The Restorer by Amanda Stevens
Title: The Restorer
Author: Amanda Stevens
Series: Graveyard Queen Book 1
Publish Date: March 12, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Digital Sales
Genre: Urban Fantasy with a slight hint of Paranormal Romance
Perspective: First Person
Publisher’s 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.
Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel (in other words, SPOILERS!).
I don’t like wine. I like beer. Instant gratification, you know. Feel sexual tension through the pages? Really, Ruby? I think you’ve been sniffing Lucyfer’s catnip. Anyway, I haven’t gotten to book 2 yet, so I don’t know about the filtering of tension whether it be sexual or not. How many books are there? Is this a trilogy?
Yes, there is a second book and a third book AND they are already published. I saw you were whining about the “Discovery of Witches” incident in Sunday’s blog. I didn’t know it was a trilogy until I finished the first book and by then I already had you reading it. Besides Lucyfer prefers sulfur to catnip. What did you think of the four rules?
I really wonder what happened to her Dad to turn her against her gift. I can sort of understand the rules – I mean it could be potentially dangerous. It really intrigues me to figure out her story. Her Mom and Aunt didn’t help matters much.
The creepiest part was how the dead sucked the life out of the living and they never knew the dead were there. Some days, I am so tired that it makes me wonder if I have any dead relatives stealing my energy. When Lucyfer read this book, she wrote the author and asked for detailed instructions on how to suck a person’s life energy.
No spoilers! I enjoy watching you suffer a little plus I need to help you develop patience. I will tell you that The Kingdom (Book 2) is definitely different than Book 1 but it helps to develop Amelia’s story. However, there are still questions at the end that I know will torture you.
1. Never acknowledge the dead.
2. Never stray from hallowed ground.
3. Never associate with those who are haunted.
4. Never, ever tempt fate.
Main characters: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Amelia Gray is a cemetery restorer. She researches how the cemetery would have looked in its prime and tries to clear away the grime from the grave stones and repair what she can. Sometimes there are clues hidden on the gravestones, symbols that mean something to Amelia and she’s the only one that can help solve the murders. John Devlin is a police detective who appears to Amelia to be haunted by something dark or he IS dark. He has a dead wife and daughter and he is emotionally unavailable because of that and also of being drained of his energy because of them.
World: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Takes place in modern Charleston, South Carolina. Nothing about the world is too out of the ordinary except for the ghosts that make appearances. The cool thing is that I got to see South Carolina graveyards vicariously. The history involved was extraordinary.
Story: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Amelia is hired to restore a cemetery because that is her profession. She loves the history and the symbolism on the stones and she really dislikes seeing history in disrepair like no one cars. She sees ghosts and she’s very wary of them because of her father’s warnings to not acknowledge them in any way. It wasn’t revealed why she needed to keep away from them other than they will stick to her and take her energy. She gets drawn into a murder mystery that has all to do with symbolism and the occult. It’s a creepy, get-under-your-skin kind of mystery that had me concerned about Amelia’s well being…..and okay….it had me looking under the bed too. The ghosts, whether malevolent or not, would appear to her with such clarity that sometimes she couldn’t tell if she was seeing a person or apparition. Spooooooky.
Overall: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ I liked the story. I liked Amelia and I really rooted for her and John, but there is something really creepy attached to him and Amelia gets really freaked out (not that I can blame her at all). The mystery was a good one with plenty of twists and turns but very little romance. In fact, I wouldn’t call it romance at all – it’s more a paranormal suspense slash urban fantasy. I am concerned that John doesn’t make much of an appearance in book two, but Amanda Stevens writes so well that I’m sure she’s got a reason. I mean, I can’t always have the Hero and Heroine hook up. Oh, and there isn’t a cliffhanger, but this is a trilogy so there is more going on than just this mystery. It’s definitely worth the time.
Three years ago I desperately pleaded with Nell that she needed to read The Restorer. I told her that it had everything she looked for in a book… smart writing, a mystery, ghosts, dead bodies, sexual tension (O… M… G… THE SEXUAL TENSION), and a kick ass female protagonist that sucks the reader into the story and doesn’t let them go. But like all things Nell, she does what she wants on her own time schedule and that’s why I am reviewing this book almost 1000 days after I read it the first time. Sigh…
Actually, I am not going to admit this to Nell but I was happy to dig this story out again. With the crush of new books and an ever growing “to read” pile, I forget about old favorites and revisiting The Restorer was like going through an old photo album and remembering a friend that I had forgotten.
During my trip down memory lane I tried to piece together how I first happened onto this book. I don’t know how I found out about it but I know what drew me in… Amelia Grey is a cemetery restorer. How cool of a job is that? I don’t remember that being an option during my high school career day because if it had, I think my life would have gone down a very different path. Top that off with the fact that Amelia see ghosts and I know exactly why I picked this book up. Add to it the beautiful writing of Amanda Stevens and her completely unique view of the spirit world and I know why I couldn’t put it down the first time and the second time I read it. In fact, I slurped down the first three books in this series like I was a starving woman and someone just handed me a chocolate and marshmallow ice cream shake.
The fourth book has been elusive and over the years I have followed Amanda Stevens. (Followed, not stalked… There is a difference.) I have read the beginning of a fourth book but the expected publishing date on Goodreads keeps getting pushed back. I hope someday I will be able to make new memories with Amelia Grey but right now I have one piece of advice… Don’t be a Nell and put off reading this book. You don’t know what you are missing.
4 ½ paw prints – I have attempted to contact Ms. Stevens many times so I can learn the secret of how a dead spirit sucks the life force out of a living person. She so exquisitely explains this practice in this novel, and I think this skill is a “must have” for any up and coming demon cat. I look forward to practicing on the dog next door. He doesn’t have much life force to start with but I think it is better if I start small and work my way up to the mailman and then the vet.
If you like this book…
- Kindling Moon (Arcadia Bell series) by Jenn Bennett
- First Grave on the Right (Charlie Davidson series) by Darynda Jones
- Queen of Shadows (Shadow World series) by Dianne Sylvan
- How To Flirt With A Naked Werewolf (Naked Werewolf series) by Molly Harper
- The House on Tradd Street (Tradd Street series) by Karen White
No promotional consideration was granted for this review.