Sunday, September 7, 2014

Review: Delia's Shadow (Delia Martin #1) by Jaime Lee Moyer

Release Date: September 17, 2013
Publisher: Tor
Source: Cat!
Author Links: Goodreads | Website | Twitter

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.

So, I get an email a while back from Cat, saying that she's gifting me this book, and sending the next one in the mail.
Hmmmm. Should I be suspicious? Is this some sort of a stinker that she doesn't want to read herself? 
Nah. She's just an unusually nice sort of person who sends me 'care packages', because she genuinely thinks I'll enjoy these books.
And she was right!

Delia's Shadow is part love story, part paranormal thriller, and part historical mystery.
Shadow is the name Delia gives to the unusual ghost that started haunting her (in earnest) while she was teaching in New York. She can't communicate with the dead, but she sees their spirits wandering around, sometimes attached to someone they loved in life. This particular spirit seems different, in that it is determined to get her attention. She feels this ghost wants her to return to her hometown of San Francisco. With no other way to rid herself of the the spirit, she gets on a train, and heads back to the women she considers her family.
And it's not too long before Delia realizes the connection between her Shadow, and a serial killer who is hunting in her hometown.
With the help of her best friend, Sadie, she's introduced to a medium named Dora. She understands what Delia is up against, and is willing to help her piece together the story of Shadow's life.
And maybe more importantly, her death.
Sadie's fiancee, Jack, and his partner, Gabe, are the detectives who are frantically working to prevent the killer from striking again. Not only does he show no signs of stopping, it looks as though he's getting ready to strike at the loved ones of the two men who are hunting him. With Sadie's life in danger, Delia has to overcome her fears and learn how to use her abilities to help stop this psychopath, before it's too late.

It was a really good story, and I enjoyed it quite a bit.
However, if you're looking for a fast-paced romp, you won't find it here.
The story moves forward at a decent pace, but Delia isn't an action heroine. She relays the messages and information to Gabe or Jack, and they head out to investigate. Part of me wanted to see her get out there and kick some ass, but the other part of me was glad that she wasn't stupid enough to do it. She doesn't have hidden ninja skills, and in this time period  it would have been weird for her to be involved in capturing a criminal.
So, no points for feminism, but points for historical accuracy.

Also, I found  it odd (and yet sort of refreshing) that Delia had no trouble convincing Gabe and Jack of the I See Dead People thing.
Ok. To be fair, there's a whole lotta evidence (including some ghostly tantrum stuff) to point to the fact that she's not riding the Crazy Train.
Either you'll be like me, and enjoy the fact that she doesn't spend the entire book trying to convince everyone she's not nuts.
Or you'll think it was a little to convenient that everyone got on board with the idea so quickly.

I liked the POV shifts between Gabe and Delia, as well. He's a good guy with good intentions, and a pretty broad emotional spectrum. It was awesome to see a book promote healthy relationships between men and women. Jack and Gabe aren't controlling Alpha men, and neither Sadie nor Delia are fainting violets. It seems as though their relationships are built on...hang on to your hat....respect and love for each other.

If you've been looking for a paranormal/historical/thriller/mystery/ghost story...with a bit of romance, then check this one out. If you want a story about an ass-kicking Ghost Whisperer, then you need to keep looking.


aparajita said...

So glad you liked it too, true its not what you would call fast paced but i found the pace set here appropriate for this setting . I haven't had the chance to get the Barricade in Hell (the sequel), i hope i can soon because i loved the first one.

Great review.

Do check my review too here

Anne Hannah said...

Loved your review! I have the second one sitting beside me right now...I just need to clear out a 'few' other books first. ;)

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