Chasing Azrael by Hazel Butler
(Deathly Insanity #1)
Publication date: April 23rd 2014
Genres: Gothic, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
When Andee Tilbrook’s husband died, her preoccupation with death turned to obsession. Thanks to her unique ability to commune with the dead, her husband remains all too close, yet never close enough.
Mired in grief, she clings to James’s spirit, slowly losing touch with the world, her friends, and any desire to continue living. But when her friend Josh becomes the target of Natalya, a jealous, capricious and violent Russian beauty, Andee somehow finds the strength to free herself from her misery long enough to help him.
They soon discover that Natalya is wanted by the police for her involvement in a series of grisly murders, and Andee is dragged into the inquiry by the same man who investigated her own husband’s death. Torn between new feelings for Josh, and fear that he might be involved in the murders that seem to threaten anyone who comes close, Andee must face the realities of her life, her past, and her very nature-and do it all in time to save her own life.
Chasing Azrael was an atmospheric page-turner. By the time I picked this one up, I had no idea what it was about anymore. It turned out to be so much better than anticipated; an incredible mix of the paranormal and Russian folklore with a mystery surrounding a series of murders and dealt with issues such as mental illness, depression and obssession.
The main character Andee is an archaeologist but also has a strange gift which is very helpful to her in her career; she can see, communicate and interact with ghosts! Awesome, right? She is a troubled soul struggling with depression almost all her life but even more so in the wake of her husband, James, death. He too had his demons but Andee loved him nonetheless even though she didn’t know as much as she thought she knew about him and his ‘condition’.
The more the story unfolds, the more we get to see the strange but intense relationship these two had, and it’s very touching yet at times left me mad that she went through so much grief in the name of love, just because really important information about the truth of James problems that could have helped her, was kept from her by the people who she is closest to. Sad, very sad.
There is a lot more to the story including a vengeful ghost out for blood, so powerful and driven by rage that she is corporeal and able to impact the physical world. She manages to convince just about anyone who had seen her that she was alive. Andee has to use her unique gifts, even at the risk of persons labelling her as crazy, if she is to save the people she loves and herself, because the ghost has also been tasked with taking her life.
The characters , both main and supporting are so well written that I daresay the author has drawn upon personal experiences with some of the issues dealt with in Chasing Azrael. I like the way the Title is woven throughout the story until the meaning becomes clear.
There are so many cool elements within this story that I could probably write a book about them. This is one you will want to read and experience for yourself. I can promise that you will not see some of the twists coming and they will leave you gasping in shock. If I had any issues with this, it’s that at times it seemed like it was meandering which made it seem longer than it was.
Overall, an engrossing , suspenseful, atmospheric, somewhat dark and spooky tale, with quite a few unpredicitable often shocking twists and reveals, which translates into a highly entertaining and gripping read. I most definitely recommend this to those who like their tales suspenseful mixed with a a bit of spookiness, and their protaganists broken and flawed.
Hazel is an author, artist and archaeologist from Cheshire, England. She is currently in the final year of her PhD, which focuses on Gender Dynamics in Late Iron Age and Early Medieval Britain. She has two archaeological papers published in international journals, as well as several research papers published through Bangor University and the University of Vienna.
Hazel has also published Out of the Dark (an edited volume of Gothic art work, showcasing over thirty artists from around the world), All the Night-Tide (a collection of Gothic/Steampunk fusion short stories based on the poems of Edgar Allan Poe), and ‘Grave’, a short story included in Willow, Weep No More, a fairy tale anthology giving female characters more agency in their roles. Her new novella, Bleizgeist, is a Dark Fantasy tale about a young woman’s isolation and social ostracism due to her unique magical abilities, and her struggle to accept her true nature.
Tour-wide giveaway (US/CAN)
- 5 x signed copies of Chasing Azrael
- 2 art prints of the Chasing Azrael cover
- ends March 10th: