by Jaime Lee Moyer
Series: Delia Martin #1
Published by: Tor
Genres: Crime, Historical Fiction, Paranormal
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.
I love crime novels, mysteries and serial killers! Mix in supernatural elements and I am drawn to these stories like moths to a flame. Delia’s Shadow is the first novel in the Delia Martin series by Jamie Lee Moyer. Set against the historic city of San Francisco, Moyer drew me in with her easy writing style, dark descriptions and engaging characters. Mini review: Dark and suspenseful. Old school detective work with a rich plot that kept me captivated as Moyer balanced darkness with light.
We meet Delia Martin as she departs the train that has returned her to the City by the Bay. Delia fled the city trying to escape the spirits she saw slipping through walls, winding down stairs and crossing the streets. She was quite happy in New York until, a young woman or should I say ghost sought her out urging her to return home to San Francisco. It’s a dangerous time to be returning as a serial killer is on the loose. The tale that unfolds is riveting; with side dishes of romance and friendship while never letting us forget the evil at large.
Moyer provides a colorful, fleshed out cast of characters who capture the essence of the period. Delia is haunted but fearless when protecting those she loves. I admired her, and found her to be level-headed, witty and even a little nerdy. For Delia fashion should be practical, and her time better spent reading or at the museum. I enjoyed her, but I am anxious for more layers to be peeled away from her facade. I want a closer look at her thoughts and fears. Her best friend Sadie is outspoken and a social butterfly. She is about to wed a young police officer named Jack. I liked Sadie and her meddlesome, yet kind ways. Jack’s partner and boss is Detective Gabe Ryan. He is brilliant and complex. He has suffered great loss and it shows in the way he carries himself. He is well respected by his unit yet he has closed himself off from the living. A romance develops slowly, one that allows growth in both characters. It takes a backseat to the suspense, mystery and paranormal activity, as it slowly weaves itself into the tale. It was done and helped balance the darkness of the story. Other characters, like a spiritualist, ghosts, officers, and family added to the tale. For secondary and third characters they were each unique and had some substance. I am eager to hear each of their stories and hope the author gives them each voice.
Delia’s Shadow is Moyer’ debut novel, and I was impressed with her seasoned writing style. She skillfully weaved in several genres such as historical, paranormal, romance and mythology. She took each strand and created a breathtaking tapestry around this suspenseful crime thriller. The crimes were dark and involved a heinous serial killer. The tale is told from two perspectives. Delia’s is in first person, and Gabe’s is in third. I found it to be the perfect balance as he presented the investigation, and she allowed us to breathe and absorb details. Both are level-headed and methodical, but the author subtly fleshed them out, showing their weaknesses, hopes, fears and desires. The ghosts we encountered added an interesting paranormal element and like Delia we feared them but were also curious as to what they needed. Delia was open-minded and hoped that perhaps she could help. The investigation was captivating, with twists, danger, loss and fear. Despite the supernatural elements, the research, killer, and conclusion were plausible giving an eerie authenticity to the tale. Delia’s Shadow delivered that book high I seek and left me eager for the next chapter.
Fans of suspenseful murder mysteries, with a touch of paranormal and a side dish of romance will find Delia’s Shadow to be an engaging start to a promising new series. Barricade in Hell, the second book, will be released in 2014 and the third, Against A Brightening Sky, will release in 2015. I am anxious to read them.
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