Publishing date: 19th April 2011/ 1st May (I've seen both)
Description (from Goodreads):
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.
Wow, I'm not sure where to begin with this book. The first thought that struck me was the similarity of the very basic premise to Wicked Lovely. A girl who can see something supernatural; rules imposed by a family member for protection; scary consequences of letting said supernatural see you know it's there; what happens when all the rules get broken...but really that's where the similarity to anything ended.
I love the American South, it's always intrigued me. I really enjoyed the setting of this book for that exact reason, it was perfect. Creepy, and magical and so very Southern. I loved the Gullah traditions incorporated into it and the crumbling decadence of the graveyard and the buildings *sighs* also, I REALLY want to try some sweet ice tea. Please. I loved learning more about gravestones; about the significance of the symbols on them; and about the beautifully haunting epitahs. It totally made me want to become a taphopile. I love the way Amanda Stevens describes cemeteries they sound so romantic and creepy and just plain awesome.
Amelia-I loved her. She actually reminds me a bit of Sookie-which was extended by the first person narration. She was mid-twenties, strange ability, not too many friends/boyfriends, very strong/capable/independent. She was a great character with such an interesting job as a graveyard restorer and I loved her narration it was pretty much perfect.The only thing I wasn't a fan of was the omniscient narration that snuck in every now and again (is that even a literary device?) you know, the whole "little did I know I'd be seeing him again sooner than I thought" (n.b that's not an *actual* line) it just pulls me out of the story a bit. But despite that I really loved the narration style-you totally get pulled into the story through it and you become a lot more attached to Amelia. She's just so human. Yeah, she restores graveyards and sees ghosts but that doesn't mean she's seen it all. Sure, she's had her fair share of skeletons; but that doesn't mean the sight of a freshly murdered victim doesn't turn her stomach. She's strong but she's also oddly vulnerable and unsure. She's the epitome of what happens when someone who follows stringent rules all their lives suddenly finds themselves in a situation where the rules can't protect you anymore; a situation where you begin to question not only yourself but everything you've ever believed.
Devlin. *another sigh* my my, this man is just...so enigmatic. And beautiful. I love certain southern accents on men they're just so sexy; and I imagine Devlin to have one of these. His tragic life and aloof nature just added to the appeal-not to mention the fact he's forbidden under the rules Amelia follows so conscientiously. I love the way they're thrown together: the detective and the consulting expert- destined to spend time in each other's presence whilst it makes the pair of them uncomfortable for separate reasons.
I loved all the other characters too: they were so different and complex and fantastically written. I didn't figure out who was the killer and why until riiiiiight at the very end. Amanda Stevens leaves you guessing all the way through. I was so intrigued about how Amelia's knowledge of gravestone symbols etc was going to fit in it was just such a unique plotpoint.
The ending isn't a cliffhanger so that's nice and satisfying but there's also lot's of unanswered questions about..well..most things to be honest. Which is great; because it leaves something to speculate over until the next book when they'll (hopefully) by answered. This book is just fantastic. It's haunting, eternally intriguing and and somehow intimate. I cannot wait for the rest of the series.
I give it a 5/5 and I demand that you read it ASAP!!