Format: Digital ARC
Read an Excerpt
Release Date: September 17, 2013
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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.
This ghost emanates sorrow and fear, and a strong need to set things right. She's very afraid of someone or of something happening that's happened before.
DELIA'S SHADOW by Jaime Lee Moyer is a story about the haunting of Delia Martin. The blurb gives us a good background on the haunting and to expound more on the plot, Shadow is the nickname Delia gave the ghost. As the story unfolds we discover that Shadow is a victim of a serial killer who is still currently on the loose and responsible for the recent killing spree still happening in San Francisco. We soon find out that Shadow and the killer has a closer connection to Delia and the rest of the characters and she and her bestfriend, Sadie, are the next target.
DELIA'S SHADOW's plot is very engaging and the era its set at is compelling. If you've been to San Francisco you can still see traces of the old world in the buildings and the city itself so it wasn't that hard to tweak my imagination a bit and allow myself to be transported there at the turn of the century. Aside from the wonderful setting, JLMoyer kept the romance light and focused on both the haunting and the mystery behind Shadow's murder and killer. If you're familiar with the TV show, Medium, DELIA'S SHADOW bears similarities to it as the investigation relied heavily on Delia's connection to Shadow and her memories which eventually led them to the identity of the victim. There were a lot of creepy scenes which gave me goosebumps. I can tolerate other beasts and monsters but ghosts are a different entity altogether. JLMoyer kept the haunting "real", no poltergeists, no moving objects, just powerful apparitions and vivid dreams on Delia's part and that to me is more powerful than a pale, cold and fanged dude knocking on my door.
Delia as a character was more of a key accessory as she's the conduit to Shadow's spirit. As a character per se, Delia is more of a follower than a leader. She's a loyal friend and really persevered in solving Shadow's murder but we won't see her taking control of the situation and leading the story herself. The real star IMO is Madame Isadora Bobet, occultist extraordinaire. Her nonchalant and bohemian personality coupled with her skills in communicating with the dead gave DELIA'S SHADOW an air of eeriness and her robust personality truly embodied the era.
DELIA'S SHADOW is also told in alternating POV's, Delia's and Gabe Ryan, the detective in charge of the murder investigations and tracking down the serial killer. While Delia's POV provided the creep factor, Gabe's showed us the extent of the killings and the madness of the killer who fancies himself as the Egyptian God, Anubis. It's not as graphic but the detail JLMoyer provided to show how ruthless the killer is is enough to give us readers the heebies. Hearts found in jars, bodies hidden in the basement treated in lime, dozens of unmarked graves full of the dead emphasized that they're dealing with a meticulous and smart madman who's been killing people for decades.
Jaime Lee Moyer wrote several short stories and I think that was a good exercise because DELIA'S SHADOW is such a strong debut novel. The novel is a relentless mystery-suspense story that will keep readers at the edge of their seat due to the alternating haunting and strikes of the serial killer. I love the steady progression of the story, there was not a dull moment as JLMoyer kept the story at a steady and exciting pace. The conflict was bewildering in its enormity, Shadow is a clever ghost and her haunting Delia wasn't an accident but a careful selection. The resolution was well drawn-out JLMoyer took her time in piecing the puzzle together, each piece an exclamation mark to the story. I might be wrong but it looks like DELIA'S SHADOW is a stand-alone novel which makes it more appealing. So if you're fond of reading ghostly stories, I highly recommend you add Jaime Lee Moyer's debut to your TBR.