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REVIEW by @GinnyLurcock : The Restorer by Amanda Stevens (@AmandaStevensTX)

 
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.


Oh “The Restorer,” where do I even begin?  Probably with a little disclosure.  I got “The Kingdom” and “The Prophet” through Netgalley.  Refusing for another “Apocalypse” situation I checked out the first book from overdrive and practically inhaled it.  I stayed up until 2 am reading it because there was no way I was putting it down post 70%.  Then I started “The Kingdom” eager to see where happened next.
People throw the term “gripping” around a lot, but this book deserves it.  I started it on the 22nd and finished it on the 24th despite it being 350ish pages and my life going out of its way to implode.  Well, alright, it was technically the 25th because again, I stayed up until 2 am reading it.
It has an interesting premise.  Amelia can see ghosts, but has to pretend she can’t because ghosts just love to attach themselves to the living and steal their energy.  Ghosts are all hot for stealing energy.  As a result, she’s distanced herself from people, just like her father had.  When she first sees a ghost at age 9, he explains her new reality to her and lays down some very specific rules.  Including, but not limited to, never letting anyone know you can see ghosts, and avoiding anyone who is haunted. 
Also just like her father she finds her shelter in cemeteries, explaining that these are actually usually the least haunted of locales.  She makes a living restoring run down cemeteries, and blogs all about it.  Then a body shows up at the cemetery she’s restoring.  I know, I know… what’s the big deal, it’s a cemetery, there are supposed to be bodies.   Not when they’re murder victims hiding out in other people’s graves.  Enter John Devlin, the sexy male detective on the case with two haunts of his very own. 
Does she avoid him like her father advised her to some 18 years ago?  HECK NO!  And bless her little heart for it, it’d be one hell of a boring story if she had.  “The Restorer” has a great mystery and almost romance that will keep you on your toes until the very end.
Of course I had a couple of qualms.  A few things holding this back from being a 5 star torrent of awesome. 
First there was the fact that several times paragraphs began with the same sentences.  I know because the first time I read them I was all “wow what a great way to put that” and the second time I was all “hey wait a minute…”  Second we had the foreshadowing.  At first this was a cool little thing she was doing.  Then it turned into me waiting for ” I didn’t know it then, but the kung pao chicken I would get on the way home would be really really good.”  Third was the red herrings.  Everyone is a suspect.  Hell at one point I was almost convinced Amelia did it.  It didn’t bother me at first, but the more I think about it the more irksome it was.
Finally, and most importantly, there were the loose ends.  I know that the first book in a series will have some loose threads, but really, this was a bit absurd.  It was like when you buy anything with the note “some assembly required” and end up with WAY too many left over pieces.  48 screws, 17 nails, a door… You just know something is going to happen the first time you go to use it, and it ain’t gonna be good.
I gave “The Restorer” 4 spooks.  Even with the flaws, I still really enjoyed this novel.  Heck I even enjoyed it when I realized that the loose ends I care most about won’t actually be resolved until (theoretically) book three.  Thankfully book three comes out on April 24th.  Plus this review made me think of all the terms I could use for ghost, which is always a good time.  I didn’t use many of them, but I do have two more books to review!
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