Series: Graveyard Queen, #1
Published by Mira on April 19th 2011
Genres: Ghosts, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
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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.
With the anticipation of Halloween on the horizon, I’ve been in the mood lately for some creepy ghostly reads. After witnessing several of my blogger friends review a new book by Amanda Stevens, I knew I had to go back to the beginning.
So I was introduced to The Restorer and Amelia Gray. Amelia grew up most of her life centering on graveyards. She also has a secret, she can see the ghosts. In order to protect herself from the dead, her father had passed out a very strict set of rules that she had held on to until John Devlin stepped into her life.
A body was uncovered in the cemetery that Amelia had been commissioned to restore and John thinks that there might be something in her pictures or her knowledge that might have them uncover the killer.
I absolutely enjoyed every bit of this book. It was perfect for the cold, gloomy, rainy days that we just got and made it impossible to put it down. The weather here, coupled with the writing of Stevens has made the book very atmospherically heavy. It added to the mood and the chills and thrills.
I liked Amelia and felt her character was very true to self for someone that was just tossed into a very different world. The connection between her and John makes me especially giddy for the upcoming books. John is haunted, he has his ghost, literally that follow him. It’s against Amelia’s rules to get attached to anyone who is haunted, but an unexplained attraction has both of them pulling towards each other. It complicates things, and really makes me wonder how it will play out.
The book was written well, the mystery was a bit dark, but it was the unexplained and the surroundings that gave me the most chills. I figured out who the killer is half way through the book, but it was still interesting to follow the characters as they unravel the secrets of the death and break the code that the killer keeps sending through the cemetery.
I felt like there was a bit of mystery left in the air about the order that was questioned in the book, and wonder if it is something that will become important or get addressed in other books.
I’ve been very happy lately, just sitting back and picking up books I’ve been in the mood to read, even if they are not ARCs. I’ve been impressed with Steven’s first book and already have the second one waiting to be read.
“Don’t look at him.”
I turned in surprise. “You see him, too?”
“Yes, I see him. Now get back to work.”
“But who is he-”
“I said don’t look at him!”
“Do you mind?” Devlin cut in. “If it’s not too much trouble, I’d like to hear your initial assessment.”
“Of Amelia?” Regina gave me a wink. “Lovely girl, handled herself well on camera.”
“I’m talking about the remains,” he said drily.
“Oh, him. Dead as a doornail.”
“Why did you come here tonight?” I asked softly. “Earlier, you said I need to distance myself from the investigation.”
“And I meant it.”
“Then why are you here?”
“Because I can’t stay away.”