- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (September 17, 2013)
- ISBN-10: 0765331829
- Source: Personal Copy
Delia Martin is a wealthy young woman living in early 20th century San Francisco. She holds a unique gift; she can see, and communicate, with spirits of the deceased. She’s returned to her home, certain that it holds an explanation for the powerful spirit that follows her. Referred to as Shadow, this woman is unable to verbally communicate with Delia, yet is desperate to lead her to something. Shadow haunts Delia’s dreams with flashbacks of a serial killer from nearly three decades ago, eerily similar to a serial killer now terrorizing the bay city. Delia’s return to San Francisco isn’t an easy one; she is haunted by those who died in the great earthquake of 1906. Delia, like so many others, lost her family in that quake, a disaster that forever altered the great city.
Delia’s return to San Francisco is timely; her best friend, Sadie, is due to be wed in six weeks. Her fiance, Jack, and his partner, Gabe, are the lead investigators on this new rash of killings. Delia lends her “talent” to the case, soon learning that the spirit that haunts her can provide valuable information to aid in the investigation. When the killer gets personal, threatening both Delia and Gabe, it becomes even more imperative to uncover his identity.
Delia’s Shadow is an intensely captivating novel, capturing the essence of San Francisco at the turn of the century. Moyer draws out her characters well, unveiling them as strong, yet also emotionally damaged, individuals. The great quake destroyed so many families in the city, not a single person left untouched by its decimation. This sense of loss adds a bit of humanity to each of the characters. Despite their loss, they continue to live in the city they love, living their lives despite their great loss. Perhaps it is this loss that powers them through the investigation, desperate to prevent the deaths of others.
Moyer does something unique with this novel. It is told in dual narration, alternating between Delia’s and Gabe’s perspective. Additionally, Delia’s perspective is told in first person while Gabe’s is in third. Initially, this took me off guard but ultimately I understood that it is Moyer’s intent that it is Delia’s character we must truly understand, and her first person perspective allows the reader to do so.
It’s hard to categorize this novel into one genre. While Delia’s gift, and the pervasiveness of spirits, adds a supernatural feel to the novel, I feel the mystery aspect is the one that stands out the most. Adding the historical aspect to it, Delia’s Shadow is a novel destined to be appreciated by a wide range of readers. Moyer is an author new to me and I am looking forward to more from her. A true talent, one that obviously takes a great deal of care and commitment to her novel. Highly, highly recommended.
Tags: early 20th century, Historical Fiction, Murders, Monsters, & Mayhem, Mystery/Suspense, Review, San Francisco, spirits, Tor Books