Friday, July 11, 2014

The Restorer Review


"I was nine when I saw my first ghost."

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.

"Not everyone can see them," he said.  "For those of us who can, there are certain precautions we must take in order to protect ourselves and those around us.  The first and most important is this--Never acknowledge the dead.  Don't look at them, don't speak to them, don't let them sense your fear.  Even when they touch you."

A chill shimmied over me.  "They...touch you?"

"Sometimes they do."

"And you can feel it?"

He drew a breath.  "Yes.  You can feel it."

My Review:

Have you ever read a book that's been on your 'to be read' list a long time and upon finishing,  you think "Why didn't I read this sooner?"  The Restorer is that book!    Some time ago, I purchased this book for Kindle and added the audio version to my phone...and then forgot about it.  A couple days ago, I needed a book to listen to while driving, opened Audible on my phone, and this book popped up...I swear I didn't choose it, it chose me.  Creepy considering it's about a girl who sees ghosts!  Out of curiosity, I hit 'Play' and was immediately hooked by the haunting, almost eerie narrating of Kristine Hvam.  She nails not only the ole southern drawl but also the sultry atmosphere of the South, rich in history, tradition, politics....and ghosts. 

Amanda Stevens delivers an eerie thriller in The Restorer.  Beautifully written, the prose is poetic, almost lyrical as it flows from the pages, conjuring not only the surreal images but also the seductive, almost other-worldly ambiance of the ole South found in and around areas like Charleston.  Outsiders (anyone not born & raised here) will feel like they've stepped into another world.  I found myself hypnotized from the start, drawn like a moth to a flame.   This haunting story unfolds as  Amelia Gray, a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts and John Devlin, an emotionally tortured police detective who is haunted by the ghosts of his wife & daughter, join forces to catch a who is leaving dead bodies in the cemetery that Amelia is restoring.  The killer is communicating with Amelia through her blog site...sending cryptic messages hidden in tombstone epitaphs.  Written in first person POV, we see it all through Amelia's eyes - yes, even the ghosts she encounters along the way...some are sad, lost & searching while others are dark, evil, & looking to possess.  All are haunting as Amanda Stevens literally breathes life into every single one...they creep off the pages to grab you & become just as real as any human character you will encounter during this chilling journey.  I've never read a ghost or paranormal story that was more believable, more realistic yet other-worldly, more haunting.

Is it paranormal romance?  It delves deeply into the world of ghosts and the undead and yet it is unlike any pnr book I've ever read.  There is certainly a romantic element as the sexual tension grows between Amelia and John as their relationship deepens.  However, if you're looking for a hot & heavy, burn up the sheets romance, this is not it.   Mystery/Suspense?  Undeniably!  It's an intriguing, spooky, ominous, make you look over your shoulder thriller that had me turning pages as fast as I could.  Fortunately, I finished this book in the daylight.  Twilight is the time when the veil lifts and the ghosts emerge seeking to feed off our energy and bask in our warmth.

  Dusk is a dangerous time for people like me.  An in-between time just as the seashore and the edge of a forest are in-between places.  The Celts had a name for these landscapes--caol' ait.  Thin places where the barrier between our world and the next is but a gossamer veil.   

A mysterious, odd array of supporting characters, both ghosts & humans, add to the suspense and intrigue as this story unfolds.  The pace frantically builds as the murders continue, and the danger in which Amelia finds herself, from both the living & the dead, escalates to a thrilling ending.  I flew through the final pages with my heart  pounding.  Fans of Suspense/Thrillers and Paranormal - This is a must read!  It is a mesmerizing, chilling, and yet beautifully touching read.  A Page Burner!!

My Rating:  5 Gorgeous ♥♥♥♥♥'s...And that's the truth!

Cross My


"...what the dead want more than anything is to be a part of our world again.  They're like parasites, drawn to our energy, feeding off our warmth.  If they know you can see them, they'll cling to you like blight.  You'll never be rid of them.  And your life will never again be your own."
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Tall, broad-shouldered and dressed all in black, he might have stepped from the dreamy hinterland of some childhood fable.  I could barely make out his features, but I knew instinctively that he was handsome and brooding.  The way he carried himself, the almost painful glare of his eyes through the mist, sent icy needles stinging down my spine.

He was no ghost, but dangerous to me nonetheless and so compelling I couldn't tear my gaze away as he moved toward me.  
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"Somebody uh-comin' for dis gal.  Somebody with a soul black as midnight.  Somebody dat walk with the dead."
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Floating down into a deep slumber, I was oblivious to the creak of my garden gate, the howl of my next-door neighbor's dog and the eyes that gleamed with madness peering in through my bedroom window as I slept.
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"Have you ever had a recurring nightmare?"

"Yes."  He paused.  "And then I wake up and remember that it's real."

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