Thursday, March 17, 2016

#Thursday Review - The Visitor by Amanda Stevens (Urban Fantasy)

Series: Graveyard Queen # 4
Format: E-Galley, 400 pages
Release Date: March 29, 2016
Publisher: Mira
Source: Publisher
Genre: Urban Fantasy

My name is Amelia Gray. I'm the Graveyard Queen.

Restoring lost and abandoned cemeteries is my profession, but I'm starting to believe that my true calling is deciphering the riddles of the dead. Legend has it that Kroll Cemetery is a puzzle no one has ever been able to solve. For over half a century, the answer has remained hidden within the strange headstone inscriptions and intricate engravings. Because uncovering the mystery of that tiny, remote graveyard may come at a terrible price.
Years after their mass death, Ezra Kroll's disciples lie unquiet, their tormented souls trapped within the walls of Kroll Cemetery, waiting to be released by someone strong and clever enough to solve the puzzle. For whatever reason, I'm being summoned to that graveyard by both the living and the dead. Every lead I follow, every clue I unravel brings me closer to an unlikely killer and to a destiny that will threaten my sanity and a future with my love, John Devlin. 

The Visitor is the FOURTH installment in Amanda Stevens Graveyard Queen series. Since it has been FOUR years since The Prophet (Graveyard Queen, # 3) was released, I would suggest that you brush up on your knowledge of this series and the series protagonist Amelia Gray before diving into this book. Trust me folks, I am not just saying this to bust your chops or make work for you. At the beginning of this story, the author does a brief summary of certain events that happened in the last book. But, the events of the previous THREE books have fundamentally changed Amelia's life perhaps not for the better.

One could say that Amelia, who is a graveyard restorer called the Graveyard Queen, and can see ghosts, has finally begun to learn what her actual calling is. Amelia has pretty much destroyed all the rules that her grandfather taught her and opened a door to the other side where darkness awaits. Papa's rules were: (1) 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. (2) Never stray too far from hallowed ground. (3) Keep Your distance from those who are haunted. If they seek you out, turn away from them, for they constitute a terrible threat and cannot be trusted. (4) Never tempt rate, and never ever remove anything from the cemetery you didn't bring along with you. 

The Visitor starts out with Amelia being visited by a blind ghost, and strange happenings in her home, to finding a 19th century Stereo Gram with a familiar face staring back at her in her basement, and later ends up taking a trip to Kroll cemetery where victims of a mass suicide are buried. Kroll is a place where the ghosts of the past seem to be luring her to visit so that she can unlock the actual mystery to what happened there decades ago. Kroll has so many hidden and terrible secrets that it will take a strong constitution to survive until the end. Anyone Amelia meets can be her savior, or the villain. Everyone has an agenda, and Amelia is the key that they are trying to stop from opening old wounds.

While on a personal level, Amelia's relationship with the once haunted police officer John Devlin is not exactly swimming along smoothly. Even though Devlin's dead wife Mariama has moved on, he still has enough baggage with him to drag the relationship down bit by bleeping bit. Especially when he is off on some secretive trip to visit a supposed ailing Grandfather who belongs to the Order of the Coffin and the Key. There is a really interesting road ahead for the couple and whether or not they stay together. 

If you like a book that is filled with secrets, well enjoy, because The Visitor is filled with secrets, and revelations, and revelations that have been weighing Amelia down for awhile now. I have always loved when an author writes a book with Charleston, South Carolina at the backdrop. If you haven't yet visited the city, make it part of your bucket list. If you love to visit ghostly places, what better than one of the most haunted places in America?

One of the positives coming from the release of this book, is that the FIFTH book in the series, THE SINNER, will be releasing in September, 2016!  I applaud Amanda Stevens and the publisher for not giving up on this series even though it has been a very long wait between books. Having a chance to continue reading about Amelia's exploits is a very, very good thing!

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