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Chasing Azrael (Deathly Insanity Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Part ghost story and post mystery-thriller, Chasing Azrael is an intriguing and atmospheric read that evokes a distinctly gothic feel. The word that kept coming to mind when I was reading it was creeptastic. Creeptastic descriptions, creeptastic paranormal elements, creeptastic plot. Butler draws you into this dark yet strangely enchanting story that, while set in contemporary times, feels otherworldly. The references to angels of Death and other dark legends, the shadowy tone that envelopes the whole book, the twisted plot – it all comes together to form a sometimes disturbing yet overall entertaining read.
As a protagonist, Andee is relatable yet far from perfect. She's a brilliant university lecturer yet rather awkward and something of a loner. Her personality comes off as prickly and detached at times, yet it's understandable. After all, it can't be easy being haunted by the spirit of someone you love. All kinds of thoughts and emotions swirl beneath the surface, and yet it seems she reveals little of the real Andee to those around her.
All in all, Chasing Azrael is a creeptastic (that word! again!) paranormal mystery and contemporary gothic tale. There are romantic elements, and yet the story isn't an outright romance. I think this book will appeal to anyone who likes their books veiled in shadow and tinted black.
One strong theme in this book is mental illness. I think it's handled very well (not that I truly have any experience with this issue, to be fair). I was struggling for awhile to identify with the main character (Andee, which is short for Andrea). I always found her sympathetic, I just didn't really "get" her at first. But as I read more of the book, as I learned more about her relationship with her deceased husband and her struggles since his death, she started to make sense to me. And by the end of the book, I like where she ended up (and was glad to learn there are planned sequels).
Other characters were also reasonably well-developed, which is especially nice for a first-person POV book like this is. I think we'll learn more about the police officer in sequels; there are hints that there's something more to him. Lily, a friend and fellow professor of Andee's, is mostly a support character. And yet, as I think back, I really know a lot about her by the end of this book. Joshua is, likewise, a friend and fellow professor, and he had me confused for awhile (but, this is explained by certain events we learn of at the end of the book).Read more ›
This book engaged me very quickly, and I ended up reading it over the course of about a day and a half, enjoying the entire experience.
On the surface, this is a psychological thriller/paranormal mystery/romance, and the book adheres to the reasonable expectations readers have for all three of those genres. This perhaps includes some of the less fortunate expectations, such as a bit of gender stereotyping (although not nearly as much as in other books I have read). Deeper down, however, the book deals with mourning and melancholy, differences between, and the intermingling of, grief and depression. It's poignant, and Butler makes you care about her characters.
Which brings me to another refreshing aspect of this book: the sympathetic protagonist. It seems like it has been decades since I have read a book with a likable protagonist. Since the 1990s, most books (the ones for grown ups, anyway) I read have main characters who are insufferably good, insufferably bad, insufferably narcissistic, insufferably clueless, or insufferably quirky. Andee seems human. Smart. Not perfect. Not awful. A little clueless but not completely self-absorbed.
The dialogue is well-crafted, which is good, because there is a lot of it. There is also a fair amount of action. Between those aspects of the story, the book goes fast. I recommend it for romance novel readers, people who like the Vampire Chronicles (this is not as dark but it did feel similar to me), and fans of the various female detective series out there. I do not recommend it for anyone who lacks patience with romance/serial drama themes.
I am very much looking forward to the next installment.
Full disclosure: I received a kindle copy of the book from the publisher so that I could read and review it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It took me a while to get to this book. When I did it took me a longer while to get into it: Psychological aberrations, traumas and toxic relationships are too close to home for... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Joanne Crecco-Davis
Chasing Azrael by Hazel Butler is a paranormal thriller with a little bit of romance thrown into the mix. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Xkoqueen
I kind of fell in love with Andee. Want to know why? She's weird and she isn't afraid to show it. She's damaged. She's smart. She's brave. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amy's Review Obsession
I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
The first thing which caught my attention was the book cover followed by the blurb. Read more
The story really pulls you in from the beginning. I loved the Gothic setting of crumbling buildings and gargoyles with echoes of Lovecraftian universities. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Brad Ashlock
I struggle between four and five stars for this novel. The author has absolutely amazing potential; (something I rarely indicate) yet she overdoes some of her best features. Read morePublished 14 months ago by David G
Murder, ghosts, intimacy, mystery and a lead character that isn't 18! Every thing I love in a good book. I thoroughly enjoyed Chasing Azrael and had a hard time putting it down. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
This book is not only a fantastic debut novel, but a far better entry into the urban fantasy genre than I have read in some time. Read morePublished 22 months ago by L. A. Kane