Thursday, April 28, 2011

ARC Review: The Restorer by Amanda Stevens

The Restorer (Graveyard Queen)
Author: Amanda Stevens
Publication: Mira; Original edition (April 19, 2011)

Description: 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.

My Thoughts: This was a great spooky mystery. Amelia is used to ignoring the ghosts she sees around her. But when murdered girls start showing up in the cemetery she is restoring and the detective assigned is accompanied by the ghosts of his dead wife and daughter, Amelia has trouble following the rules she has lived by since she was nine.

This story was rich in Southern traditions. The cemetery is Oak Grove Cemetery and it is on the campus of Emerson in Charleston, South Carolina. As Amelia gets involved in the case she finds that so many of the players were Emerson graduates - her boss when she worked for the State Anthropologist, the detective in charge of the case, a former teacher who is now a paranormal investigator. The secrets and traditions of the school keep popping up as Amelia investigates.

I liked the spookiness of the various ghosts who appear. I liked the Gullah traditions. I liked the sort of tentative romance that developed between John Devlin, the police investigator, and Amelia. Both had major stumbling blocks. Amelia has spent her life avoiding those who are haunted and John isn't ready to let go of the memories of his wife and daughter. 

The mystery has clues and red herrings aplenty. There were lots of twists and turns in the story. I can't wait to read the sequel -- but I have to wait until November.

Favorite Quote:
Gooseflesh popped at my nape. "Do you know who killed Hannah Fischer?"

"That's something you'll have to figure out."

"You don't mean me literally, I hope."

"Hannah Fischer's body was left in that grave for a reason. find the reason, find the killer."

"I'm not a detective."

"But you know cemeteries. And that just might be the key."
I received the eARC for review from Mira Books via NetGalley. You can purchase the book in paperback or Kindle editions.

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