Delia’s Shadow by Jaime Lee Moyer

I recently finished reading Delia’s Shadow by Jaime Lee Moyer.

Okay, Delia’s Shadow is something of a ghost story, blended with a serial killer/murder mystery and a tad of romance thrown in for good measure (or to relieve the tension!) (Actually, in fairness, (and for those of you that don’t like romance stories) the romance, only plays second fiddle and probably creates more tension in point of fact!)

The story starts with Delia returning to San Francisco from New York.  Delia left home, chased out by the ghosts that were living around her.  She found a brief respite whilst teaching in New York but all too soon the spooky spirits caught up with her and one in particular compelled her to return home.  Delia has always ‘seen dead people’.  Curse or gift, you decide.  On returning to her home town she quickly becomes embroiled in her best friends and almost sister’s wedding to local policeman Jack.  Delia’s parents died in a terrible earthquake and subsequent fire and has since lived with her mother’s best friend, Esther.  On returning to San Francisco Delia is surprised to find Esther in the final throes of death and seemingly seeing the same spirits as Delia as the veil between life and death grows thin.  On top of this Jack and his friend, and superior, Gabe, are on the trail of a serial killer.  A killer who first terrorised San Francisco during Game’s father’s years and then seemed to disappear.  The killer has now returned and Gabe and Jack need to pick up his trail before he starts to hurt the people they love.

I enjoyed this story.  It’s well written and has a lot in it’s favour.  Ghosts, Victorian times, serial killer, light romance.  I enjoyed that the author changes the point of view and doesn’t focus just on Delia as I think this would become too much.  it certainly kept my attention and was a very quick read.

The Characters.  I liked them but I wouldn’t say I love them just yet.  Isadora is probably my favourite – she’s full of life and sarcasm and quite lights up the room (or the chapter) whenever she enters.  i wouldn’t say that the characters are flat or one dimensional but I would like to spend some more time with them and get to know them better, form a bit more of an attachment.  As it is, I think the story was more plot driven than character driven at this stage and that’s not necessarily a bad thing or a criticism as there is certainly no lack of things going on.

I really enjoy reading any story from the Victorian era – be it historical, thriller, steampunk or ghost story.  So I was really keen to read this book.  I think in terms of this story the Victorian setting only plays a small part – again more plot led at this point.  For me, I think that’s a bit of a missed chance because there seems to be such an opportunity with this story to make everything so creepy and foreboding.  We have the Victorian era and all that brings, the restrictions, the conventions, the underlying currents, footsteps in the fog!  Not to mention with this story plenty of ghosts!  I wouldn’t say I had any hair on the back of my neck standing up, look over your shoulder moments and maybe that’s deliberate on the part of the author.  Again, I still think the story is enough with this particular novel, like I mention, plenty going on, plus suspense and thrills.   There is a particularly sinister serial killer and for me the intrigue was all about finding out who he was and what exactly was going on.

I think my real criticisms are that I didn’t have a particular feel for the Victorian period, I don’t particularly want a wealth of detail and I wonder whether some of the ‘feel’ was tempered down enough to allow characters behaviour to seem more reasonable.  I also felt that throughout the novel – a lot of things could have been different if Delia had simply listened to the ghost that was haunting her.  Whereas, she was too afraid of the consequences – which I understand – but, it’s one of those conundrums.  I also didn’t feel like the serial killer was given plausibility – there was a brief explanation about Egyptian hieroglyphics but I never really felt it had any real substance and I wanted more.

Otherwise, on the whole, this was very gripping.  I thought it was well written, certainly no question that the author can write,  and I enjoyed the different perspectives and would definitely enjoy continuing to read about Delia.  However I will say, that if you’re looking for a haunting read, chilling and gothic – this might not be for you.  Again, I think if you go into this knowing what to expect you’ll be very pleasantly surprised.  More a murder mystery, serial killer, hint of romance.

I received a copy of this book for review from NetGalley in exchange for my own opinion.

8 Responses to “Delia’s Shadow by Jaime Lee Moyer”

  1. Tanya

    This seems like one of those books you’d read on a rainy day or a lazy afternoon when you’re in the mood for something light, but not light-light. A kind of use-your-brains-be-challenged-and-yet-stay-relaxed reads, yes? It sounds interesting. 🙂

    • Grace

      Yes. I find myself reading a lot more of those lately. 🙂

    • lynnsbooks

      I think it was good actually. It wasn’t necessarily what I was expecting but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I sort of went into this expecting a dark gothic ghost story with a sprinkling of thriller and a bit of romance. I wouldn’t say it was quite like that but it was still a good read. Definitely it would suit a lazy, rainy afternoon.
      Lynn 😀

  2. TBM

    Ghost story, murder/serial killer, and romance. Well now that has just about everything and now I need a rainy day to read it.

    • lynnsbooks

      I thought it was really quite good. It wasn’t gothic or deeply chilling and I wouldn’t have minded a bit more about the serial killer – in terms of what, why, where, but otherwise this is very well written.
      Lynn 😀

  3. Lauren

    Does the Victorian Era apply outside of Britain? This was just after though.

    You were able to appreciate this much more than me 🙂 I started out being ok with it, and by the end I was practically yelling at my Kindle, “This is so f*&^ing stupid/lame/boring/cheesy/crap! How many more goddamn pages left?!” I can live with the poor setting, but I would have preferred a much more interesting killer. And less romance. It felt like too much of a romance to me.

    • lynnsbooks

      I think I gave a lot of concessions to this particular book because I started out liking it – which is unusual because it’s usually the other way around! I think I wanted to like this. The ending left something to be desired.
      That’s a bloody good question – obviously it refers to her lovely self Queen Vicky (who was not often very amused). On that basis I would say it doesn’t apply to outside the UK! Could be wrong though! It’s just, if you didn’t have a Queen Vic you wouldn’t really refer to Victorian Times – it’s just a very popular period of time to write about – especially steam punk, as is the Tudor period – for time travel and the like.
      Lynn 😀

      • Lauren

        I think I might have been kinder if I’d read similar books just before this one, but I’d read some great ones that made the shortcomings in Delia’s Shadow that much more infuriating. Most notably, a lot of information in this novel was unnecessary or boring, compared to the other books.

        According to Wikipedia it’s a period in British history and ended with Victoria’s death in 1901. So technically no, it wouldn’t be Victorian. Apparently the corresponding time in the US was The Gilded Age. But I think for a lot of readers the Victorian era is about the culture, society, clothing styles, etc. rather than Britain per se. Most of the sff books I’ve read in this period were set in London though.

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