Title: The Restorer
Author: Amanda Stevens
Genre: Paranormal Mystery with Strong Romantic Elements
Release Date: April 26, 2011
List Price: $14.95
Blurb: Amelia Gray has lived her life by the rules passed on by her father about the seeing of ghosts. Some rules weren’t made to be broken.
Why I chose this title: I heard about it in the Library Journal 2011 Spring Announcements Webcast and it appealed to my enjoyment of mystery, romance and paranormal
Review: Atmospheric and moody, this story perfectly evokes the idea of Southern Gothic. This is the first of a planned series, called The Graveyard Queen. Amelia Gray is a cemetery restorer and a trained archaeologist. The details about her profession woven throughout the story made me regret not taking the class on the topic when I was in college (my undergrad degree is in Anthropology). Me regretting not taking a class is a rare occurrence, so it is to the author’s credit that I do. Stevens weaves a world caught in the between space of twilight, both in the real world and the spirit world. Tensions ratchet up when Gray is compelled to break the rules her father laid out when he realized she could also see ghosts. The change is precipitated by her meeting a Charleston police detective, John Devlin. He is one of the haunted, which her father forbade contact with. The investigation of murders within the confines of the cemetery she is restoring makes her ignoring him impossible, even if the compulsion to discover more about the attraction between them wasn’t so strong. The main story is a page turner by itself, but the secondary stories of Devlin’s ghosts, a murdered police detective and Amelia’s parents’ relationship and histories will make readers gnash their teeth until the next book in the series releases in August. Recommended for fans of the atmosphere of Berendt’s “In the Garden of Good and Evil” and Deanna Raybourn’s Lady Julia Grey series. Recommended to libraries with diverse mystery collections and patrons who enjoy mysteries with strong romantic elements.
Final thought: The promising start of a series for fans of mystery and romance.