Guardian of Deceit


Fiction - Audiobook
316 Pages
Reviewed on 10/02/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Award-winning author, William H. Coles, has published 37 short stories, four collections of short fiction, five novels (a #1 Amazon Bestseller), three books on creative writing, and received hundreds of top reviews. He created the website for writers,, (> 3.5 million visits) with 37 essays on creative writing, 27 seven transcribed personal interviews with authors and editors on the creative writing process, an interactive workshop, blog, newsletter, and original WHColes stories. His most recent acclaimed books on creating fiction story are: "The Art of Creating Story "and "Creating Literary Story: A Fiction Writer's Guide." He lives and writes in Salt Lake City.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lois Henderson for Readers' Favorite

William H. Coles’ Guardian of Deceit, which the author narrates, is a coming-of-age novel about how a young Pittsburgh man, Darwin Hastings, comes to terms with the lifestyle of the rich and famous in New York while living with his cousin, famous football player Luther Pinnelli in his mansion. The focus is on the world of privilege throughout and its underlying tensions, including the dual vices of poker playing and philandering, which both form an implicit part of Pinnelli’s lifestyle. Pinnelli’s physical cruelty and arrogant stance toward others are seen in the light of his sexual impotence and his inability to form constructive and meaningful relationships with those around him. In contrast to Pinnelli’s manipulation of others for his own purposes stand the relatively solid relationships between the other members of the house: Pinnelli’s grandmother; Mrs. Thomas, the house manager; and Sweeny, Pinnelli’s fiancée.

The high-living lifestyle portrayed in William H. Coles’ Guardian of Deceit should prove to make intriguing reading for many. The interplay between the characters is fascinating, with some light humor being added in the portrayal of the elderly woman sitting alongside Darwin Hasting in the plane taken to New York and in Coles’ depiction of the querulousness and demanding eccentricities of Pinnelli’s grandmother. The insecurities that beset Sweeny, despite her celebrity status as a country and western/pop/rock singer, are counterpoised against the quiet assuredness of Hastings as he develops into a fully-fledged young man, with a sound work ethic and applied intelligence. The essential seediness that underlies the world of urban-based wealth and prosperity is described with such potency that the assumedly secure bedrock on which privileged elitism is meant to be based is shown as being a mere myth, an insight that should bring clarity to some.

The audiobook is read at a pace and tempo that made listening to the work a sheer joy. The dramatic emphasis that Coles uses is skillfully done and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout what I wish to call the ‘performance,’ for his reading aloud comes across with the true professionalism of a skilled narrator, whose enthusiasm for his own work is clearly apparent. The sound quality is also that which I expected from the presentation of the work of such a master of the art of storytelling. Guardian of Deceit is riveting throughout, and it should be listened to by anyone who enjoys probing the intensity of relationships present in the homes of the ostensibly high and mighty.

Romuald Dzemo

Guardian of Deceit by William H. Coles is the story of Darwin Hastings, a seventeen-year-old orphan who has been under the care of his aunt. Now his aunt is very sick and can’t take care of him any longer. Darwin flies to New York from Pittsburgh to live with his cousin, Luther Pinnelli, a football star. His only dream is to study medicine after graduating from a private school. But the way his cousin treats him changes everything. Settling him in a storage room in his vast estate is just the beginning of Darwin’s woes. He doesn’t have the basic necessities and is denied access to his inheritance. But his good nature and intelligence win him friends in the house, including Laszlo Forgash, the head of security, Mrs. Thomas who runs the house, Luther’s girlfriend, and others. But can he navigate the complex environment filled with untrustworthy characters and lust and pursue his dream in the medical field?

This is a character-driven story with an ingenious plot and well-handled conflict. As one listens to the story, one begins to understand the complexity of the relationships in the story. From the onset, I felt that Darwin doesn’t belong to Luther’s world. It is a world of celebrities and is filled with gambling and shady behavior. I particularly enjoyed the way the author writes the relationships between the protagonist and the people around him, starting with Dr. Adrian Malverne in the plane and then people like Mrs. Thomas and Luther’s girlfriend. This story is well-narrated by the author himself. His voice is unique and I enjoyed the pace he maintains in the narrative, allowing points of view to come out clearly and changing the tone in dialogues to reflect the POV of the characters. It is a story that explores complex relationships and builds a conflict that reflects on the contrasting views that Darwin and Luther have about life. The audio narrative in Guardian of Deceit is well-done, professional, and clear.

Gobi Jane

Guardian of Deceit by William H. Coles follows a young boy’s story as he moves away from the care of his aunt to live with his cousin. Darwin Hastings has always dreamed of pursuing an education in the medical field after graduating from a private school. But living with his cousin, Luther Pinnelli, a football star, is an experience that is far from anything he had imagined. And instead of experiencing love, he feels rejected, occupying a storage room on a huge estate and being denied basic essentials. He can’t even have access to the inheritance left to him by his parents. His cousin’s luxurious life, gambling, and philandering are things foreign to young Darwin. He creates new friendships on the estate and connects meaningfully with others. Can he achieve his dream of becoming a doctor like his father?

This is the story of a young man struggling to find a footing and create a space for himself in a world that is sophisticated and where morals don’t rhyme with his core values. Darwin is an interesting protagonist and I loved his intelligence, his deep sense of humanity, and his ability to build friendships, even with people like Sweeney Pale, Luther’s girlfriend, Dr. Adrian, and Granny. The author explores the relationships between the characters with unique skill and allows these relationships to test and nurture the personality of the protagonist. The writing is descriptive and punctuated by good dialogues.

This audiobook is read by the author himself and has something intimate about it. William H. Coles does an impeccable job with the reading, allowing his somewhat husky voice to bring life to the story. I didn’t find it hard following the characters as I listened to the story. Guardian of Deceit is well-plotted and character-driven, a story that explores themes of loss, love, humanity, personal growth, and family.

Ruffina Oserio

Guardian of Deceit by William H. Coles follows Darwin Hastings, an intelligent seventeen-year-old with dreams of a career in medicine to be like his dead father. His aunt is sick and dying and can no longer look after him, so she sends him to New York to live with his cousin, Luther, a football star and a very rich man. The young man flies from Pittsburg to New York, but he quickly finds himself entangled in a lifestyle he never bargained for. Luther is not the kind of man who will let Darwin have his way and Darwin has to work hard to earn everything he needs. He doesn’t even have access to the trust fund left to him by his parents. He works hard to get into med school, but the bad influences from Luther’s estate follow him — drugs, secrets, and lust. Can he find a good footing and emulate the example of his father?

This is the work of a great storyteller and the author does a wonderful job in vividly creating the contrast between the life of an ordinary young man and the vices that come with having too much wealth. The characters are sophisticated and well-developed and I enjoyed the way the protagonist evolves through the story, even if it is frustrating to watch him blunder at times. His actions and aspirations are right for his age and this augments the realism in the story. The relationships between the characters are well-written and the drama is strong with dialogues that feel natural and real. Great prose — even through the audio, the reader can feel that it is a well-written, balanced, and entertaining story. Guardian of Deceit is narrated by William H. Coles and, as the author, he brings to life his characters, observing the punctuation and acting the part of each character brilliantly. It is professionally recorded and there is no distracting background noise. It felt like I was sitting with the author while he told the story of one of his best characters.

Rabia Tanveer

Guardian of Deceit by William H. Coles is the story of Darwin Hasting, a 17-year-old who had no idea how his life was going to change. There was a time when Darwin’s biggest worry was becoming a med student. However, that all changed when his dying aunt sent him away to New York to live with his cousin Luther. Luther was a famous footballer and arrogant. Suddenly, Darwin was learning what it was living like he was invisible, had no worth, and had to fight tooth and nail to avoid the excessive lifestyle of his cousin while also fighting for his right. Could he get what he wanted?

This audiobook was something special because of all the extra effort of the author. The author William H. Coles did a great job narrating the story and capturing the essence of each of his characters. He changed the cadence of his voice when he narrated different characters, and that took the audiobook to a whole new level for me. He added just enough stress when situations were a little rough, made his voice low when Darwin was sad, and added excitement when Darwin was feeling confident.

The author kept the pace steady, allowed readers to catch their breath, and then took them on a roller coaster ride unlike any other. Each character was fully-developed and demanded the attention of readers. Luther had my heart from the beginning, even though he was far too arrogant for my liking, to be honest. But he was developed so craftily that I could not help but like him. Of course, Darwin’s arc was complete as well. It was his coming of age story and he bloomed as the plot reached its conclusion. I loved this audiobook!

Jose Cornelio

Guardian of Deceit by William H. Coles fits perfectly in the categories of coming-of-age and adventure, a story that follows Darwin, who leaves his dying aunt to live with his cousin, a famous football star. Moving from Pittsburgh to New York is a journey that fills the seventeen-year-old boy with excitement, but he quickly learns that his rich cousin, Luther, will prevent his access to the inheritance left him by his parents. He’d grown up with the dream of following a profession in the medical field like his parents but the dynamics of life in Luther’s expensive estate are a huge challenge as he is surrounded by people who are dishonest, lustful, and addictive. In this environment, can he succeed in living up to the image of his father and achieving his dream?

This novel is filled with colorful characters and right from the start, the young protagonist starts developing relationships with people. The author writes interesting details into the lives of the characters and allows the relationships they have with each other to come across in the writing beautifully. They are real and complex. Each character has a world for readers to explore. The author deals deftly with the internal conflict, especially when it comes to the protagonist. From the strong themes of family and personal development to the ingenious plotting, Guardian of Deceit is a great success. I adored the author’s storytelling skills, which are exquisite. The audiobook left me a little breathless to hear his voice, unfettered and real. It is clear and professional, and the entire story comes out nicely.

Foluso Falaye

Seventeen-year-old Darwin Hastings is forced to accept a new lifestyle when his dying aunt sends him to New York to stay with a guardian, who is a wealthy and well-known footballer. Darwin seeks a sense of family and belonging, the type he experienced with his parents when they were still alive. However, he meets a cold atmosphere infused with lavishness, disrespect, stardom, gambling, scandal, and inappropriate sexual urges; Darwin is told he has to earn his keep and is made to stay in a storeroom. While Darwin endeavors to become a doctor like his father, will he be able to maintain his sanity amidst the pressure of fame, wealth, ambition, and sexual tension? Find out in Guardian of Deceit by William H. Coles.

A thrilling coming of age novel! William H. Coles is a master at spinning intricate, well laid out tales that make you feel like a part of the them. The story is hard to predict and includes several themes that are neatly woven together: unrequited love, healthcare fraud, crime, activism, physical abuse, vanity, drug abuse, poker, elitism, and more. Though things don't turn out like I wanted, I enjoyed how the plot progresses and ends. It is much more realistic and understandable as it is because life doesn't always obey our expectations. It was quite fun to navigate through the love triangles and the romantic moments; you should definitely expect a considerable level of eroticism. In general, Guardian of Deceit was very exciting and memorable.

The book is narrated by the author. William H. Coles gives each character a unique voice, which provides clarity on which of the characters is speaking at different points. Whenever I heard a change in the speech mannerisms and voice tones, I could point to whom the narrator portrayed. However, some characters' voices are louder than others, and I had to reduce the volume, which resulted in me having to strain to hear the lower voices as the characters discussed. Still, the fluent and clear pronunciation made my listening smooth and pleasurable to an extent. In fact, both the story and the narration are excellent, and I strongly recommend Guardian of Deceit to anyone seeking a good, exhilarating story.

Rolanda Lyles

An orphaned teenager, Darwin Hastings, goes to live with his cousin Luther, a famous football player. Although his cousin is famous, his household is dysfunctional. Darwin plans to go to a private school and study to be a doctor, but he soon discovers his cousin is bankrupt, and he will have to make other plans to pursue his dreams. His previous guardian had financial arrangements made for him, but Luther has other plans for teaching him responsibility. Or is Darwin being taken advantage of? Everyone in the household has their agendas. Darwin has to forge his path for the future among the conflicting wishes of the others around him. He meets various celebrities and upscale people in Luther's life like his girlfriend, Sweeney, who is a musician. Will Luther's crooked world change Darwin's ultimate goal of becoming a doctor?

A fast-paced story full of celebrities, crooks, untrustworthiness, and lust, William H. Coles' Guardian of Deceit will keep you reading until the end. Coles does a wonderful job of presenting believable characters to his readers. I loved Darwin's character, and that he was willing to work hard and kept a positive attitude even though he was placed in a bad situation. Coles gives the characters great depth and the plot keeps the reader's interest. I am looking forward to reading more of Coles' works.

The narrator of this audiobook is the author himself. Coles is a literary fiction writer and winner of multiple literary awards. Coles was an ophthalmic surgeon specialing in ocular injury repair and reconstruction. His medical experience shows in his writing and the details that he gives to his stories. I love audiobooks where you can "hear" different character voices and forget that you are listening to one narrator. The use of different voices, accents, and tones is fantastic and makes this a great audio "read."

Grace Masso

Guardian of Deceit by William H. Coles is an audiobook. The first audiobook of this author I listened to was Spirit of Want, which had me enthralled. The Art of Creating Story also won me over through the author’s understanding of the different elements of a great story. Guardian of Deceit is the tale of Darwin Hastings, a young man who leaves a dying aunt — who has taken care of him after the demise of his parents — in Pittsburgh and travels to New York to live with his cousin, Luther Pinnelli, a football star. His ambitions of studying medicine after graduating from a private school begin to crumble as he begins a new life in the household of his rich cousin, a self-serving man. Being an intelligent boy, Darwin quickly builds new connections and wins the trust of many, including the grandma, Sweeney Pale, the girlfriend of his cousin, and the head of security. His cousin has a gambling problem and the life of a celebrity is nothing compared to anything Darwin had expected, so he must adapt to a world that is diametrically different from the one he has always wanted to live in.

This is a well-plotted story with strong themes of family, coming-of-age, personal ambition, friendship, and love. The relationship between Darwin and his cousin is well-written and it forms the foundation on which the conflict is developed. The young Darwin doesn’t feel at home in his cousin’s house and it is as if he has to earn the right to become part of the household. He doesn’t even have access to his inheritance; these issues and the inspiration from his parents are elements that fuel the plot and drive the conflict. Characterization and plot are skillfully written, and the personalities of the key characters of the tale are clearly delivered. The pacing in Guardian of Deceit is good, and the reading, done by the author himself, makes it even more enjoyable. The audio is professionally recorded, clear, and delivered in a voice that captures the drama with clarity.

Christian Sia

Guardian of Deceit by William H. Coles follows Darwin Hastings, a seventeen-year-old boy sent to live with his cousin, a rich football player. When Darwin leaves his dying aunt and takes the flight from Pittsburgh to New York, he is excited about a new life. He also has big dreams, and he is determined to follow in the footsteps of his father and become a doctor. He had lost his father five years ago. But the reality when he arrives is quite different — his filthy-rich cousin, Luther, is not what he expected. He does not give Darwin access to his trust fund and Darwin has to work his way through med school, where he gets involved in drugs, gambling, and other unworthy behaviors. Can he navigate his way through a world filled with greed and lust and become the selfless person he has always wanted to be?

This is a coming-of-age story that is beautifully told and the author creates characters that are compelling. I particularly enjoyed the way the protagonist is written and I loved Sweeney, Luther’s girlfriend, and the connection she has with Darwin. The story is filled with realism and readers get a good portrait of what celebrity life looks like and the temptations that accompany having so much wealth. William H. Coles’s trademark for fluid writing is evidenced in Guardian of Deceit, and I enjoyed the vivid and compelling descriptions, the cinematic style of writing, and the dialogues that are excellently captured in the story.

This is an audio book, read by William H. Coles, and in a voice that is strong and arresting. It is professional and readers will appreciate the way the narrator captures the drama that is manifold in the story. A great book with believable characters.