I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Delia's Shadow by Jaime Lee Moyer
Genres: Paranormal Mystery
Published by Tor on 17 September 2013
Delia Martin has always been able to see ghosts. She left her home in San Francisco after the great earthquake because the city was teeming with newly departed spirits that had died hideously. One ghost, “Shadow”, somehow tracks her down and her presence reminds Delia that she can’t hide from her heritage any longer. Delia returns to San Francisco to get justice for this poor woman. The problem is that “Shadow” was murdered by a serial killer who has only just started killing again.
Delia is a delightful character who has had to endure quite a lot over the years. Her parents were killed when she was young and her ‘gift’ which she has kept under wraps isolated her from others. The violent visions she has courtesy of “Shadow” are very disturbing but she still does her best to work in tandem with Lieutenant Gabe Ryan to solve the crimes and stop the killings. Delia’s burgeoning relationship is sweet and handled well as it never got in the way of the story.
Moyer has clearly done her research into San Francesco and the effects of the great earthquake of 1906. She weaves this into the tale along with the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (1915). By doing this, the killings became even more heinous as the battle-scarred city had only just pulled itself back together. The attention to detail was welcome and added verisimilitude to the tale. The novel straddles police procedural and the paranormal as it is told from both Gabe and Delia’s point of view. I love police procedurals so had no problems with slow and steady approach as Gabe hunted down leads and tried to make sense of the evidence. Naturally this was made far more difficult as it was set in 1915 and he didn’t have access to modern technology which would have speeded things up.
I have a few minor quibbles with the book but nothing too dramatic. One issue is that Delia would share her visions or thoughts with one character in a moving tête-à-tête and then share the same thing with the rest of the Crew of Light (sorry, I couldn’t resist). I know she had to clue in everyone but the double handling was irritating and the second retelling lacked the emotional punch of the first. The second issue was the ghost “Shadow” who deliberately withheld important information from Delia until the very end. It was fairly unreasonable to expect Delia to find the killer and protect the ones she held dear without that final piece of the puzzle. On the plus side, it did make for one heck of a climax.
This novel seemed more polished than those of most debut authors but I guess that is because she has been writing short fiction for some time. The lengths people would go to in order to protect their family was one theme that stayed with me for some time after I had finished the book. I eagerly await the next in the series.