Review: The Restorer (Graveyard Queen #1) by Amanda Stevens

Author: Amanda Stevens
Publisher: Mira
Publication Date: April 19th, 2011
Source: ebook (bought)


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 is not only a cemetery restorer but also a very successful blogger. In her blog, she shares her passion for cemeteries and their restoration. That is why they call her the Graveyard Queen, a title some would consider dark and gory but she actually loves. Graveyards are her little kingdom, the only place she feels completely safe and at peace.
For someone who works so close to death, it may be surprising that she can also see ghosts, even if she has to obey to her father's rules. He said they were made to keep her safe.
When she starts working in a Charleston cemetery a woman's brutalized body is discovered on the grounds. She ends up getting too close to Devlin, a police detective that is haunted by his dead wife and daughter. With this, she completely breaks her father's rules and risks herself to things she does not comprehend.
After being asked by Devlin to assist in the investigation, Amelia gets deeper and deeper into a scary world of violence, death, abuse and secret societies. While she recognizes she's putting herself in danger, she cannot abandon John Devlin and this investigation.
At first, I thought this was going to be a very dark book - also that I should not read it at night in case I would get scared. This story surprised me in a very good way. The dark details intertwined with the love aspect and the overall mystery of the story itself make it deeply appealing and addicting.
All the characters have many layers and even at the end of the book you still have not seen them all, some mystery is unveiled but a lot of it remains still. The author was able to create situations that make you feel happy, sad and also scared (really really scared). When you are able to create empathy with the characters you are reading about you end up knowing how well constructed they actually are.
I would not call this a "horror" story but still if you are scared of spirits and ghosts and serial killers maybe be cautious of reading this book. On the other hand, it is absolutely engrossing and amazing and I loved it! I'll be continuing to read the series and only hope that it keeps getting better as I go along.

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