Delia’s Shadow – Jaime Lee Moyer
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.
“Delia’s Shadow” is a strong, dark Occult Detective novel that pulls you in right from the beginning. It’s the perfect combination for every Crime Fiction lover with a taste for the paranormal. Bringing these two elements together is tricky and has been done multiple times before, but Jaime Lee Moyer pulls it off fantastically, creating a story that is far from cliché and full of interesting side stories.
Delia might look like a normal, kind-hearted girl from early 20th century San Francisco, but she has a rather unusual burden to bear. Delia can see ghosts. She has been seeing them for most of her life and has learned to live with it, but this time, it’s different. After leaving San Francisco 6 years after the earthquake that killed both her parents, Delia is forced to come back home when a ghost starts haunting her. The ghost, “Shadow” as Delia calls her, wants Delia to do something, to help her achieve something, but Delia hasn’t a clue what that could be. Moving back to San Francisco seems like the right thing to do, but Delia has no idea what’s waiting for her there.
Delia, our main character (written in first person POV) is a strong female character that, though she’s been through quite the ordeal in her life, is a rock for everyone in her life. I really liked her character. She’s kind, caring and determined to do the right thing and help where she can. If that means she has to put herself in danger to save the ones she loves, then so be it. I’ve always been a fan of strong female protagonists and Delia fits the picture perfectly.
Gabe, a Police detective, trying to catch a serial killer even his father couldn’t catch thirty years ago, is our second main character. He lost almost all that was dear to him in the earthquake and has been unable to recover completely ever since. This murder case has him on edge. A serial killer that stopped murdering thirty years ago is back and claiming more and more victims. Gabe is nowhere near finding the murderer than his father was all those years ago, but he fears his partner, Jack, and his partner’s fiancée, Sadie, might be at risk. Then he meets Sadie’s best friend, Delia, and learns about the ghost that’s been haunting her and a few pieces seem to fall into place.
Gabe’s POV is written from the third person perspective, a fact that caught my attention immediately. Though Gabe plays an important role in this story, Delia is the one the main focus is on. Gabe is a solid man, marked by sorrow. A good policeman, following in his father’s footsteps. It was interesting to see how Gabe transformed during the story, how he let more and more of his emotions show. Following Gabe through the murder investigation also gave a great perspective when it comes to the killer and all that’s happening around that.
Jaime Lee Moyer threads other, emotion packed and interesting side stories through these main storylines. There’s Esther, Sadie’s mother and Delia’s adoptive mother, whose health has been deteriorating immensely lately. Though she teeters on the edge of passing, her mind not always as clear, she is still fiercely protective of her girls, which made me respect her greatly. Then we have Annie, the other mother figure that seems to hold everything together, who is there for whoever needs her and stays strong through every storm that passes her way.
Dora, the spiritual adviser, who understands what Delia has to go through and helps her every step of the way, is another one of the strong female characters populating the pages of “Delia’s Shadow”. Though keeping a façade of strength and nonchalance, she is just as burdened with her gift as Delia is. Gabe’s background story is another one filled with grief and sorrow, but it defines him in so many ways. It made him who he is now. It gives another dimension to his character.
“Delia’s Shadow” is full of unexpected twists that left me breathless sometimes. This was a perfect book for me. I love detective stories, the hunt for a serial killer and the satisfaction of finally finding him/her and putting him/her to justice. But I also love my fair share of paranormal. Mixed together and set in an interesting context this seemed like a hit to me. And it definitely was! I enjoyed every page of this book and I would recommend it to … well, everyone. I think this is a book that could fit any kind of reader, with bits of all kinds of genres to please everyone. Pick it up and get transported back to the dark side of turn-of-the-century San Francisco, you won’t regret it.