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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

49) The Restorer by Amanda Stevens

The Blurb -

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 Review -

When I read the blurb for this book I knew I had to read it. Murder, ghosts and cemeteries! It sounded too good to be true. The Restorer promised so much just from the description and I couldn't resist giving it a go. So when I sat down to read this I have to admit I had quite a few expectations. Which might be the reason why I had a couple problems with this one.

Everything started off well and I was intrigued about what Amelia did for a living. Things progressed nicely and I enjoyed the very unique, if not clichéd, concept of a cemetery restorer being able to see ghosts. Although all the time I felt Amelia's 'gift' was never really discussed or explored fully. The whole seeing ghosts aspect, while helpful in the murder case, seemed to be taboo and was just a huge conflict in her life. For someone who has been able to see ghosts since a very young age, Amelia was more scared than I was of the ghostly figures.

Then after a while the story became a little confusing. Events kept happening back to back with no time to really process what happened. I had the feeling that the author just needed to get that little clue in quick so the time line would work. Also characters kept popping up and disappearing again before I could even get a feel for them. This left me frustrated because obviously one of them was going to be the murderer. To top things off the plot, while getting thicker, seemed to be missing something that held it together. Actually the climax of finding out who did 'it' and why they did it was squashed in the last chapter like the author had run out of time and paper and needed to finish the story as quickly as possible.

It is hard to say which genre this book really fits into. It seems the book itself didn't know where it belonged either. At points I believed this to be a normal mystery thriller but of course the ghost aspect gives it a paranormal feel. Then again the amateur sleuthing skills do point towards a cozy mystery but this came across as far too serious snuggle up with. Also while Amelia was in her late twenties I also got a Young Adult vibe from this one at times. Maybe it was just Amelia's character coming across as younger?

Amelia's relationship with Devlin and her family is something I look forward to reading about in the sequel. Her character developing into something more than a fragile naive young woman is something I hope will come about in rest of this series. While I am a little conflicted about this one I do want to see what happens next. The Restorer is original and has a certain something special. For a first in a series it did well and I hope it will grow into a smashing series. There are worse reads out there!

The Restorer is due for release on April 19th.


Aurian said...

Nice review, but I do not think this is one for me.

Sharon S. said...

I loved the book. It was very haunting and dark. I thought the prose was very descriptive and I felt like I was there.