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Monday, April 25, 2011

The Restorer by Amanda Stevens

The Restorer by Amanda Stevens
Book 1 in the Graveyard Queen Series
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (376 pages)
Heat Level: sensual
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Sunflower

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.

Most of us don't know it, but the dead roam around this earth just as we do. They are restless spirits, looking for warmth and solace in those who can see them. Yes, there are people who can. Some of them choose to embrace their gift. Some of them, however, must not give in to the temptation. Because once you allow yourself to embrace that gift, to give in to the dead, it opens up a whole new dimension - one that changes your life drastically. The ghosts will follow you until you give them what they want. Most just need closure to move on. Some of them are after your soul. For Amelia Grey, her Papa has always given her simple rules to follow. She saw her first ghost at a young age. Confused, she turns to her father for questions. And that's when he tells her his four rules. Because Papa can see them, too.

Amelia has done well for herself up until now. The ghosts have always been around her. Having a job that deals with being at a cemetery, that'll do it. She's now helping in part of an ongoing investigation. The man that's on the case is both irresistible and haunted. Despite those rules hammered in her mind, she is drawn to John Devlin, and the ghosts that follow him.

I can say with full honesty that while reading this, icy tentacles of fear and excitement ran up and down my body. My gut clenched and my heart pounded. The Restorer is one of the most eerie, haunting books I've read in a long time. Every creak of my house settling had me jumping. I left the lights on while reading. Yes, I even looked over my shoulder to make sure no one stood behind me.

Ms. Stevens created such chilling suspense that I questioned the motives of each character. Secrets were unveiled and I wondered who had been hiding what. The vivid details weaved throughout the story had my imagination working in overdrive. I am fascinated by the paranormal and loved reading about a heroine who can see the dead. The imagery of ghosts energy fading off in the twilight, the gut-wrenching emotion Amelia, John Devlin, and others felt, I felt too. I am even getting chills again while writing this.

I never would have guessed the ending of the book. The further the reader gets into the story, the more intense it gets. Ms. Stevens comes back in full force with The Restorer, and you won't want to miss it! If you love a haunting story full of ghosts, secrets, an extraordinary heroine, mystery and murder, then this book is for you. Though, you might want to read it during the day, when the ghosts are at bay.