by Jaime Lee Moyer
Series: Delia Martin #2
Delia Martin has been gifted (or some would say cursed) with the ability to peer across to the other side. Since childhood, her constant companions have been ghosts. She used her powers and the help of those ghosts to defeat a twisted serial killer terrorizing her beloved San Francisco. Now it's 1917—the threshold of a modern age—and Delia lives a peaceful life with Police Captain Gabe Ryan. That peace shatters when a strange young girl starts haunting their lives and threatens Gabe. Delia tries to discover what this ghost wants as she becomes entangled in the mystery surrounding a charismatic evangelist who preaches pacifism and an end to war. But as young people begin to disappear, and audiences display a loyalty and fervor not attributable to simple persuasion, that message of peace reveals a hidden dark side. As Delia discovers the truth, she faces a choice—take a terrible risk to save her city, or chance losing everything?
Last year I was impressed with Delia’s Shadow the first book in the Delia Martin series by Jamie Lee Moyer. I was captivated by its 1917 San Francisco setting, paranormal mystery and fleshed out characters. A Barricade in Hell delivered an intense paranormal mystery with dark elements and charismatic characters that quickly drew me back into this world.
Readers note: While each book contains a separate case, I recommend reading them in order due to an overall ARC and the storyline of the characters and their development.
Five reasons to grab a cup of coffee and curl up with A Barricade in Hell:
1. 1917 San Francisco brought to life from solving crimes by the local police department, the buildings, clothing, and political atmosphere. While this is all backdrop to the current situation and characters, Moyer brings it all life giving the reader a panoramic view without slowing the pace.
2. Paranormal woo-woo, ancient rituals, tarot cards, and spirits. Delia and Isadora are both gifted (or cursed) with the sight and able to see and communicate with apparitions. Delia actual sees them, and Isadora can feel them though past objects, séances and tarot cards. It is creep-tastic and adds an element to the mysteries.
3. The characters hold equal footing to the case further notching up my overall enjoyment. Delia once denied her gift and slowly she has been learning how to handle these spirits. She is brave, forward thinking and thinks before she acts. Gabe a straightforward, fact-checking detective has learned to trust Delia and Isadora. He is charming, noble and quite the ace detective. Isadora or Dora to her friends is quite the charming, a bit eccentric and delightful to be around. She is a whiskey sipping, fearless woman who puts herself at risk to help her friends.
4. Moyer’s mystery presents new villains and friends in A Barricade in Hell. We go to Chinatown and are privy to the animosity between cultures. During the murder investigation, Gabe introduces us to Mr. Sung, an influential Chinese man. He is colorful, mysterious, and his interaction and role throughout the case was unusual. We meet a charismatic evangelist who preaches pacifism and wants an end to the war. She is a dark character who surrounds herself with some sinister characters. Moyer allowed me to picture them both vividly in my mind from their mannerisms to that offset feeling you get when there is “more than meets the eye.”
5. Moyer has a talent for taking several cases and weaving them into this brilliant tapestry. The puzzles pieces are intricate but as she slowly reveals clues and her characters make connections, the mystery unravels revealing all. As seasoned as I am with reading mysteries and solving cases, Moyer always manages to surprise me with the motive. The pacing was engaging with moments that will raise the hair on the back of your neck and have you worried about our hero and heroine.
A Barricade in Hell was a strong second book, and since the primary romance was established in the previous novel, allowed Moyer to notched up the suspense and paranormal woo-woo. Moyer has earned herself a spot on my favorite author list, and I cannot wait for the next installment in the Delia Martin series. If you have not yet tried these, I encourage you to do so.
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