Skip to main content

The Restorer by Amanda Stevens

The Restorer is the first novel in Amanda Stevens' The Graveyard Queen series that features Amelia Grey. The series takes its name from the nickname Amelia uses on her blog (I think).  Amelia has followed her father into the business of restoring old cemeteries to their former glories.  As a girl she assisted her father in his duties as caretaker of several local cemeteries; he taught her everything she knows about the research, techniques, hard work  and dedication that go into restoring long neglected or abandoned cemeteries.  Like her father, Amelia can see ghosts, and her father has instilled several rules in her life meant to preserve her safety and sanity: among them are never let them know you can see them and stay away from those who are haunted.  But her father has kept secrets from her and this knowledge has driven a wedge between father and daughter and could cost Amelia everything.

Having just taken on the major project of restoring the old and long neglected Oak Grove Cemetery that's affiliated with a local Charleston university, this is the project that could make or break Amelia's business. Those that sit on the Emerson University committee that hired her have valuable connections in the city's power circles and many also sit on the trustee boards of local historical organizations and preservation societies.

However, when a murder victim is found interred on top of an ancient grave in the old cemetery all of this is thrown into peril.  For fifteen years previously another murder victim was discovered in a mausoleum in the same cemetery.  The crime remained unsolved because it was covered up by those in Charleston's power circles who all had connections to Emerson University and the exclusive secret society that operated in the dark shadows of the underworld--its members sworn to secrecy and loyalty at all costs.

The discovery of the first victim brings Detective Devlin into Amelia's life.  He's charismatic, attractive, magnetic, and (quite literally) haunted.  The latter of which makes him automatically off limits to Amelia because the haunted are dangerous to those who can see ghosts.  However, staying away from Devlin is easier said than done when another murder victim is found in a subsequent search of the cemetery grounds.  Before long Amelia is sucked into the mystery of the murders, the shadowy underworld of the cemetery, the dark secret society of the university and the dark netherworld that is home to ghosts and other dark beings.

The story is steeped in the unique Southern culture of Charleston and the local Gullah culture as well as the rich history of the city's cemetery iconography, history and customs--all of which are far more interesting and intriguing than most of the characters that populate the book.  The twist in the ending is enough to bring readers back for more in the second installment of the series.  Fans of supernatural mysteries will enjoy this read.

--Reviewed by Ms. Angie

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Broken by Karin Slaughter

Before I begin the formal review there are a few things I need to get off my chest in the wake of finishing this book; I'll do so without giving away too many (or any) spoilers.
The OUTRAGE!: the identity of Detective Lena Adams' new beau; the low depths to which Grant County's interim chief has sunk and brought the police force down with him; agent Will Trent's wife, Angie's, sixth sense/nasty habit of reappearing in his life just when he's slipping away from her. Thank God for small miracles though because while Angie was certainly referred to during the book, the broad didn't make an appearance. One sign that I've become way too invested in these characters is that I'd like to employ John Connolly's odd pair of assassins, Louis and Angel, to contract out a hit on Angie; do you think Karin Slaughter and John Connolly could work out a special cross over?
Hallelujah: Dr. Sara Linton and agent Will Trent are both back. There is no hallelujah for…

Crow Lake by Mary Lawson

When the end came, it seemed to do so completely out of the blue, and it wasn't until long afterward that I was able to see that there was a chain of events leading up to it. Some of those events had nothing to do with us, the Morrisons, but were solely the concern of the Pyes, who lived on a farm about a mile away and were our nearest neighbors." from page seven
I must confess that it took me longer than it really needed to in order to finish the novel Crow Lake by Mary Lawson. The entire story is building up to the big catastrophe that forever destroys all the hopes and dreams the Morrison clan ever dared to hope and dream for its future. In the eyes of the narrator, it is even worse than the tragedy of the car crash that claimed both parents' lives one evening on the heels of some good news the family has received and celebrated. Now you can see why I dreaded getting to the end of a book that drips in foreboding like nobody's business. What can be a worse tra…

In The Woods by Tana French

"What I warn you to remember is that I am a detective. Our relationship with the truth is fundamental, but cracked, refracting confusingly like fragmented glass. It is the core of our careers, the endgame of every move we make, and we pursue it with strategies painstakingly constructed of lies ... and every variation on deception. The truth is the most desirable woman in the world and we are the most jealous lovers, reflexively denying anyone else the slightest glimpse of her. We betray her routinely ... This is my job ... What I am telling you, before you begin my story, is this--two things: I crave truth. And I lie." opening lines of In The Woods chapter 1, pages 3-4
In The Woods by Tana French, an Irish writer, is an extremely well-written and well-crafted mystery novel. The downside is that this is French's debut novel, and her website (located at http://www.tanafrench.com/) does not offer any insi…