Not long ago I reviewed the prequel to this book (The Abandoned), which I loved. So I was completely stoked about reading The Restorer. I was not disappointed, don't you love it when you're hyped about something and it's not only everything you hoped it would be, but more? As book readers, you know that books don't always live up to our expectations, but it's so very nice when they do.
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.
Amelia Gray has known that ghosts were real since she was nine years old when she saw one with her very own eyes. Her father (who could also see ghosts) laid down the rules for her, plain and simple:
1. Don't let them know you can see them
2. Stay close to hallowed ground
3. Don't get too close to people who are haunted
4. Don't press your luck with fate
I paraphrased the rules a bit, but you catch my drift. Amelia Gray is very likable, she's got personality and a little spunk, but she's a loner. I mean it's kind of hard to have a social life when you make your living hanging out in graveyards. She has one friend, who's more like an acquaintance, but that's pretty much it. Until Detective John Devlin walks out of the night mist and into her life. Sounds like the makings of a great love story - except this guy has some ghostly baggage.
Mysterious happenings in the Oak Grove cemetery (which Amelia has been commissioned to restore) puts her in the middle of a murder investigation. All her life she has taken great care to live by her father's rules, but her undeniable attraction to John Devlin puts the rules to the test.
The story is well crafted: mystery, intrigue, with a sprinkle of romance. Several of the characters are suspect, so I found myself trying to figure out who the killer was. The ghosts add another layer of complexity to the story. Southern hospitality, secret societies, and buried truths kept me on the edge of my seat...did I mention that Amelia Gray is also a blogger??? That gave her extra cool points.
I strongly recommend this book, especially if you're partial to the undead. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire book and I can hardly wait for the next installment! Other works by Amanda Stevens include: The Dollmaker, The Devil's Footprint, and The Whispering Room all three are now on my TBR.
I give this book:
Check out The Graveyard Queen website for more information about the series, you can even listen to the tunes on Amelia Gray's iPod, and have a glimpse into her passion for cemeteries (the correct term for this is taphophilia). You can also visit the Amanda Stevens website, follow her on Twitter, and friend her on Facebook.