4 out of 4 stars
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In William H. Coles’ Guardian of Deceit, Darwin Hastings is forced to live with his rich, famous football star of a cousin, Luther Pinnelli after his parents die and his only other legal guardian becomes incapacitated. The estrangement between them over time makes a turn for the worst when Darwin realizes Luther will not give him his inheritance and instead forces him to work for Luther in order to earn money weekly.
Darwin is a compelling character, full of incredible knowledge and going to school aspiring to become a doctor. Along the way he forms a solid relationship with a doctor and interns under him, realizing his practicing methods may not be entirely ethical. Through his private tutors and working for Luther, he realizes everything in life seems to have the same moral dilemma, who is actually wrong or right. The lines are all blurred but nevertheless, Darwin never loses sight of what he sets out for and in the end realizes everyone makes mistakes but there are always ways to go about moving on with life or career changes.
This is the second book I’ve read by Coles and what is really intriguing to me is how his knowledge and background as a doctor as his previous profession do not interfere with his storytelling. Instead, his insight is refreshing and provides readers with awareness on the moral dilemmas the profession faces every day. This story would appeal to anyone interested in the underdog and would not appeal to anyone not interested in character driven stories.
Not everything is black and white in the story. All the characters are flawed and in no means less attractive for it. What really worked for the story was the cool progression and solid pacing which kept the pages turning. The story also provided clear resolutions for all the characters affected by or related to Darwin, who in turn is extremely relatable and gives the reader the satisfaction that the underdog never stays down in the dumps for long.
What did not work for the story was how Luther never pays his dues and although his story is resolved, there is no sense he is truly remorseful. The story is built around Luther and Darwin and somewhere in the middle, we lose where Luther is headed. Another small thing I did not enjoy was how the author describes race. Even though it is never revealed what race Luther, Darwin and the other central characters are, when describing the minority races, he simply states them as black or Hispanic (296-297). Other than that, there is no other mention of anyone’s race.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. Even though there are a couple technical and grammatical errors, the story does not suffer for it. From reading McDowell to Guardian of Deceit, the growth alone Coles has made is astounding. His descriptions in setting and time flourish in range and his ability to keep the action at multiple cliffhangers left me wanting more. Simply a divine reading and I would read it again and again.
Guardian of Deceit
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