“My newest ghost shimmered into view again; blue eyes bright even in the absence of moonlight, bringing silence and the disquieting knowledge that she wanted more than just to torment me.”
This is the second book in a series. My review contains no spoilers for events in Delia’s Shadow, aside from giving away the survival of a few characters. The summary quoted below, however, does. If you want to read Delia’s Shadow, I suggest skipping over the details of this book.
A Barricade in Hell, by Jaime Lee Moyer
#2 in the Delia Martin series
Tor Books, June 2014
331 pages (hardcover)
Despite the grief of losing her parents in the Great Quake, Delia Martin has been blessed with money, privilege, and all the trappings of happiness that a young woman could ever want. In spite of this, there is a deep sadness that surrounds Delia, for she 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 threatening 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.
I was looking forward to returning to the world of Delia’s Shadow. That book was a perfect blend of history, mystery, and the paranormal. I enjoyed every part of it, and I was pleasantly surprised at how well all these different aspects of the story came together.
But A Barricade in Hell was a reminder that not every book should become a series.
This wasn’t a bad book, but there was nothing really special about it. There’s another police case, and creepier spirits, but I just never felt invested. The mystery was compelling, but the way the physical and paranormal came together just didn’t work for me as well as in the previous book.
And somewhere along the way, I lost whatever attachment I’d felt to the characters. Isadora steals the show, and while there are a couple new characters I enjoyed, the familiar returning characters just felt bland. Isadora was just as intriguing in the first book, but I still felt like all of the characters held their own; this time, I didn’t feel that way.
I’m not sure if I’ll continue this series or not. As much as I enjoyed the first book and the possibilities it opened up… sometimes less is more.
Does A Barricade in Hell sound like something you’d pick up? How do you react when a book isn’t what you thought it would be?