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All these subtle deceits - by C.S.Humble

It's my fault.

I bought this book late - I’d seen Mother Horror raving about it, and Ross Jefferey and Catherine McCarthy endorsing the second book in the series, but still hung back from committing myself to it due simply to lack of available time. I knew I couldn't commit to reading it because of commitments to editing. That attitude changed after reading Humble’s short "Ambush Predator" in the Human Monsters anthology (also reviewed HERE, in which he gets a shout-out too). His voice was wonderful and distinctive, so I quickly scooped this up and saved it for a time when I could commit to it - so right after I completed editing on an ARC I received.

I went into the story blind and hadn’t read any of the reviews, but straight away there were similar elements to Hellblazer (Constantine), which is always a good sign :D I’m not saying the characters are the same, but there’s evidence of tipping the hat to the genre here. Instead of cigarettes, there’s a pipe (possibly an acknowledgement of sherlock holmes perhaps, and the whole detective genre?). The trenchcoat...

Enough with the similarities - Deceits reads well - very smooth, Humble’s voice here is honey, and the character development is wonderful. All of the characters involved are rounded off, there’s not a sharp edge or loose thread to be seen. The plot is straightforward yet compelling, and Humble sows his seeds for sequels aplenty, with established characters peppering the book and brought in fully fleshed to make guest appearances.

One gets the feeling that those characters are MCs in their own rights, stars from other stories that will be completed at some point in the future. The overall world-spanning arc and world-building here take centre stage. A hunter that hunts werewolves? So there will be werewolves in future editions? The spin-offs are endless, and the world-building, as stated, vast and exciting in its possibilities.

There are moments in the book, such as an exorcism, that leap from the page, Humble deftly introducing lore into the narrative as effortlessly as I’ve seen, that elevate the whole package into something almost sexy - it’s the tease and reveal of things you have been lead to expect, to need the answers to, for those answers to be waiting for you just around the corner. Our expectations and desire for answers climax at exactly the time and place Humble wants them to.

It’s solid storytelling.

The ending leaves the possibility of the femme fatal becoming the MC’s secretary, of course (I saw that one coming the moment it was mentioned he had none), which would be a crowd pleaser, to be sure, and would lend credence to the whole crossover set up I described above. It doesn’t surprise me that the next book deals with other characters - the world Humble has created is bursting with too much potential to stifle it with just one set of lead characters.

This gets 5 out of 5 stars. It would have gotten that on the world-building alone. I look forward to the world expanding, and all the horror that lives underneath the surface of Black Wells bursting out, one mesmerizing book at a time.


You can buy All these subtle deceits, by clicking on the appropriate Amazon link below:

You can visit C.S.'s website, HERE

You can find C.S on Twitter, HERE

You can find C.S. on Facebook, HERE

You can find C.S. on Instagram, HERE


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1 Comment

Priscilla Bettis
Priscilla Bettis
Dec 27, 2022

A writing voice like honey, that sounds like a pleasure to read. Good review!


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