Author: Jaime Lee Moyer
Series: Delia Martin, #1
Released: September 17th 2013
Hardcover, 336 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository
A dark, romantic fantasy set against the backdrop of San Francisco devastated by the Great Quake.It is the dawn of a new century in San Francisco and Delia Martin is a wealthy young woman whose life appears ideal. But a dark secret colors her life, for Delia’s most loyal companions are ghosts, as she has been gifted (or some would say cursed) with an ability to peer across to the other side.Since the great quake rocked her city in 1906, Delia has been haunted by an avalanche of the dead clamoring for her help. Delia flees to the other side of the continent, hoping to gain some peace. After several years in New York, Delia believes she is free…until one determined specter appears and she realizes that she must return to the City by the Bay in order to put this tortured soul to rest.It will not be easy, as the ghost is only one of the many victims of a serial killer who was never caught. A killer who after thirty years is killing again.And who is now aware of Delia’s existence.
Delia’s Shadow is a wonderful combination of so many genres, it would be almost impossible to find the one that’s dominant. It’s historical, set in San Francisco, nine years after the great 1906 earthquake. It involves ghosts and spiritualists, which means it has strong urban fantasy elements. It is a murder mystery too, in which a deranged serial killer decides everyone’s fates. And finally, the strong romantic elements and dual narration mark it as paranormal romance as well.
All these things combined make a fascinating book, one that will hold your attention from start to finish. It is beautifully written, although the dialogues are occasionally just a tiny bit stilted, and the characters are perfectly developed. In addition, the story is excellently paced, with not a single dull moment to burden the narrative. Although this is Jamie Lee Moyer’s debut novel, she already writes with an impressive level of maturity and self-assuredness.
The story is told from two perspectives: Delia’s, in first person, and Gabe’s in third. Oddly enough, I found myself enjoying Gabe’s POV far more, probably because he showed more emotional complexity, and because his parts of the story were more eventful due to the murder investigation he was running. Delia, for her part, brought a certain calmness and unflinching honesty one can’t help but admire. As a heroine, she is easily likeable and dependable, but still somewhat of an enigma, someone I can see myself wanting to get to know better in later installments.
The secondary characters don’t fall far behind. Each of them equally fascinating and well thought through. Sadie and Jack make a wonderful couple, with Sadie especially interesting and quirky. I hope there will one day be a short story with them at its center. Officer Henderson is also someone I’d very much like to get to know better, as is Annie, Sadie and Delia’s maid and confidante.
The ghosts in the story were perhaps not as scary as they could have been, but that was not their purpose at all. They were a constant presence in Delia’s life, there with a purpose – to help catch the man who killed them all, a serial killer active for over 30 years. Moyer is excellent at building nail-biting tension, and her killer does not disappoint; he is intelligent, vicious, and completely sociopathic.
Two more books about Delia Martin were announced. They’re titled A BARRICADE IN HELL and AGAINST A BRIGHTENING SKY and scheduled to be published in 2014 and 2015, respectively. I’m very much looking forward to both.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.