by Amanda Stevens
The marketing blurb:
NEVER ACKNOWLEDGE THE DEAD.
NEVER STRAY FROM HALLOWED GROUND.
NEVER GET CLOSE TO THE HAUNTED.
NEVER, EVER TEMPT FATE.
My father's rules.I've never broken them...until now.
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.
Amanda Stevens' storytelling provoked a lot of feelings from me. I was thrilled by the mystery, mesmerized by the details of the South Carolina scenery, confused by the twisting plot and clues, fascinated with the history and Gullah folklore and tingled from the slow kindling romance between Amelia and Devlin. This is one of the first paranormal thrillers or murder mysteries for me and I'm happy it was The Restorer. I really didn't anticipate enjoying it as much as I did.
Literally, I could not keep from going through the pages (from netgalley) on my laptop. I sometimes wished I had the published copy to nestle in bed in lamplight to better physically enjoy the reading, lol. I sat reading every chapter after exciting chapter. Constantly there were things surfacing and eerie circumstances that had me taut in expectation.
Amelia was a character I easily related with and she felt real to me. As did the other characters, including the mysteriously dark and haunting Devlin. Though there wasn't a lot of sexual interaction and such as some other paranormal romances I still felt myself crushing and coming to ideas of the characters. The flirting with danger was exciting and had me craving more, even if it was just lukewarm physical romancing.
The thrills of solving the murder and a possible serial murderer on Amelia's track had served enough to my attention honestly. It kept me guessing. When it came to the idea that the killer could be someone in the midst of their circle I kept trying to set clues together to get an easy answer, but as the elaborate twists and clues continued to reveal, I was staggering and quite surprised by the outcome. Kind of like, "I should have known..." in the end. But I was glad it wasn't an easy puzzle that had a disappointing end.
In fact, there are still quite a few unanswered questions I have. No doubt that's to lure readers to the next book of the Graveyard Queen series, but I don't mind it. I'd happily pick it up to again be dazzled by details of the Charleston landscape, haunting old graveyards needing to be restored, spooky spirits leaking through the veil and the outcome of Amelia's relationship with the poor haunted Devlin. Maybe even another murder mystery?
I give it 4.5 (since I'm still guessing) if not 5 stars.
Book Details:ISBN: 9780778329817
Imprint: MIRA Books
Publish Date: April 26th, 2011
Genre: Paranormal Thriller, Romance, Murder Mystery
Point of View: First person
Stand Alone / Series: 1st in the Graveyard Queen series
Purchase information: Amazon
MIRA books website: MIRA
Author's website: Amanda Stevens