“My shadow stood before me, appearing so alive I expected to see her breathe. Thinking of her as a shadow made me feel less insane. I’d never wanted to believe in ghosts, not really. After six months of being haunted by one, I clung to every scrap of sanity I could.”
Delia’s Shadow, by Jaime Lee Moyer
#1 in the Delia Martin series
Tor Books, September 2013
337 pages (ebook)
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 requested this review copy through NetGalley. ***
Delia’s Shadow was a great read with a little bit of everything. It’s a paranormal-historical-crime-romance hybrid, and yet it never felt like the author was trying to fit too much into one story.
I’ll first comment on the romance. More often than not, I feel like books would be better off without the romantic side-plot that seems to have become almost mandatory. If the main storyline of the book is the romance, that’s a different thing. But for books that fall into other genres, I’ll be going along, enjoying the story… and as soon as a romance is hinted at, I roll my eyes and power through, hoping that the story is good enough to overcome its “handicap” (at least as far as my personal preferences are concerned).
In this book, however, it worked. It was actually rather charming to watch this old-fashioned courtship. Is it out of place when one of the parties is being haunted and another investigating a serial killer? Yeah, a little. But so is every love triangle in the middle of a dystopian revolution, and personally I found this one a lot more enjoyable to read about.
One slight hiccup is the narration, which switches between Delia’s first person and Gabe’s third person. Again, it’s a personal preference, one of those things that’s an extra strike against the book if I’m not enjoying it but not enough to ruin the book if I am.
And I really did enjoy it. I was immediately pulled into the story, and as the mystery progresses both in the present and in the past – courtesy of Delia’s ghost’s memories – I became more and more invested. Overall, it was a very satisfying read.
Apparently Moyer is writing a series, which I wasn’t aware of when I read the book, but it absolutely stands on its own. I won’t be impatiently waiting for the story to continue, though I will be curious to return to these characters and Delia’s world.
Delia’s Shadow is available in print, as well as for Kindle, Nook, and other e-readers.
Does this sound like something you’d pick up? Do you enjoy books that cross genre lines?