Hello! Me again. I’ve finished two books quite close together, so I’m back with another review for you. Today, let’s take a look at Chasing Azrael by Hazel Butler, archaeologist, artist, and fellow member of the Alliance of Worldbuilders. From Amazon:
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.
I could not put this book down. I stayed up past the witching hour reading this book on more than one occasion and was sorely tempted to just read the whole thing in one sitting, but my day job had other ideas (apparently they like their employees conscious).
At any rate, this was astoundingly well-written, one of the best written debut novels I’ve read in some time. The characters were engaging and realistic, nothing felt forced, the action was superb, and the pacing was just right. I loved the bits of mythology that were woven throughout the tale, but I would have been interested in seeing a bit more of the backstory on some of the ghosts (because I’m the curious type, not because I think it would help the story – it would probably bog it down if it were in there).
Honestly, late at night was the best time to read this book because there was quite a bit going on, which required a level of concentration I’m not usually afforded at my house. It doesn’t have a happily-ever-after ending, but that’s okay because I think the way it ended is the right way for the story to go.
All in all, this is another book I can’t recommend highly enough, and I can’t wait for the next book in the Deathly Insanity series to be released!
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