by Amanda Stevens
Series: Graveyard Queen #1
Published by: Harlequin
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
My name is Amelia Gray. I'm a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts. In order to protect myself from the parasitic nature of the dead, I've always held fast to the rules passed down from my father. But now a haunted police detective has entered my world and everything is changing, including the rules that have always kept me safe.It started with the discovery of a young woman's brutalized body in an old Charleston graveyard I've been hired to restore. The clues to the killer—and to his other victims—lie in the headstone symbolism that only I can interpret. Devlin needs my help, but his ghosts shadow his every move, feeding off his warmth, sustaining their presence with his energy. To warn him would be to invite them into my life. I've vowed to keep my distance, but the pull of his magnetism grows ever stronger even as the symbols lead me closer to the killer and to the gossamer veil that separates this world from the next.
I read a review on a blog about The Restorer and immediately downloaded it for my nook. Sadly I cannot remember who reviewed it, but thank you so much! I love crime mysteries and when you wrap it in a little paranormal woo-woo I begin to drool. Amanda Stevens delivered a beautiful, dark, chilling mystery with a side of sexual tension. I quickly became swept up in this tale, the characters, and the crime. The opening sentence “I was nine when I saw my first ghost.” grabbed me and the tale kept me enthralled.
Amelia Gray is a cemetery restorer and has quickly built a reputation for herself. She also has a successful blog showcasing old cemeteries which have made her recognizable. Since she was nine she has been cursed with a gift she shares with her father. She can see ghosts and her father taught her rules that she must follow to keep herself safe. Rule number one never acknowledges them. Until now she has always followed the rules. When a haunted, smexy, dark, brooding police detective asks for her assistance after discovering a dead body in the cemetery she is restoring everything changes. When the clues to solve the murder(s) involve symbols on the headstones she realizes she may be the only one who can help them catch a killer.
I really connected with the protagonist Amelia. She is quiet, refined, intelligent and confident in her profession. She also seems very lonely and guarded. I loved her profession and the fact that she blogs and enjoys it so much had me smiling. John Devlin is a police officer, a true southern gentleman and he oozed smexy. John has suffered from a horrific loss and it shows in his eyes and the lines on his devastatingly handsome face. He unnerves Amanda and she struggles with her attraction to John on so many levels. I adored the tango these two danced. Their tale is just beginning and I get goose bumps just thinking about it. I love the secondary characters and the southern door Stevens opens for us. I am really looking forward to learning more about all of them.
Stevens is a breathtakingly gifted writer. She brought Charleston and its historical district to life. I could see, hear, taste and smell the world she immersed me in. Her attention to detail and the facts surrounding these old neglected cemeteries captivated me. The mystery itself was filled with twists, foreboding and an air of believability that had me chilled. The twist she put on ghosts and Amelia’s gift is completely original and the back-history on these entities was freaky-tastic! The flow of the novel was wonderful, and Steven’s descriptive writing style kept me reading late into the night. I am in love with this writer and must read more of this series. My favorite type of series are ones that can be read as a standalone, but also have subplots, romances etc running through them. Where each book solves a case, shows character development and further advances these overall sub- plot. This appears to be the recipe Stevens is using. Eep! I have not been this excited since reading The Passage by Justin Cronin and if you know me at all, you are rushing to order this book!
I recommend The Restorer to fans of mystery, urban fantasy and paranormal suspense. This book totally rocked my face off and Stevens has made my auto buy list. The Kingdom is the next book in the Graveyard Queen series which is calling me from my nook. Look for my review next month.
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