’s wife, famous singer Sweeney Pale, was well drawn and I kept waiting and expecting the big romantic scene with Darwin. In summary, Guardian of Deceit is a study in human relationships and behaviour, a romantic coming-of-age of a gifted young man.

  4. Sefina Hawke

    Guardian of Deceit by William H Coles is a contemporary literary fiction novel that would appeal most to a mixed audience of adults and young adults who enjoy mystery adventure stories. Darwin Hastings lost his parents and now his aunt can no longer care for him, which forces him to travel from Pittsburgh to New York to live with his cousin. Darwin Hastings’ cousin, Luther Pinnelli, is a well-known football star who is an arrogant, selfish person with no interest in helping Darwin, but instead prefers to show him cruelty. However, Darwin has a high level of intelligence and empathy that allows him to get around the obstacles Luther throws in his path by befriending allies. Will Darwin’s allies help him to achieve his dream of studying medicine, or will all his work go down the drain, thanks to his arrogant cousin?

    Guardian of Deceit by William H Coles is an enjoyable book that did not truly fit into any one genre. The story line was clearly well thought out and it showcased the author’s ability to create a cast of well-developed characters and a gripping plot line. I found that Darwin’s home situation with his arrogant cousin reminded me a lot of the Harry Potter book series with how Harry also lives with relatives that do not care for him, but instead preferred to treat him badly. Darwin managed to make the most of his situation in finding and befriending people that could help him to achieve his dream. Overall, I really enjoyed the book, Darwin’s intellect, and his ingenuity.

  5. Mamta Madhavan

    In Guardian of Deceit by William H. Coles, we see seventeen-year-old Darwin Hastings being sent away to New York from Pittsburgh as his dying aunt is unable to take care of him He is sent to a new guardian, his cousin Luther Pinnelli, who is not only rich, but also a famous football player. He meets Doctor Adrian Malverne on the flight, who will later on play an important role in Darwin’s life and career. His dream is to become a doctor like his father. Darwin does not know what he is getting into until he starts living with Luther, who forces him to earn his living instead of giving him the allowance that came from his inheritance. He realizes that life with his celebrity cousin is not going to be an easy one. Living with Luther, and his flamboyant lifestyle of gambling, and reckless behavior results in Darwin also getting involved in the same at med school. As the story unfolds, readers see twists and turns, secrets, lies, scandals, and complications, which make it a compelling book.
    It is a story about human relationships and the coming of age of a young man. The author does an excellent job when it comes to portraying Luther and Darwin, and their personalities stand out. There is a lot of drama in the story, which makes it fast paced. Readers are kept on their toes by the thrills, mystery, romance, cheating, and scandals. All the characters lend good support to the main plot, but it is Darwin who stands out with his behavior and character, and how he keeps his dreams and morals intact – despite living with Luther Pinnelli and his reckless lifestyle, which is worth a mention.

  6. Viga Boland

    In another of William H. Coles’ literary fiction novels, Guardian of Deceit, is Darwin Hastings, who lands wide-eyed, bushy-tailed and driven to succeed under the care of his sports celebrity cousin, Luther. Luther is wealthy and insensitive to those who love and even worship him, like his celebrity pop star girlfriend, Sweeney Pale. Like Sweeney, young Darwin is loyal to a fault. With every challenge Luther throws at him, Darwin becomes stronger, wiser and eventually very rich, while also fulfilling his role as the Guardian of Deceit…and deceits surround him. From Luther, to Darwin’s mentor in the medical field, to his mentor’s chalk and cheese daughters, Helen and Coral, to their boyfriends, to Darwin’s own relationships, secrets abound. Darwin handles all them expertly, ever mindful of the possible pain and damage to those he cares about if the truth were revealed.

    The result of all this is a novel that is not unlike a collection of short stories. There are so many characters in Guardian of Deceit that occasionally the reader forgets Darwin is the protagonist and that this is a story about a young man coming of age in an upper class society full of petty jealousies and lies. Readers get caught up in the juxtaposition and bickering of the two very different sisters. Next moment, readers are following Luther’s head security guard as he works with police to find out who murdered a potential Olympic swimmer. Or we are weeping with Sweeney as she worries whether fans love her music or Luther loves her. And there is the saga of Luther himself, who is on a steady downward roll thanks to drug abuse, gambling and violence.
    In Guardian of Deceit, every character has a story and few of them know themselves very well. Darwin becomes not only a guardian of their secrets but a sounding board for their insecurities. And occasionally, one of the characters, like Ms. Pearlstein, bounces his advice back at him to consider for himself. So many characters; so many stories. Yet, it’s the reality of life in any neighbourhood, town or city. Who really knows what’s going on next door or what the real situation is between husbands and wives, sisters and brothers, grandparents, employers and employees. William H. Coles simply lets the dialogue between his characters reveal all and leaves it to readers to draw their own conclusions about each of them. But if there is one need they all share, it’s the need for love. Throughout Guardian of Deceit, every character is looking for love. Does each find it? Does Darwin? Read the novel to find out.

  7. read 30 more reviews from Indie Book Reviews

    – I found GUARDIAN OF DECEIT to be absolutely riveting! I started reading it one night after supper with every intention of reading just a few chapters for that evening and could not put it down. Not only is it an emotionally inspiring story with well-drawn characters whom you grow to care about deeply, but it is also informative on various aspects of life that we might not think about in the day-to-day….It is very impressive how Coles can so astutely put himself in these characters’ shoes in such a convincing manner, from a young boy to an elderly woman, to a country singer star, to an abusive and ruthless pro athlete… Read this book. It will open your eyes to things that you might not really think about, or even just take for granted in life Yet it is things that affect all of us and our lives, whether or not we realize it. Great, fast dialogue, profound discussions and great suspenseful action and plot twists. Awesome! (5 stars)
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    – In “Guardian of Deceit” Author William H. Coles creates an incredibly fascinating world that once we visit, we don’t want to leave anytime soon! Some of the best, most realistic and genuine characters, I’ve encountered in a long time, anywhere, and I thought the descriptions and characters were wonderful, and could picture everything happening perfectly. I think the story as a whole could have benefitted from some tightening, and at times it seemed to lose some focus. But the interweaving storylines were so dramatic and paced well for the most part. I like how we are not just bystanders in Darwin’s story, but engaged throughout. Although at the end there is a sense of things being more ‘told’ to us and summed up, almost like the author just wanted to quickly finish the book. And I wish it had more action in the beginning. Was satisfied with the ending and the way everything ended up for Darwin – like full circle in a way. Liked the fast pace and the snappy dialogue that really shows us the story unfolding. Very well written and a worthy addition to the lit-fiction genre and a recommend read for adults. (3 stars)
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    – I thought “Guardian of Deceit” by William H. Coles was simply marvelous and had many of my favorite themes and elements of my favorite types of novels, plus some complex, highly intelligent and creative angles I haven’t read before! Great combination of everything from family, football, medicine, murder, and more….. However I did feel that at times the pace slowed down a lot, and I found myself skipping ahead at some places, but there was so much going on, I was never bored, just anxious to move faster to where more action was happening (if that makes any sense). But there was a nice balance with narrative and dialogue, and I was happy with how the characters were the ones to pull the story forward… Occasionally I didn’t like the feeling of how the story was being “told” to me (instead of ‘showing’ it), but for the most I was a part of this world the whole time and experiencing it in real time through the various characters’ eyes, for better or worse. I felt a real connection to this amazing, tragic, treacherous world the author created and to the unforgettable characters, and aside from the occasional slow pace and eye-popping moments, I thought it was a wonderful read that I will remember for some time. (3.5  stars)
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    – This is the second book I’ve read now by William H. Coles and it is just as amazing as the first! I think that “Guardian of Deceit” is one of those rare books that will appeal to a wide range of readers, no matter what your ‘favorite’ genre is. It just tells a darn good story and comes at you from so many different angles you don’t even know what hits you…. Coles demonstrates considerable talent for penning a fabulous tale that almost anyone who reads it will connect to on some level. It has a good message, danger, action, intrigue, and amazing characters and such great energy! I chuckled at several points, and almost cried at others. I think Coles is highly creative and has beautiful, passionate narration skills and can deliver the emotional payoff when it really matters. And it’s not like a typical literary novel that is all purple prose and slow paced… this is chock full of drama and with clean, quick narrative and dialogues. Some mild language nothing too obscene. Give it a try – you won’t be disappointed! (4-5 stars)
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    – I don’t really know how to best describe or sum up “Guardian of Deceit” by William H. Coles because I have a lot of conflicting impressions about it. Some parts I thought were simply amazing and perfectly executed, beautifully written and profoundly emotional and insightful—surprisingly so. But sometimes I felt that the story seemed to lose focus and wandered all over the place—like the focus of the book was always changing. There was a dark, human nature element that was powerful, and spoke to me on a deeper level than just a run-of-the-mill family drama/coming of age/literary novel. There were great characters who added to the plot and tension, but also some who just seemed to take up space and I didn’t feel enough of a connection. In the beginning it took me a long time to feel grounded in the story and get a feel for what was going on, but I do commend Coles for the way he gradually did the world building, as opposed to dumping it all on us at once. The storyline always felt very original and had its own identity in a field of copycats. When I was done, I will say that I enjoyed the experience and I would love read more books by him. (3 stars) 
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    – For me, author voice is almost everything, and it will make or break a novel and my enjoyment of it. I need to hear originality and know that the author is not trying to sound or write like someone else, but is telling HIS story in a whole new way, whatever that story may be. I feel like I can smell a fake a mile away, and believe me I’ve read my fair share of books from authors who are ‘trying’ to emulate better, more accomplished authors in their genre. What impressed me the most here was that I thought that Mr Coles writing style has the confidence and delightful quirkiness of a seasoned pro… I wasn’t surprised to see that he has written several other books and is a multi-award winning author, but I was a bit surprised to see that for most of his life he was a doctor, not an author (although that does explain his keen insight to the medical field).  The interweaving plotlines had that elusive ‘flavor’ that only comes when they are fully realized and fleshed out, something that is not easily done, especially in a novel of this depth and magnitude of complex issues. A great read, and will be looking for the next one from him. Recommend for adults. (5 stars) 
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    – Although I did really enjoy “Guardian of Deceit” for its multifaceted, complex and riveting storylines and the great creativity, depth and originality of characters, I thought the story jumps around a lot from event to event, place to place, and I sometimes found myself a bit disoriented as to what exactly was happening and why… The plot was very original and interesting, I thought just some parts were perhaps a bit too complex and convoluted for my personal tastes.  I tend to get frustrated when reading if there are too many characters involved, but I don’t feel like I really understand them all that well… that happened with me here a few times. But the ones I had figured out I thought were explained really well, and I was curious to see everyone’s fates. The conclusion was satisfying and not forced, and I can say with all honesty that despite a few flaws I had a good time reading this book, and think the author is mad creative and a great writer! (3 stars)
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    – I think it is fairly safe to say that no one will ever accuse William H. Coles of not having an extremely vivid and wild imagination and talent for writing stories that really touch the deepest parts of all ranges of human nature, from the really good to the really bad! This was one of the most provocative and moving books I’ve read in recent memory, and half the time I felt like I was on some sort of wild literary acid trip (in a good way!), how we never knew what was in store from one chapter to the next. The way the action came together and all the characters it kept me captivated, even though there were times where I worried the story had gone off track. It always managed to get reeled back in, and by the last quarter or so of the novel my fingers were turning the pages like crazy! I had to see what would happen next and even though I was hoping for a bit more of a different ending, the resolution was appropriate (a bit anticlimactic maybe). I’d recommend this book for fans of modern literary dramas, but it would also appeal to readers who like anything different that makes them think outside their normal comfort zone for a bit and with beautiful writing and an interesting experience with strong, memorable leads. (4-5 stars)
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    – “Guardian of Deceit” by William H. Coles was a different type of book for me as I’m not a huge literary fiction reader, although I do enjoy the genre. But I’d recently read another book my Coles and loved it! So I thought I’d give this a try and see how I liked it. That said, here are my thoughts: I liked that it was very well written and had tons of crazy action and unexpected twists, especially for a long book. Everything felt “unique” from the characters, the world, the relationships, the social mechanisms, the experiences, the scenes and detailing of everything from sports to schooling to romance… It wasn’t predictable at all… and it kept my attention the whole way through. Had some really dark moments, but some pretty amazing ones as well. I don’t think I was able to stop reading the last 30% or so! Some complaints were there were many characters, and I don’t always feel like they were all that developed. At one point it just seemed like “names” doing the talking/action but I had no real concept of the individual personalities, looks, etc… There were times that I grew weary of reading about inconsequential details that added little to the progression, especially when frequently repeated. But I did appreciate the intelligent, multi-layered plot – it forces you to pay attention and think – actively engage with the story. So not some easy breezy fluff beach read, but to my surprise I found myself really sucked into the story, so much so that I shed a few tears and may have cursed a few characters along the way. Was happy with the ending and even a little bittersweet (love Granny!!). I felt so invested in this world and these characters. Overall an enjoyable read that I’d recommend to others, and I’m really glad I gave it a shot. Will read more from this author anytime. (4-5 stars)
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    – “Guardian of Deceit” was an interesting experience for me. On one hand the premise is very unique, well thought-out and executed, and the writing was excellent. But I felt that at times the dialogue with the characters felt sort of unnecessary, and there were some parts that I thought were slow/confusing/unbelievable. It took me awhile to get into it, but I will say that once I did I was hooked! Even though at times I felt a lack of focus, for the most part having it from different POV’s really gave me the wide scope that I prefer in longer, more involved novels such as this. I also felt that several (but not all) of the secondary characters didn’t add enough value to the overall plot (or their roles could have been consolidated). Lots of names, but no real sense of identity. (But I must say that this book has some of the coolest characters I’ve ever met!… even the bad ones)) I think the ending was far better than the beginning, and once I was done I was glad I’d read it. I think this author actually has a ton of potential and I can see a lot of people enjoying this. Recommend for adults. (3-4 stars)
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    – I think that William H. Coles just made a new fan out of me!! Normally I stick to more contemporary thrillers/mysteries, but this was such an incredible book I had a hard time putting it down at night. Admittedly in the beginning I felt completely over my head, and was confused at a lot of things that were going on, with what Darwin was going through – there wasn’t a big obvious hook right away which normally I need in order to get (and stay) interested.  But I found that things smoothed out the more I continued on, and after a slower intro (to really ground us in the world-building) Mr. Coles does an admirable job of ramping up tension and giving the characters some pretty complicated, almost impossible obstacles to overcome. And speaking of world building… it is brilliant, and even a little frightening, but in a good way.  I can totally see this being a movie, although it probably wouldn’t be as good as the book anyways. It just felt like such a big story, one that I’ll remember for a long time. Recommend for adults as there is language and some mature scenes. A must read for fans of literary sagas and drama. (5 stars)
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    – This book has it all. Great writing, characters who feel real and are flawed and fascinating – each one bring something new to the table, from Darwin to Luther to Granny and Pearlstein and everyone else in between… Profound and emotional and exciting all rolled into one with lots of OMG moments (especially with Luther and well, just about everyone!). Great story line and incredible detail throughout. One thing I noticed that was different about this book as opposed to others in the genre I’ve read, was that in this one it didn’t feel ‘safe’…. I never had the feeling that everything was going to be just fine, and it certainly wasn’t. It was this constant subtle tension that was believable—not contrived—that really sold it to me. To be honest, I’m not sure what to make of the ending… seemed a bit abrupt and almost anticlimactic after all that had happened. Not terrible, just felt flat…but I like the overall storyline and glad things ended up the way they did. But the whole experience overall was definitely one worth having. Best suited for mature readers probably. (4 stars)
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    – “Guardian of Deceit” had such great FLOW from beginning to end. Never a dull moment, and every scene smoothly transitioned to the next, making it really hard to ever put down, as I was always totally engrossed in this story. And wow, what a creative and original plot! Every time I think I can tell what’s going to happen with Darwin, or Luther or any of the other characters, I was thrown for a loop. Even though we know Luther is no good I was still surprised by the level of his depravity. I’m so impressed with this author William H. Coles, and I love how he brings so many cool elements together in an awesome mesh of complex emotional and intellectual drama, action, authentic settings and characters, and a great cohesive storyline tying it all together which is no easy feat, especially with a novel on this scale and magnitude. If you are looking for something that will take you away to another time and place and make you FEEL something… love, anger, horror, satisfaction.. this one will not disappoint. This is the second novel I’ve read from him and they have both been very impressive. Hope to read more from Mr. Coles soon. (5 stars)
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    – Woah, what a ride! From the description summary I was a little confused just what to expect, but I’d just finished reading another novel by Mr. Coles and really loved it! (“The Spirit of Want”) So I just dove on in. Well I was stunned not only at the level of detailed and imaginative world building, and strong and compelling characters, but also the sheer amount of twists and turns that were in store for us …I usually lose interest in books like this (I have a short attention span unfortunately) But I think that “Guardian of Deceit” by William H. Coles is one of the more well thought-out and entertaining books I’ve read in a while. I loved how he writes very descriptively and with great energy and detailing. I kept wondering how it would all wrap up, and if it would work out… and (no spoilers) while I was happy with some things, I was disappointed with others. But that’s what made it so good I guess.  Note, this has some “adult’ scenes. Not gratuitous at all, but definitely intense. Just a fair warning. Recommend. (4 stars)
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    – As I read this book by William H. Coles I found myself completely taken away from my ‘real life’ and transported to another world, completely forgetting where I was (for better or worse). An epic-feeling literary novel with more tangents and sub plots than many others I’ve read, with a large cast of characters each of whom have their own stories to tell and conflicts to overcome. Gritty, honest, deep, intense, disturbing, shocking, uplifting and empowering… Way too much to delve into here, but this is a book I won’t soon forget, and if you are looking for a unique take on drama and relationships and family conflicts with a darkly psychological and intellectual literary vibe, look no further. The only weak spot for me was the pacing and some editing. But other than that it was great. Ready for more! Best suited for ages 18+ only (4 stars)
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    – Like his other books I’ve read, “Guardian of Deceit” by William H. Coles was so much fun to read, with one of the most interesting and enjoyable ensemble of characters I have encountered lately. From villains to love interest, friend to foe and the relationships with the characters and the creative world-building Coles creates is downright phenomenal and truly more profound and with much more substance and introspective take on humanity and our place in it all… not just some mindless cliché murder mystery/drama/romance book, but deeper, touching but also fun. Covers such a wide range of subjects, from Darwin’s education and coming of age, to Luther’s ‘sins’ and the mystery of Betsey…and so, so much more. An enjoyable experience, one that actually teaches us something about life and the human condition and shows us the ‘bigger picture’. An unexpected treat, and I look forward to more from William Coles soon. Recommended for mature fans of literary fiction. (5 stars)
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    – William H. Coles is most definitely one of those authors I’ve had the absolute privilege of discovering lately. I do read a lot of books by lesser known authors (I like to give them a chance and maybe discover a new favorite). But inevitably I’m left disappointed more often than not. But even if Mr. Coles’s novel “Guardian of Deceit” isn’t perfect, it absolutely delivers an entertaining ride with complex ideas and you become emotionally invested whether you want to or not. This one was impactful and about as different as it could be from anything else I’ve ever read. I literally cannot think of another type of book to compare it to! It does need better editing, (at times the dialogue is so fast and I can’t tell who the speaker is, and a few other minor glitches), but the literary skills were all there, the imaginative world that stretches the bounds of imagination, the descriptive scenery, witty dialogue, the heart-pounding moments, the shocking twists and sweet moments…  I enjoyed it all the way through and thought it was a great piece of lit fiction/drama that I’d recommend. (4 stars)
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    – “Guardian of Deceit” by William H. Coles is the first book I’ve read by this author, but I guarantee it won’t be the last! In the beginning I was a little worried because it seems to just have a bunch of conversations and characters but without much grounding of context, so I was a little lost. But I kept reading and before long I became more familiar with the setting, the characters, and who was what, and it was highly entertaining—-almost addicting. There are interesting, dynamic characters across the board  and like that each has distinct personalities that really stand out. The prose is very strong and descriptive, and I think Mr. Coles writes with energy and passion that really shines through on each page. The only thing that bugged me was sometimes I felt there was too much focus on things that were extremely trivial, and then at other times something really juicy would happen and it was totally glossed over; quickly ‘narrated’ in a paragraph or so, while other times there’d be pages of dialogue that added little.  I feel like a great copy editor could have really polished it up, but the real meat and heart of the book was amazing anyways. But the way it all comes together in the end is terrific and even though it felt a little abrupt, all the elements were definitely handles to my satisfaction. No cliffhanger or open threads. thankfully. Recommend for adults only. (4 stars)
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    – The pace of “Guardian of Deceit” is like a slow burn that gets hotter and hotter, then simmers, and then explodes. Despite the multitude of characters, the story was pretty easy to follow throughout. But I am a real fan of William H. Cole’s writing style –sometimes epic character novels are boring to me, but not his!! And even though there was a lot of action and drama constantly happening, and so many characters that come and go and shift our focus along the way, I never once felt lost or confused. Instead I felt swept away as the metaphorical pot boiled over again and again. I thought Darwin made for a great lead even though the focus shifts to other characters, it is really his viewpoint that we connect with throughout. I loved how easily I was able to escape into this world for a while, and it is so intelligently written so as to keep my full attention until the (amazing) end. I am giving this one 5 stars because I honestly can’t think of anything I didn’t like, and I’d definitely keep reading more of William Coles’s novels. Recommend for adults who like intelligent, profound stories with creative characters and an impactful, intelligent view… Some language and adult situations. (5 stars)
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    – I really appreciate how simply and effortlessly William Coles can tell this intoxicating, multi-layered story with well-developed world building and still manage to make a literary drama novel feel so fresh! A less talented author would probably over-write or over-dramatize to the point of being totally unbelievable. But even with the dramatic and multilayered storyline we are all in, hooked on every scene, as the world building always follows its rules which is so important in books like this. At first it took me some time to acclimate and get the feel of the different characters and their backstory… was confused on a few things, but stuck with it and it all became clear. A fun read all through to the end, even though some parts are heart wrenching and you will definitely be upset more than once.  Really loved the different characters that Coles created, the perspectives on life, love, humanity, morality… so much covered it’s so hard to even address in such a short review. But one thing I know, I would definitely like to read more from William Coles!!  (4 stars)
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    – “Guardian of Deceit” by William H. Coles is a really good read with an interesting and plausible concept. And just when I thought I was done with lit-fiction forever and had read every possible angle and storyline it could possibly take. I was so wrong! Make no mistake, there are some familiar themes and standard literary tropes happening here, (rags to riches to rags… abuse… fish out of water, coming of age, etc…) but done with a sense of newness and unique to this storyline that is incredibly unusual and even groundbreaking in a way. At times I almost felt like it was too much, although Coles describes it very well, and I know it’s instrumental to the plot and with what is happening with the characters. It’s just sometimes the conflict seemed like overkill when I would’ve preferred to maybe see a deeper emotional relationship build between the characters instead. I just didn’t ‘feel’ the connection I was supposed to. But I can say that the writing is excellent —  very descriptive and evocative. Needs light editing however. This is a very dense read with a great balance of dialogue and narrative, but is memorable and entertaining and absolutely worth the time. (4 stars)
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    – Oh my, where to begin…seriously, this is a super hard book to just sum up my feelings in a few sentences. Well, I read it in one week if that’s any indicator, and I have extremely limited reading time. But who needs sleep? I’ve read a few books by William H. Coles now and they have all been excellent in their own way. He writes in such a way that we just get pulled in and lost in the story right away, and see everything unfold around us. It’s a slow building explosion of unpredictable events and unique characters that are believable, yet act in unbelievable ways at times (like Luther). I only have one gripe seemed weirdly anticlimactic to me for some reason, like the emotion was sucked out of the ending even though it was the most dramatic. And it felt so “summed up” at the end. The narrative is tight and focused, but needs a proofreader. Great, authentic dialogue and some of the most clever, genuine characters I’ve read in a while.  This is a book that when you are done reading it you feel different.. it almost changes you, how you feel and think. But in a good way. I like a book that challenges me outside my normal comfort zone and “Guardian of Deceit” did it in spades. I for one am ready for more from this talented author soon! (4-5 stars)
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    – Oh wow, I loved this book and read the whole thing in one week, which is fast for me, because I’m a slow reader. But it just seemed to go by so fast and I never wanted to stop reading it, even late into the evening. I was mesmerized by the world William Coles creates, one so realistic and authentic we feel like we are there with Darwin as he goes off to live with his cousin, and his life will never be the same. One thing I love about Coles’s writing is how he manages to pack just so much ‘story’ inside one novel.. in a way it might be intimidating for some readers, as this book doesn’t have A plot… it has several. The focus will shift throughout, so while it may be on Darwin at times, it will change to Luther, Granny, even Betsey and Laszlo. Coles does a terrific job with detailing, from conversations about medicine, to moral dilemmas, to romance and money… really adds flavor and authenticity needed to really bring the characters and story to life. Great writing, too. Love how fast paced it is, even when its being narrated. Usually that slows it down, but not here. Too much happens in this book to cover properly in a short review so you really just have to read it for yourself… you will not be disappointed! (5 stars
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    – I knew by the 20% mark that I would really love this book and it would go on my “favorites” shelf, and I was right! I admit I had no real expectations when starting it, seeing as how I’d never read the author before and the description felt a bit “wide-reaching” to me. Wondered if he’d pull it off, and I truly believe he did! I was so immersed in this book and impressed with the level of detailing on almost every single aspect. A lesser author would have glossed over some of these scenes that William H. Coles carefully and masterfully brought to life in a memorable way. This is a longer book, so be prepared to invest some time. But it is mighty worth it. Recommend. (5 stars)
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    – When I read “literature” books, usually I either like the dialogue, and the narrative seems flat (or too ‘telling’ and long-winded) or the prose is good, but the conversations seem contrived and stiff, or the plot is completely forced. But I loved how seamlessly everything flowed in “Guardian of Deceit” as this made it feel authentic and well- paced, like we are watching a movie or something. It had it all, seriously…love, drama, sports, murder, family life, friends, enemies… takes us on an unforgettable, and ultimately fulfilling rollercoaster ride that I won’t soon forget with characters that will touch your heart and leave a mark. William H. Coles manages to take a multitude of different scenarios that are ripped from real life and create an emotionally engaging story that is both highly readable and entertaining. Has its very dark moments as well, but serves well with the plot. Mild language and adult situations but suitable for mature teens on up. (5 stars)
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    – For me “Guardian of Deceit” by William H. Coles was a bit convoluted at times, and took a while to really get going and get me hooked, only because there were several different characters that kept coming into play and I wasn’t sure where the real focus was. But I definitely do think it kept  getting better as it went along and the roles became more defined, even as they expanded. I wouldn’t say that this is written in the standard way, because the story seems to evolve and the focus on the characters changes as the storyline develops, instead of just staying on the main characters the whole time. Unusual, but not bad – just different. I am a big fan of “the Great American Novel” type books, and it I appreciate the lengths the author went through to make his book stand out from much of the typical fare out there these days, even if for me it seemed to lose its focus occasionally. I liked the eclectic and diverse cast of characters, the complex, intelligent plotlines, and the overall message. I felt that reading this was time well-spent and would recommend to mature fans of dramatic literature. (4 stars)
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    – I personally thought “Guardian of Deceit” by William H. Coles was totally amazing, and this is really not normally the type of book I’d gravitate to! And in the beginning, I admit that I really wasn’t sure where the story was going but once I was about 25% in I was totally hooked and didn’t want to stop until I’d reached the end. I would describe this as a drama, but there is LOTS of action and crazy plot twists, so you will definitely stay interested. And I like how Coles writes in a way that you can totally picture everything, almost like we are watching a movie. It’s told in 3rd person, so you see a lot of perspectives, and even though the head-hopping was a bit confusing at times, I think for the most part it worked well. Very happy with the ending as well. Ready to read another Coles’ novel ASAP! (4.5 stars)
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    – This is the second novel I’ve read by William H. Coles and it was fantastic!  He has such a great way of capturing slices of life over several pivotal years with wonderful details and drama. But what I loved most about the novel was the relationship between the various characters and especially  what they do in moments of great challenge or adversity. Do they rise to the occasion or fail? Are they heroes or cowards? Are they loyal to the people we love most or do we betray them? What is truly important to us, and are we doing the right thing? Coles explores these questions with probing finesse and great heart. He does a great job with characterizations, but I thought that Darwin was particularly well-crafted and loved Granny too. A definite recommended read, as are the other novels by William H. Coles. You really can’t go wrong with any of them… (5 stars)
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    – There were things I loved about this book, “Guardian of Deceit” by William H. Coles and a few things that I didn’t so much love. First, the writing and storyline was great, which is VERY important to me. I read a lot of indie authors and nothing makes me more bonkers than reading the same derivative plot over and over again. This one felt wholly unique and the tone of the book felt authentic for a ‘realistic’ life drama. The pacing was mostly solid – a bit on the slower side at times, and could have used more action other times, but the characters felt real and three dimensional. The world-building was inspired and picturesque, and described in vivid and creative way. What I didn’t like, however, was the fact that I felt the real conflict took too long to really get started, and that a good portion of the beginning feels like things were too ‘ordinary’. Took too long to feel the real tension or high stakes, like where I felt I had to keep reading to find out what would happen next. We meet Darwin and learn of his story (how his parents died when he was 11) and how he’s going to go live with his rich athlete cousin, Luther, who is a real piece of work. But in a way the most riveting part is the murder/mystery, and that happens way later. And while the characters are very well done, at times I wondered if we really needed so many because a few seemed to get lost in the mix. And some parts felt really dark and twisted. Disturbing, for lack of a better word. But like the other book I’ve read by Coles,  “Guardian of Deceit” does pack a solid emotional punch and has a whole lot of story in these pages unlike any I’ve ever read before and is a very memorable experience. Recommend for adult fans only. (3.5 stars)
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    – A beautifully written and richly evocative examination of life, love, loss, and the ravages of humanity, and the different ways people react to unthinkable situations. This powerhouse of a story is equally packed with action and emotion, and is sure to please even the pickiest of literary readers. I felt a great connection with the characters, especially Darwin, and thought the narrative was clean and crisp, descriptive, but  not overdone. Great writing and a bold attempt at capturing many important elements made “Guardian of Deceit” a powerhouse hit for me. I think that this book would make an excellent book club choice as there are just so many topics we can talk about and dissect deeper…There are so many different angles and subjects to talk about, not even getting to the dynamic characters who bring the book to life. I liked how Mr. Coles utilized multiple points of view so we are able to experience the different characters worlds and be really inside their heads.  A long book, but worth it in my opinion. A great find… I love discovering new authors, and William H. Coles will certainly be one to watch! Hope he continues writing these types of books because he certainly has a knack for it. (5 stars)

  8. D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

    Mature teen to new adult fiction readers will find in The Guardian of Deceit a compelling story exploring seventeen-year-old Darwin’s journey as he leaves his dying aunt and guardian to go live with an unknown cousin; a new custodian who is both rich and a famous sports figure. Luther harbors some serious personality defects, however, which make him anything but the perfect guardian, and through Darwin solidifies his desire to become a doctor and pursues his dream, Luther seems determined to thwart this goal.As obstacles mount – not the least of which are involvements in drugs, money, and lures to a lifestyle that seem to counteract any dreams for something bigger – Darwin finds himself in a downward spiral where his dream seems ever more elusive.From Sweeney Pale’s relationship to Luther and Darwin and the messy circumstances which arise from attraction to the choices and conflicts faced by young adults on the cusp of adulthood with the possibilities and pitfalls starkly laid out before them in a maze of challenging uncertainties, The Guardian of Deceit weaves a story that is complicated at times by characters who not only come and go from Darwin’s world, but who bring with them their own challenges and angst. Readers looking for simpler, more linear productions may feel confused or challenged by the wealth of characters and directions proffered by a mercurial story line, but the result is actually more reflective of the vast changes young adulthood often introduces to those in this age group.In true form for those on the cusp of adulthood, Darwin makes both good and bad decisions for some of the right and wrong reasons, and readers are swept into a whirlwind of circumstances often out of his control.New adult and mature young adult readers will find The Guardian of Deceit an involving story of sex, family interactions, social circumstances, and personal ambition that follows a young man’s evolution as he conversely rockets towards success and encounters many failures and conundrums along the way.

  9. meteku4 for OnlineBookClub.org

    Being aware that you are an orphan who cannot afford to take care of yourself prepares your psychosomatic personality for life’s adversities. However, to be conscious of the fact that your dead parents left you a huge inheritance which is being held in trust for you by one famous footballer, who also is supposed to be your guardian, leaves you hoping to get the best of everything.
    Guardian of Deceit is written by William H. Coles. The book falls within the fiction genre and has 320 standard pages. Told from the third person point of view, the author introduces us to the life and predicament of the 17-year-old orphan, Darwin Hastings, who, although has been living with his ailing aunt, leaves Pittsburgh for his cousin’s place at New York.
    Read the entire review here…

  10. Gideon O for OnlineBookClub.org

    Guardian of Deceit by William H. Coles is a contemporary fiction story of family life, permeated with “…false values, hubris and lack of care”. The story, though a work of fiction has its setting as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA and Coles perfectly captures the rich cultural heritage of its people and their flair for sporting activities especially football in this novel.
    The storyline is predominantly focused on young Darwin Hastings and his cousin Luther Pinnelli, a rich and famous football star. Darwin at the age of 17 found himself orphaned, confused and faced with an uncertain future. Darwin was born into a wealthy home but he couldn’t have access to his inheritance until he becomes of age. He was however certain of one thing; he wants to be a medical doctor and therefore would never allow his circumstances (not even his cruel guardian) to derail his goals. Luther, the supposed guardian of the young teen failed to provide the necessary guarding Darwin needed to succeed in life. Aside Luther’s football career, nothing about his social life and friends could inspire Darwin to reach his dreams. Luckily for Darwin he met Dr. Malverne on his way to Pittsburgh who volunteered to guide him through the rigors of medical education. This setback notwithstanding, Darwin amazingly coped so well on his own without Luther firmly supporting his dream. At a point in the story, I began to wonder who really the guardian should be; Luther or Darwin.
    Read the entire review here…

  11. Miss ejay for OnlineBookClub.org

    This is a truly enjoyable book with a complex story line demonstrating what a family is and what it means to be part of a family, how reality differs from what one expects. This is a coming of age story revealing a smart and strong willed teen becoming a man in a new and unfamiliar environment.
    At the beginning of this novel, Darwin Hastings, a teenager who has been orphaned was sent by his aunt who could no longer take care of him due to her health issues to live with his football star cousin Luther Pinnelli. Darwin wants to recapture the love he knew with his parents and become a doctor like his father, his plans get muddled when he moves in with Luther, a cruel and self-serving celebrity who thinks he’s doing right by denying Darwin his basic luxuries, making him live in a storage room, making him pay for his room and board and denying him access to the money his parent left him.
    Read the entire review here…

  12. Sarah Tariq

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    The author openly portrays the positive and negative traits prevailing in society. The selfishness of society is evident in the story. Each character is in struggle to achieve his or her goal by hook or by crook. When we see the positive side of the story, the case of dismissal of Betsy (daughter of Bonita Thomas) shows a sign of cooperativeness as they (characters) consider themselves a “family.” The author beautifully moves the story forward relating all events in a sequence. His omniscient view of each character kept me on my toe until I finished the story.
    The author aptly describes the cultural values of upper class in American society. The poor condition of women in which she is mostly considered a sex symbol is ironical. Unending lust for wealth, debauchery and callousness of attitudes goes throughout the story, which may sadden the reader. But of course he (author) has rightly depicted a reality. The book is free from typos, so I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I hope readers would like it much.
    Read the entire review here…

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