Review: Fly Up into the Night Air

Fly Up into the Night Air by John Houser

Description:    “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.”

Three and a half stars.

This is a first novel, an unusual and engaging story that, in spite of having been republished in a revised edition, still needs a strong editorial hand. Clumsy formatting, words left out, and vocabulary errors were distracting, but didn’t keep me from reading to the end. I just kept thinking that this obviously talented writer was too confident of his own editing skills.

The primary weakness of the novel is that it’s almost two separate stories, and probably not intentionally. After finishing it, I felt that Stilian’s back story was possibly overdeveloped to keep the novel from being too short. Many scenes in Harte’s story felt skeletal and in need of much more development, if for no other reason than to balance out Stilian’s.

In spite of the problems, I do recommend it to anyone who enjoys an intelligent, thoughtful book with a strong sense of its setting. I look forward to more work by this author.

Available at: Smashwords


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