Book Four of The Castle Chronicles

Fiction - Supernatural
322 Pages
Reviewed on 12/19/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Voted one of Cleveland's best fiction writers, Michael has written several thrillers and dark fantasy novels. These include “The Castle Chronicles” series, the short story collection "Bits & Bites: Tales from a Twisted Mind," the psychological thriller "The Haunting of Matthew Keys,” and his bestselling dystopian thriller, “THE FALL”

    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

Deceived is the fourth book in The Castle Chronicles by Michael S. Vassel. Mark is dead. Thinking that he can finally find peace, he hopes to find a nice corner to spend eternity in when he is approached by Shane to do something very strange. With no choice, Mark takes up the unique job, helping souls get to their afterlife. Finally, Mark thinks he is seen as a good guy rather than a freak. He should have known this was all too good to last long. Before he knew it, an evil soul of a witch escapes before Mark could take it to Hell. Now somewhere in the mortal realm, Mark has to follow her there, find her, and then cast the spell Shane gave him to banish her back to hell. Sounds simple enough, right? Not really, especially considering that Mark is vulnerable against the witch in the mortal realm. Can he get the job done? Or has being dead stolen the spark?

Very few paranormal novels excite me anymore. With one too many paranormal romance novels in the market, it is very hard to find a genuine novel that follows the genre to the “t.” Deceived exceeded all of my expectations, and let me tell you, I had very high hopes for this novel. Mark’s character is fantastic. He is sarcastic, a little sassy, and very witty. Each dialogue is a treat, and each chapter shares a new aspect about Mark’s personality. I loved the flow of the story and especially enjoyed how smoothly the author transitioned from one chapter to the other. Michael S. Vassel kept the mystery alive until the very last moment and allowed readers to come to their own conclusions before proving them all wrong with a surprising new twist. The pace is perfect and allows Mark to grow and become a well-rounded character. This novel is perfection to the very last word!

K.C. Finn

Deceived is a work of fiction in the supernatural genre, and serves as the fourth installment of the Castle Chronicles series. It is suitable for the general reading audience and was penned by Michael S. Vassel. The book continues the story of Mark and his allies following Mark’s death. Given gainful employment in the afterlife, Mark takes satisfaction in his work guiding souls to their final rest, that is until one spirit escapes with the intention to do great harm to the world of the living. Now Mark has been brought back to life to seek out and recover the runaway soul before the wake of destruction grows too vast to stop.

In any other series, the death of the protagonist would bring about the end of the saga. Not so here as Michael S. Vassel's rich and well-established worldbuilding provides plenty more adventures for his hero to have. Not resting on the laurels of the previous installments, we initially see Mark adjusting to a radically new lifestyle that pushes him well outside of his established comfort zone and lets the audience learn more about the character in a new context. This also allows for some excellent development of the world of the Castle Chronicles with the afterlife being fleshed out and explored further. Mark’s new perspective isn’t wasted when Deceived shifts gears into the more familiar hunt for a supernatural entity, and fans of the series will be delighted by the freshness that this latest installment brings to the table.

Vincent Dublado

Deceived is the fourth book in The Castle Chronicles by Michael S. Vassel, one that continues to have the sleek, popular supernatural touch with the right blend akin to a good cup of morning coffee. Mark Castle has a new job: He becomes a judge in the Nabukur that helps guide souls to their final rest in Irkalla. Feeling that he has no say in the matter and led to believe that he is the only one who could do it, Mark accepts the position to help his friend, Shane. As he adjusts to his new profession while feeling glad to be the good guy for once, a fugitive spirit reenters the world of the living. Mark knows that this fugitive soul named Paige is a skillful reader of petroglyphs who escaped from Irkalla to visit a rock to find out what it hides. Paige has hurt people and destroyed souls back in the Netherworld. To bring her back, he will have to make her choose between easy and difficult.

Now a dead hitman is something that you don’t get to read about every day in the oversaturated world of supernatural and paranormal book series. As a character, Mark has just the right chops worthy of pulling off the story’s highly speculative premise. It is fun to tail along with him as he tracks his target. Deceived is brash but graceful enough, thanks to Michael S. Vassel’s first-person POV narrative that pokes around in a world that you can only see inside your head. I can mention films like M.I.B. or R.I.P.D. that have the same vein as Deceived, but this story carves its own identity and reminds you there is always room for stories with their own inspired twists. Fans of supernatural stories will likely enjoy this.