Book Review: Delia’s Shadow

This is cross-posted from my Goodreads account.

As I mentioned before, I had been eager to read this book since Jaime told me the premise. Full disclosure:  Jaime is a friend, and she is one of “my authors” (i.e. she archives at NIU).

From Goodreads:

Very enjoyable debut novel by Moyer. Delia returns to post-Great Earthquake San Francisco, to see friends and family for her best friend Sadie’s wedding…and because the ghost that won’t leave Delia alone is urging her to come home. Sadie is engaged to Jack, a policeman who is hunting down a serial killer that is using the Pan Pacific Exhibition as his hunting ground. Delia can see ghosts. One of then has urged her to return home. Jack’s partner, Gabe, is the lead on the case, as his father was before him.

As you might suspect, the ghosts and the serial killer case are intertwined, and this brings Delia and Gabe into a close working relationship.

Moyer keeps the tension of the case neatly lined up with the tension of the burgeoning relationship between Delia and Gabe. As they become closer, the serial killer gets bolder, and threatens those around the case more intimately. Can Gabe and Jack solve the case in time and keep everyone safe?

While the plot is compelling and tidy, the reason to read this book is most certainly (to me) the characters. They feel like real people, with histories, contradictions, and realistic reactions. Gabe and Delia are not ingenues, and their relationship reflects their caution and fear. Jack and Sadie are our ingenues, but don’t come off as clueless, and the supporting cast are well fleshed out as well.

Thoroughly satisfying novel, beautifully written without the writing getting in the way of great character development and a compelling plot in a great historical setting. Highly recommended.

More from me:

This is a great example of an excellent ghost story in a historical setting. The ghosts and the serial killer story are well balanced, and it was effective and spooky without being too gory for me. Fear and tension rather than splatterpunk.

 

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About Lynne M. Thomas

Lynne M. Thomas is a Hugo Award winning editor and podcaster. In her day job, she is the Head of Distinctive Collections and Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections at Northern Illinois University.
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