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Delia Martin #1

Delia's Shadow

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A dark, romantic fantasy set against the backdrop of San Francisco devastated by the Great Quake...

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.

336 pages, Hardcover

First published September 17, 2013

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About the author

Jaime Lee Moyer

18 books210 followers
Jaime Lee Moyer writes fantasy and science fiction, herds cats, is an occasional poet, and maker of tangible things. Her first novel, Delia's Shadow, was published by Tor Books, and won the 2009 Literary Award for Fiction, administrated by Thurber House and funded by the Columbus Arts Council. Two sequels, A Barricade In Hell and Against A Brightening Sky, were also published by Tor. Her new novel, Brightfall, will be out from Jo Fletcher Books on September 5, 2019.

She writes a lot. She reads as much as she can.

You can find Jaime on Twitter:

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@jaimeleemoyer

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 364 reviews
Profile Image for Anne.
3,858 reviews69.2k followers
September 1, 2014
So, I get an email a while back from Cat, saying that she's gifting me this book, and sending the next one in the mail.
Hmmmm. Should I be suspicious? Is this some sort of a stinker that she doesn't want to read herself?
Nah. She's just an unusually nice sort of person who sends me 'care packages', because she genuinely thinks I'll enjoy these books.
And she was right!

Delia's Shadow is part love story, part paranormal thriller, and part historical mystery.
Shadow is the name Delia gives to the unusual ghost that started haunting her (in earnest) while she was teaching in New York. She can't communicate with the dead, but she sees their spirits wandering around, sometimes attached to someone they loved in life. This particular spirit seems different, in that it is determined to get her attention. She feels this ghost wants her to return to her hometown of San Francisco. With no other way to rid herself of the the spirit, she gets on a train, and heads back to the women she considers her family.
And it's not too long before Delia realizes the connection between her Shadow, and a serial killer who is hunting in her hometown.
With the help of her best friend, Sadie, she's introduced to a medium named Dora. She understands what Delia is up against, and is willing to help her piece together the story of Shadow's life.
And maybe more importantly, her death.
Sadie's fiancee, Jack, and his partner, Gabe, are the detectives who are frantically working to prevent the killer from striking again. Not only does he show no signs of stopping, it looks as though he's getting ready to strike at the loved ones of the two men who are hunting him. With Sadie's life in danger, Delia has to overcome her fears and learn how to use her abilities to help stop this psychopath, before it's too late.

It was a really good story, and I enjoyed it quite a bit.
However, if you're looking for a fast-paced romp, you won't find it here.
The story moves forward at a decent pace, but Delia isn't an action heroine. She relays the messages and information to Gabe or Jack, and they head out to investigate. Part of me wanted to see her get out there and kick some ass, but the other part of me was glad that she wasn't stupid enough to do it. She doesn't have hidden ninja skills, and in this time period it would have been weird for her to be involved in capturing a criminal.
So, no points for feminism, but points for historical accuracy.
Also, I found it odd (and yet sort of refreshing) that Delia had no trouble convincing Gabe and Jack of the I See Dead People thing.
Ok. To be fair, there's a whole lotta evidence (including some ghostly tantrum stuff) to point to the fact that she's not riding the Crazy Train.
So.
Either you'll be like me, and enjoy the fact that she doesn't spend the entire book trying to convince everyone she's not nuts.
Or you'll think it was a little to convenient that everyone got on board with the idea so quickly.

I liked the POV shifts between Gabe and Delia, as well. He's a good guy with good intentions, and a pretty broad emotional spectrum. It was awesome to see a book promote healthy relationships between men and women. Jack and Gabe aren't controlling Alpha men, and neither Sadie nor Delia are fainting violets. It seems as though their relationships are built on...hang on to your hat....respect and love for each other.
GASP!

If you've been looking for a paranormal/historical/thriller/mystery/ghost story...with a bit of romance, then check this one out. If you want a story about an ass-kicking Ghost Whisperer, then you need to keep looking.
Profile Image for Jacob Proffitt.
2,897 reviews1,502 followers
April 24, 2017
Wait, why did I finish this, again? By the midway point I knew that it would continue on it's plodding way to the very end. I suppose I hoped something fun would happen? Or maybe it was just late and my judgment was impaired? I think I'll go with that last one. It certainly wasn't any merit of the book.

Okay, that's a little harsh. Moyer has a lyrical quality to her writing that would be admirable if it hadn't been slathered on with a trowel. Take any paragraph on any page and you can get lost in its descriptive effulgence. And that would have been a good thing if it had been accompanied by any other redeeming qualities.

But no, the characters are insipid, the paranormal so universally accepted (by everyone that matters), and the plot was vacationing in Maui and phoned it in from there. Want details?

Delia sees ghosts. Not one person expresses skepticism longer than half a chapter. And that was one guy who was a known and lifelong cynic who nevertheless came around because Dora the psychic told him stuff nobody else knew. Nobody else held out even that long which means that the entire dramatic potential in the premise was completely wasted.

And the leading men, both Jack and Gabe, are the worst kind of anachronisms. They're both cops risen through the ranks and they both spend the entire novel being emotionally wrought when they aren't completely gormless. This was 1915 for heaven's sake! Men were men to such an extent that both Humphrey Bogart and Cary Grant were learning how to be cool from these people (despite having names that were completely silly if you had no idea who they are)! Seriously, having them break down crying all over themselves and anyone around them was a bit much—though not completely unexpected given that by that time they'd spent the better part of the novel being all emotionally vulnerable and supportive with everybody around them. It was like having WWI cast from Three's Company. Or like watching Magnum P.I. played by Alan Alda.

And then you have the plot. There wasn't a single twist or surprise in the entire course of the story. You have ghosts and a serial killer and psychics and yet the plot could have been laid with a ruler and plumb line. I wasn't surprised even once and I don't say that because that was some kind of achievement (because it definitely wasn't). Worse than the complete lack of suspense, however, was the effect Moyer's prose has on the pacing. Yeah, she can craft a paragraph. But she also crafts paragraphs for pages and pages and pages and pages. The end result is that the action dribbles away and I was left reminding myself of what was supposed to be the point over and over again. I eventually learned that I could get the gist of the story by skimming one sentence per paragraph (pretty much at random—first, last, middle, any single sentence, really) and not miss anything important. Which was a happy discovery as by that point I just wanted to get to the end (and no, I'm still not sure why I wanted to get to the end).

So yeah. Not a win for me. Which is too bad because now I want a good cop story set in the early 20th century (before Miranda and paying all that attention to warrants or due process...).
Profile Image for ᴥ Irena ᴥ.
1,649 reviews213 followers
November 17, 2015
I expected too much from this book and that made my disappointment even stronger. Delia's Shadow is a perfect example that literary awards don't mean I'd like the book.

At first it was good. It seemed I would get exactly what I expected: a story of a young woman who sees ghosts and that would somehow be a a part of a greater story about a serial killer. You do get all that, but the way it was written makes most of this book, well, plain boring. It doesn't help that the chapters consist of alternating POVs - Delia's in the first person and Gabriel's in the third. Every time it switched to the other, it interrupted the flow of the story.

All her life Delia has been haunted by ghosts and she leaves for New York. When the book starts, she is back in San Francisco followed by a ghost, who made her leave New York in the first place.

The time setting is interesting, which makes my disappointment even more intense. It's 1915 and San Francisco is preparing to host the Panama-Pacific Exposition. Everyone wants to show that the life goes on after the catastrophe nine years before.

The gory murders cast a shadow over Delia and her best friend Sadie's plans for Sadie's wedding because Sadie's fiancé is one of the detectives trying to catch the killer. We get five friends contributing that fight: Delia and Sadie, Jack (Sadie's fiancé) and his friend and colleague Gabriel Ryan and Isadora, a medium.

As I said, at first the story is promising, but soon the way characters interact became boring as hell. If I was supposed to like Isadora, I missed that message in all her exaggerated flirting. The romance between Delia and Gabriel goes something like this: 'oh, hello; I lost people in my life: oh, me too; let's talk about the murders; eat something, have tea, I love you' or at least close to this. All that in a few days. His character is promising enough, but you don't get to know him even with the parts of the book that show his side of the story.

Stupidity pushes the plot forward, plain and simple. Once even a passer-by did something stupid, that moved the other characters to action. And don't get me started on Sadie. I won't rate this one star because there are occasional brilliant moments in the story, so there's that.
Profile Image for Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*.
2,388 reviews1,056 followers
January 27, 2016

3.5 Stars

Delia’s Shadow promises quite a bit: Victorian Society; Human-Ghost Interaction; Gothic ambience; Paranormal Mystery. While the book delivers all it promises, it holds back a bit at the same time.

Delia is returning home to be reunited with her childhood friend who is about to be married, and her surrogate mother who is on the eve of her deathbed. She’s not returning home alone, though – a ghost is trailing her, encouraging her to return home for reasons Delia can’t figure out. Meanwhile, Sadie’s fiancé Jack and friend Gabe are on the hunt for a serial killer who has been terrorizing the small town.

The story is a great concept. It has a lot going for it. The ambience is potent, and I could almost feel the fog on my face as I was reading the flashback scenes. I loved the psychic and she turned out to be my favorite. The gothic theme is used strongly and without shame. I do love how the plot is intertwined with so many secrets and how these connect to the characters in surprising ways.

Issues arise with the characterization. They didn’t seem convincingly, too good to be true, especially the police force. Delia and Gabe’s relationship also rang false since neither were convincing. As it typical with Gothic romances, the rushed love is usually unrealistic and without much buildup for that special connection. Also, for the house being full of ghosts, it was surprisingly non-eerie. I would forget about them being there unless the author mentioned it after a while. More could have been done with them.

While the mystery stayed a mystery, it was intriguing enough, but I feel the mystery was dropped too soon and fell off. The villain is a creative twist by identity, but I wish it could have been discovered a little later. It isn’t gory, although deaths are tragically felt.

I think one of the scenes that will stay with me the most is when the ghosts send Sadie on a vision, and Teddy looks at her once they arrive before evaporating into a cloud of dust. Beautiful stuff. You could certainly feel the haunting, paranormal elements swirling around.

There is one more thing to mention: weird POV struggles. It’s not unusual to have two points of view, one male and one female, but never when that’s done does it switch from first person point of view to third. Each section is labeled by the name Gabe or Delia, and when in Gabe’s head it was “He said…”, but when it’s Delia, it was “I thought…,etc.”

It’s the first of the series. I’m not sure where it will go from here, but I’m curious. And surely I’m not the only one who has massive cover love?

An enjoyable novel but ultimately parts of the ghost story are a little lifeless.
Profile Image for Maja (The Nocturnal Library).
1,013 reviews1,879 followers
October 20, 2013
Delia’s Shadow is a wonderful combination of so many genres, it would be almost impossible to find the one that’s dominant. It’s historical, set in San Francisco, nine years after the great 1906 earthquake. It involves ghosts and spiritualists, which means it has strong urban fantasy elements. It is a murder mystery too, in which a deranged serial killer decides everyone’s fates. And finally, the strong romantic elements and dual narration mark it as paranormal romance as well.

All these things combined make a fascinating book, one that will hold your attention from start to finish. It is beautifully written, although the dialogues are occasionally just a tiny bit stilted, and the characters are perfectly developed. In addition, the story is excellently paced, with not a single dull moment to burden the narrative. Although this is Jamie Lee Moyer’s debut novel, she already writes with an impressive level of maturity and self-assuredness.

The story is told from two perspectives: Delia’s, in first person, and Gabe’s in third. Oddly enough, I found myself enjoying Gabe’s POV far more, probably because he showed more emotional complexity, and because his parts of the story were more eventful due to the murder investigation he was running. Delia, for her part, brought a certain calmness and unflinching honesty one can’t help but admire. As a heroine, she is easily likeable and dependable, but still somewhat of an enigma, someone I can see myself wanting to get to know better in later installments.

The secondary characters don’t fall far behind. Each of them equally fascinating and well thought through. Sadie and Jack make a wonderful couple, with Sadie especially interesting and quirky. I hope there will one day be a short story with them at its center. Officer Henderson is also someone I’d very much like to get to know better, as is Annie, Sadie and Delia’s maid and confidante.

The ghosts in the story were perhaps not as scary as they could have been, but that was not their purpose at all. They were a constant presence in Delia’s life, there with a purpose – to help catch the man who killed them all, a serial killer active for over 30 years. Moyer is excellent at building nail-biting tension, and her killer does not disappoint; he is intelligent, vicious, and completely sociopathic.

Two more books about Delia Martin were announced. They’re titled A BARRICADE IN HELL and AGAINST A BRIGHTENING SKY and scheduled to be published in 2014 and 2015. I’m very much looking forward to them.


Profile Image for Historical Fiction.
919 reviews577 followers
April 5, 2014
Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

I picked up Jaime Lee Moyer's Delia's Shadow thinking it might make a nice transitional piece. I'd been reading a lot of historic nonfiction and thought a ghost story would be just what I needed to ease back into the world of fiction. Suffice it to say, I wasn't expecting a lot from this book and was caught entirely off guard when it swept me clean off my feet.

Moyer's San Francisco is populated with a multitude of ghosts and while that may not seem particularly imaginative, I think readers will be surprised by Moyer's spirited portrayal of the deceased. Not as well-rounded as the living cast, Delia's phantom following truly feels as if they are hanging somewhere between life and death. I don't know if this treatment was an intentional decision or not, but I feel it went a long way in establishing a hauntingly ethereal aura around the specters that dog Delia's steps.

More often than not I was able to guess where the story was going, but even so, Moyer's presentation often caught me off guard. You'll have to read the book to understand what I am getting at here, but Moyer's ability to manipulate the reader's emotions with language and prose more than makes up for the predictability of the narrative.

In terms of romance, Delia Martin and Gabe Ryan have the kind of chemistry I really appreciate. Much like Amanda Quick's Tobias March and Levinia Lake, Moyer's leads aren't looking for love. It is inevitable that the pair end up together, but I like that their relationship is an extension of their partnership rather than unfulfilled longing.

Is the book perfect? I don't think so. I would have loved a solid explanation regarding the serial killer's background, the details of what made that individual tick, but all in all I can't say I overly disappointed by the oversight. Delia's Shadow is a wonderfully written paranormal mystery set against the dazzling lights of the Panama–Pacific International Exposition. Not to be missed.
Profile Image for Jaina.
116 reviews14 followers
March 11, 2021
This switches between Delia's sections in first person, and Gabe's sections in third person and I hated that decision so so much. So much. I don't mind alternating POVs, but switching perspectives? None of that, thank you.

But! If you're less fussy, it's a paranormal mystery set in Gilded Age San Francisco and there's an occult serial killer and some ghosts! So maybe check it out and see how you do!
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
2,981 reviews362 followers
November 7, 2014
If there is one thing you can count on about me it is that I love a good ghost story, it doesn't matter the time of day, year, season, month, I just love a good haunting tale that will leave you freaked out and sleeping with the lights on. Be it a murder mystery with vengeful spirits or a sweet tale of someone simply wanting to pass a message on to a loved one, I love them all.

This was the best kind of ghost story. One with a mixed blend of genres that will leave you breathless and completely enthralled. A dark tale set in a time long ago that is just as much rich in detail as it is in mystery.

You will be left swooning at the subtle sweet romance that is just enough lightness to really keep this story from being too much. From being too much about an evil madman on the loose murdering the innocent and from it being too haunting to want to continue. Instead you will be wrapped up in the story and eager to learn more and for Gabe and Jack to catch the culprit.

This has everything I love in a good historical, everything I love in a good ghost story, and everything I love in a really good suspenseful mystery.

The next book is high on my priority list because I can't wait for more.
Profile Image for Fangs for the Fantasy.
1,449 reviews184 followers
November 13, 2013
Life has not been easy for Delia. Her family died in the great earthquake in San Francisco, leaving her on her own, with the exception of her best friend Sadie. Delia is a haunted woman and she sees ghosts. Seeking to get away from the supernatural, Delia moves across country but when a particular ghost becomes insistent about invading her dreams and showing her horrible images of San Francisco, Delia knows that she must return home to get to the bottom of what she is being shown. What Delia does not know, is that the trip home will place her in the middle of a hunt for a serial killer.

Despite the hunt for a serial killer and a thread of romance running through the story, Delia's Shadow is not really a compelling read. It's the sort of book to pick up to kill time while waiting to do something else. It moved along at a steady pace, to a highly predictable ending. There were no twists or turns to engage the readers and at times, the characters were awfully tiresome. The story quite simply was flat.

For a period novel, Moyer really failed to give us a strong sense of the setting. I had great difficulty picturing the time period, let alone believing it. For instance, men did not wear Fedora's in 1915, as the style became popular in the 20's. There were no real descriptions to give us a strong sense of time or place; nothing to tells us what the culture was like. Little things like talking about the music people were listening to, or a more vivid description of the clothing been worn would have gone a long way in giving the setting a more life like feel.


There are several female characters in this story, yet the real action always seemed to come down to the men. The male characters were constantly fretting over the women and ordering protection for their safety. At no point did any of the women actively think about how to protect themselves. The gender roles were rigid and strictly enforced throughout, with the exception of Esther, who lived a bohemian lifestyle by taking on lovers instead of a husband. Moyer stopped just short of having her female characters clutch their pearls.

San Fransisco has always been a multicultural city but beyond one mention of Chinatown and Annie, the Black maid, you wouldn't know that from reading Delia's Shadow. For me, Annie was one of the most frustrating characters in the book. Annie had no backstory to speak of and existed only to smile, and feed people. In essence, Annie is a Mammy - there to comfort the White characters with no real identity of her own. Annie even sings Negro Spirituals and we are continually reminded of how wise Annie is. It was so ridiculous that I wonder if Moyer has ever interacted with a living Black woman?

Then we have the antagonist Ethan, who sent letters to the police containing references to Egyptian mythology. It turned Egyptian mythology into this mysterious dark thing that consumed people. Ethan was also abused as a child and this was used to explain his little penchant for murdering and abusing people. This is yet another terrible stereotype and one that follows people who were victims in their childhood. Does growing up being abused damage a person? Yes, most certainly, but then to suggest all who are abused become like their abuser is terribly stigmatizing and wrong. We should have been given a different motivation for Ethan's actions. There was no nuance to his character, nor did we learn anything about him beyond his history as a victim.

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Profile Image for Stacey.
631 reviews
November 3, 2013
Delia Martin steps off the train in San Francisco, her home, after three years in self-imposed exile in New York. She has returned because her "Shadow," a young woman brutally murdered before Delia was born, haunts her, leading her back. Shadow's death in San Fran is related to a serial killer currently stalking the city's denizens and threatening the Pan Pacific Fair of 1915. Delia is strong, with a few strong relationships - she is close to her second mother and her best friend, Sadie. All her life, she has seen ghosts.

Gabe Ryan is a young police detective on the serial murders case, with a secret: this case may be related to an unsolved serial murder case that his father worked before him. He is determined, focused, by-the-book, and good friends with his partner, Jack, who is Delia's best friend's fiance.

At first, I found the novel compelling. Delia was interesting, a strong heroine with a sad and creepy ghost and a mystery to solve. Gabe was interesting, and I wanted to watch their relationship build. I even enjoyed the visceral crime scenes, which added a vividness to the plot, although some are uncomfortable. (Read: If you get squeamish at gory details, you might want to give this one a miss).

Before long, however, I found first the characters and relationships falling flat. In particular, the romance seemed forced, overplayed. Then, I noticed that I kept imagining the events were taking place in the 1940s. While this could be my own fault for not knowing the Ford Model-T was mass produced by the early 1910s, and that cloche hats were first designed in 1908, I was right about the fedoras, which were not worn in the city by men until the 1920s. The setting just wasn't realistic enough, present enough, and I repeatedly lost the sense of being in 1915. Names were inconsistent - characters thought of others by different names, often on the same page, which I found distracting. The denouement was almost glossed over, with little tension or suspense.

By the second half of the book, no part of it convinced me. The romance, the setting, the plot felt flat and unrealistic. I had quite high hopes for this novel, but in the end I felt the delivery made it a quite forgettable tale of murder and romance in 1915 San Francisco.

Profile Image for Matt Gilliard.
75 reviews13 followers
December 18, 2013
True story, I found myself making an impromptu trip to my local book seller and I knew I wanted a debut author, preferably female for my next read. I reached out to Twitter for recommendations but my trip was a short one and I didn't get a response fast enough, so I chose a book from the new release section only to find out the author of my chosen novel had suggested it. That novel was Jaime Lee Moyer's Delia's Shadow and I'm pleased to report that it was just what the doctor ordered. Fantasy is not a genre known for it's subtlety and Moyer's delicate and graceful tapestry of historical, romantic, and supernatural elements is as far from the blade wielding heroes, wizened mages, and fire breathing dragons that most associate with the genre as you can get, both in terms of subject and delivery. Even with ghosts and killers prowling the pages, Moyer delivers a subdued yet rousing tale about two people both haunted by their past drawn together to create a future. Moyer is definitely an author to watch.




Delia's Shadow is the story of Delia Martin, a school teacher who has fled from her home in San Francisco to New York because she sees ghosts everywhere in her home town. When one persistent ghost appears, silently entreating her to return home, Delia returns home and quickly realizes that this ghost is leading her to a confrontation with her killer, a man who has recently begun killing again. Terrified of both the killer, who has been drawn to her due to her connection to the detectives investigating his crimes and the growing intensity of the nameless ghost who has driven her home, Delia is determined to master her fear and help bring the killer to justice by any means. Finding herself drawn to the grief stricken detective in charge of the investigation, Delia may have found the love of her life, if he can outwit this killer before he or Delia become targets themselves.

Delia's Shadow has two main point of view characters, with Detective Gabe Ryan sharing duties with Delia. Both are well crafted and instantly sympathetic as Moyer shows how the killer's victims haunt them both, both in the figurative and literal sense. Both seem to be fairly rudderless in all aspects of their lives that are unrelated to the killings and Delia's ghosts but quickly find each other to be a healing and supportive influence. If you are afraid of the story becoming a bodice ripper, you can rest easy. The romance between the two is a allowed to simmer, as their are more pressing problems and by allowing things to smolder rather than spark, Moyer adds a real sense of authenticity to their relationship.

Which brings me to the mystery. Readers expecting something along the lines of a modern thriller will likely be disappointed. The thriller elements are present, but with the split focus, this is not as full as surprising reveals and reversals as the typical Patterson or Deaver novel. There are revelations a plenty, and though I managed to suss out a secret or two before the big reveal, it wasn't by many pages. Moyer lays the clues in plain view, and trust the readers to figure things out along with the characters. I actually enjoyed the feeling of being able to piece together the mystery rather than waiting on the big reveal at the end with no clear trail of clues.

Despite its relative brevity, clocking in at a little over three hundred pages and the tension of a serial killer who is ramping up in his grisly game of cat and mouse with the police, Delia's Shadow manages to maintain a precarious balance between allowing the romance between the two leads without losing the tension of the murder mystery that remains the center of the novel. The action was subdued in most cases, which gives the novel the feel of a period piece and plays in well with the elements of historical fiction throughout the novel.

All in all, Delia's Shadow is a promising debut and I'll look forward to seeing where Moyer takes these characters in the all but guaranteed continuation of the series. If you're in the mood for a fantasy novel that challenges your expectations of what the genre can be, Delia's Shadow may just be the book for you.
Profile Image for Mags.
353 reviews132 followers
September 4, 2013
Where you a fan of the TV show Ghost Whisperer?


Did you read The Name of the Star and liked it?

Then you'll love this book!!!

Mix Ghost Whisperer with Jack the Ripper and add the setting of a 1915 San Francisco and you get Delia's Shadow.

Delia is a woman, and she ... well ...


So she can see dead people's ghosts, but one of them, one in particular, the ghost of a woman, is following her around, like a shadow. Delia was working in NYC and when she goes back to San Francisco, to her friend Sadie's house, Shadow tries to tell her things trough her dreams, but those are not pleasant thing ... those dreams become nightmares when Delia re-lives the way Shadow was murdered.

Sadie's fiancé Jack and his partner Gabe are cops investigating a serial killer in town, but things get complicated when said serial killer targets their family, Delia and Sadie.

The thing is, Shadow is more than she seems, she's connected to And Delia's dreams are the key.

I like the book, it has a good pace, although I would have liked a bit more romance. The mystery was good enough to keep me on my toes ... however some parts were predictable. So yeah, I recommend the book, if you like the serial killer + ghosts mystery without the gore ;)
Profile Image for Hasnamezied.
377 reviews66 followers
June 22, 2016
Love it so so much . If you are a fan of GHOSTS so this is the book you need to read . I enjoyed the progress of Delia's character and her realtionship with Gabe was just WOW. The mystery here was exciting and brilliant . Every character here had her unique role( sadie, jack, Dora , marshel , annie, I mean really eveyone)
Great book , I definitely recommend it .
Profile Image for Lata.
3,495 reviews186 followers
June 11, 2019
Not riveting, but enjoyable enough, considering I was looking for a historical mystery with a dash of the paranormal.
Delia sees dead people, specifically a particularly persistent ghost that comes to her in New York City. This forces Delia to return to her home in San Francisco, where she quickly returns to her former life with her close friend (and practically sister), SSSS. SSSSis going to be married soon to Jack, a police officer, and is busy trying to pair up Delia with Jack's partner and best friend Gabe, a police inspector. No big mystery here but Delia and Gabe fall for each other, though because is 1911, there's only handholding and sincere conversations. Oh yes, there's also a brutal killer on the loose, and Gabe and Jack are investigating the murders. Lots of stuff happens, including Delia meeting a somewhat flamboyant woman, Dora, who regularly deals with ghosts and spirits, and who begins helping Delia understand who her ghost (the "Shadow" of the book's title) is and how this ghost, and all the others flocking to Delia, may be connected to the serial killer.
All these details should have made for a riveting read. Instead, it's a little on the tepid side, and while I liked the story, it wasn't the tension-filled, historical mystery I was hoping for. Delia's a nice enough character: steadfast, caring, and quiet; again, there's nothing wrong with this, but everyone around her seemed to be a little more present, a little more vivid than she is.
If I can track down the other books in this series through my library, I may continue this series. More because it would be a nice change from darker, more demanding fare than because I feel a burning need to read everything else about Delia.
Profile Image for All Things Urban Fantasy.
1,921 reviews611 followers
October 6, 2013
The beauty of DELIA’S SHADOW starts at the cover for me; haunting, rich, and mysterious. The concept of a haunting in history, pairing paranormal themes with the grace and politeness turn of the century San Francisco was an irresistible lure.

But for a story that promises so much of the gothic tradition, I found these shadows to be thin. I struggled to find an emotional connection with Delia. Even the nature of her haunting is so ubiquitous, so evenly accepted by those around her, that it becomes simple mechanics rather than a dramatic twist. I expected Delia to have a singular ability, but rather, Moyer’s writes a world where the veil between the living and the dead is quite thin, and several characters have their own interactions with ghosts before too long.

That initial change in perspective (from “singular ghost whisperer” to “everyone seems on board with ghosts”), made me no less interested in the story, but the dry delivery and shallow descriptions made the story skim along without pulling me deeper. DELIA’S SHADOW is a mystery without drama, a romance without mystery, and a ghost story with very little haunting. Other than the over the top violence implied for the central boogeyman, his ghostly victims offer very little pathos. I waited for Shadow’s dream sequences to unfold, I waited for Delia to unbend enough to explore the phenomena haunting her, and all the while Gabe and Sophie and Jack clicked through the story like a clockwork cast. Part of this emotional distance is due to the time period, and fans of quiet restraint will enjoy the social mechanics of this book, but Moyer’s writing style doesn’t promise any deeper emotions behind the social facade.

Despite those issues, DELIA’S SHADOW is a ghost story worth a read for some. Those who like period drama may enjoy this historical mystery, with shadowy victims walking amongst the living as a killer terrorizes London. As someone who reads a lot of mysteries, period fiction, and paranormals, DELIA’S SHADOW promised much more than it delivered.

Sexual Content: Kissing, references to sex.
Profile Image for Beth Cato.
Author 109 books487 followers
August 25, 2013
I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley; it won't be released until September 17th, 2013.

I've been reading a lot of books about and set in turn-of-the-20th-century San Francisco. When I found out about this book, I knew I had to read it, as it's set in 1915. Not only does it deal with the aftermath of the earthquake about a decade prior (which is what I'm addressing in my own work), but it also takes place during the Panama-Pacific International Exhibition. I first learned about that event as a child when I read the nonfiction collection of Laura Ingalls Wilder's letters on her visit to San Francisco; I haven't read that book in ages, so it was fascinating to revisit the setting as an adult, and in a very different context.

Delia's Shadow is a work of historical fiction, but it's also, quite strongly, a ghost story and a murder mystery. These three elements blend in a beautiful yet gruesome way. Delia is haunted by a ghost that cannot speak but shares terrible images of terror and death. The other viewpoint in the story is Gabe, a detective tracking a series of frustrating murders across San Francisco--and he believes the murderer also hunted in the city thirty years before, when his father was a cop. Delia and Gabe's story lines intertwine, of course.

This brings out a fourth subgenre for the book: romance, and a very well done one. The chemistry is real because the characters feel real. The romance never took over the book, but added a great deal of tension and emotion as events escalated. When it was clear that Gabe's wife died during the earthquake, I was in dread that since Delia saw ghosts, some sort of love triangle would emerge with the dead wife. I was very, very glad that didn't happen, as that might have ruined the book for me.

My only criticism, I think, is that the ending felt too fast. Or maybe that's because I was enjoying it too much and didn't want it to end. The plot had plenty of twists, and the ghost element was downright creepy at times. The romance and genuine friendships between the characters added necessary levity to an otherwise dark book. Everything balances out just right.
Profile Image for Julia.
2,513 reviews67 followers
September 17, 2013
The beauty of DELIA'S SHADOW starts at the cover for me; haunting, rich, and mysterious. The concept of a haunting in history, pairing paranormal themes with the grace and politeness of turn of the century San Francisco was an irresistible lure.

And while those promises were upheld, I struggled to find an emotional connection with Delia. Even the nature of her haunting is so ubiquitous, so evenly accepted by those around her, that it becomes simple mechanics rather than a dramatic twist. I expected Delia to have a singular ability, but rather, Moyer writes a world where the veil between the living and the dead is quite thin, and several characters have their own interactions with ghosts before too long.

That initial change in perspective (from "singular ghost whisperer" to "everyone seems on board with ghosts"), made me no less interested, but the dry delivery and shallow descriptions made the story skim along without pulling me deeper. DELIA'S SHADOW is a mystery without drama, a romance without mystery, and a ghost story without any restraint. Dead bodies and haunts fill the house, but ultimately seem no more frightening than party guests. I waited for Shadow's dream sequences to unfold, I waited for Delia to unbend enough to explore the phenomena haunting her, and all the while Gabe and Sophie and Jack clicked through the story like a clockwork cast. Part of this emotional distance is due to the time period, and that works, but part of it comes from the writing. Moyer's San Francisco never came alive for me, and the flat impressions of her characters provided the bearest glimpses of the world around them. I felt like I was reading lists of he-said, she-said rather than immersing myself in Delia's present.

Despite those issues, the premise and it's execution is enough of a ghost story to be worth a read for some. Those who like period drama may enjoy this historical mystery, with shadowy victims walking amongst the living as they try to catch a killer.

Full review to follow.
Profile Image for Krista D..
Author 63 books296 followers
January 3, 2020
This was such a great mixture of murder mystery, fantasy, and historical fiction. It's a rare intersection, and rarer to have each aspect done equally well.

Moyer's writing is more lyrical than I normally read, but proved to be a nice change of pace.
Profile Image for Mark Lindberg.
43 reviews25 followers
September 28, 2015
When I like an author, I want to like their books. In some cases, this hasn’t worked out for me, but I am happy to say that Jaime Lee Moyer nailed it with her first novel, Delia’s Shadow.

The novel may seem, at first glance, to be different from my usual fare—it’s historical Earth-based fantasy with romance. These are things I generally avoid; my tastes tend toward longer epic fantasy or sci-fi stories set on strange worlds with lots of cool technology or magic.

Just goes to show that you can’t judge a book based on one or two bits, and I need to branch out more.

The setting, a 1915 San Francisco, is done exceedingly well. Moyer lived in the area for much of her life, and her familiarity with the history of the area seeps through on every page, imbuing the novel with a sense of authenticity and easy grace, and I loved it.

The fantastic element comes in the form of ghosts, and introduced them in a way I was familiar with from books such as Tamora Pierce’s Beka Cooper series, but also presented them in new and interesting ways that I don’t want to spoil for you. It suffices to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the fantastical element.

The main plot is a tight serial-killer mystery, following two detectives and two women in the society, and it works great for building the tension, as the murderer draws ever closer to our beloved protagonists. Again, the murder mystery and police elements reminded me of the Beka Cooper series, but set in a much nicer part of town.

There is a romance subplot, but it’s not the main plot, and I find that it’s one that I like. It’s a gentle, happy romance, and not an angsty or tension-filled one, and so I found myself actually enjoying it.

Moyer is a poet and a short story writer in addition to being a novelist, and it shows. Her prose is elegant and easy to read, and I was able to flow through the novel in two days. Also, she uses one-sentence paragraphs more effectively than most of the other authors I read; they put a real punch in her writing that makes the story even more effective.

I only have a few minor complaints about the novel, and those may say more about me than the book itself. First, there were two questions regarding the mystery that were never answered to my satisfaction, although the mystery itself definitely was. Also, I was able to predict the ending and a few other major events before they happened. This is only an issue for me because I like—and have come to expect—twisty endings to my books. It was still a satisfying ending, however, and did not majorly detract from my enjoyment of the book.

In summary, Delia’s Shadow is a delightful, graceful novel with an excellently plotted mystery mixed with paranormal elements and a sweet romance, and I absolutely loved it. While the ending was not as twisty as I’ve come to expect, it still fulfilled the promises made in the book. I give it four of five stars, and I’m on my way to read the next two books because I’m sure they’ll both be as delightful as the first.

Review originally from my blog, here.
Profile Image for Alicia.
218 reviews18 followers
August 20, 2014
Oh Delia... I read the sample of your Shadow story and immediately thought:



I was pretty hooked from the get-go with Delia's Shadow. The description of her stepping off of the train in San Fran with ghosts everywhere, and so many of them from the great fire, was wonderfully detailed and quite the hook. Her instant connection with loyal friend and almost-sister, Sadie, is perfection as well. And the time period - early 1900's, where ankles can show but ladies still blush when a man's bare chest is in sight - *le sigh*. I love.

But the hook for this story didn't last very long. I can't fault the switch in narration because Gabe's POV was unique and quite solid. If anything, I think the writing style got a bit heavy handed with the 'film noir' imagery.

What started off as wonderfully descriptive phrasing in the first chapter got super tedious by the fifth. I read about Gabe flipping his collar up to ward off the cold at least four times, and the wet grass soaking his socks and pant cuffs twice. And Sadie... I loved her character but I felt like I was beaten over the head with reminders about how pretty and talkative she was.

My favorite character was Dora and I desperately want to read a standalone story about her experience in Atlanta. I imagine I'm not the first nor the last go there.

The pacing of Delia's Shadow was appropriate, if not a little slow. I can't say I figured out who the killer was before the big reveal, but there's little way I could have. I did, however, figure out who Shadow was (almost immediately, actually).

With that said, the romance between the characters was definitely slow. But tasteful. Too many times we read about grown ass men and women falling in love at first sight. That is NOT the case with Delia and Gabe. For better or worse, they don't even so much as kiss before confessing their love.

All in all, this one started off so well but grew tedious as the story progressed and it got bogged down by details that caused me to do more than a little skimming. Not sure if I'm going to pursue the rest in this series - Depends on how much more we see of Dora.
Profile Image for Jodi Meadows.
Author 23 books4,621 followers
August 16, 2012
I actually read the sequel (haha, be jealous), but it's not on GR yet.
Profile Image for Diana Francis.
Author 40 books752 followers
September 22, 2013
I flat out loved this book. Read it. Read it now. It's a ghost story and a serial killer story and a historical and it is AMAZING.
Profile Image for SpookySoto.
916 reviews117 followers
October 12, 2018
Rating: Excellent, I enjoyed it a lot 🤗
2018’s Around the year in 52 books: #44, A ghost story.

This is a paranormal mystery/thriller set in 1916 in San Francisco, after the great quake that devastated the city. We meet Delia, since she was little she had the ability to see ghosts, but can’t comunicate with them. She fled San Francisco because it was flooded with spirits after the quake, but has returned because a strong ghost has been haunting her. She doesn’t know anything about her, she calls her shadow. Back in San Francisco, detectives Jack and Gabe are hunting a vicious serial killer. That’s the backdrop for the story.

I liked a lot, the setting, the atmosphere, plot and characters all drew me in, I was interested, engrossed and inmersed in the story from the beginning. I found it odd that most of the characters accepted the supernatural occurrences without giving them a second thought. I don’t think people would be that open to the paranormal but, at the same time, it was very refreshing not having to deal with skeptics.



I loved Dora, her free spirit. The ghost world intrigued me and I want to know more. I will definitely continue with the series.

If you like ghost stories, but don’t want to be scared, and like some romance sprinkled in, I recommend this to you.
Profile Image for Mary Soon Lee.
Author 86 books55 followers
June 20, 2019
There are spoilers ahead....
Profile Image for Alexis Drake.
969 reviews18 followers
April 7, 2022
Ho atteso per anni il momento giusto per iniziare Delia's shadow, perchè ero convintissima che mi sarebbe piaciuto da morire, e non volevo rovinare il momento.
Ebbene, ha occupato spazio sulla mia libreria per anni per nulla.
In teoria, aveva tutte le carte in regola per essere ottimo: una copertina accattivante, i fantasmi che infestano San Francisco dopo il terremoto, degli omicidi e l'esposizione universale.
Peccato che dopo qualche capitolo il tutto risulti noioso e surreale, come il fatto che chiunque, e dico chiunque, accetti il fatto che Delia vede i fantasmi come se fosse la cosa più naturale del mondo, persino i poliziotti non battono ciglio.
Verso la metà del libro si intuisce la netta distinzione dei capitoli tra quelli narrati da Delia in prima persona, e quelli di Gabe, in terza persona.
La distinzione è che in quelli di Delia non capita nulla, il vuoto assoluto, tutta l'azione(poca) e le rivelazioni(poche) sono in quelli di Gabe, Delia e Sadie, sua migliore amica, passano il tempo passeggiando, chiaccherando e organizzando il matrimonio di Sadie.
Delia non si preoccupa nemmeno di aiutare o scoprire l'identità del fantasma che la segue, devono essere sempre gli altri a fare qualcosa.
Noiosissimo, e il periodo storico non viene neanche descritto bene.
Profile Image for Linda.
271 reviews
July 25, 2017
Normally I devour ghost stories. This one however came with a gruesome serial killer. The killings began 30 years ago. Back then, officer Matthew Ryan proved ineffective in ridding the streets of a frightful menace who moved invisibly among the people. Very abruptly the killings stop. Now it is Lieutenant Gabriel Ryan, son of the stymied Matthew Ryan who peruses the old cases desperate to glean even the smallest clue to help him keep the people safe. The killing frenzy is happening again. Friends introduce Gabe to Delia who can see ghosts. Other "seer's join the hunt.

Serial killer means multiple murder by the same hand. Death sires ghosts. This story has a few to many of both for my taste. Add in an abundance of characters who also "see" the ghosts. They are the restless souls of a madman. As a consequence, I became weary to reach the end. In the end, we do know who but not the why which left me wanting. I do not say the author didn't connect all the dots here. I do say I felt a heaviness and cumbersome atmosphere throughout the entire read. The story runs flat and predictable.

Appealing cover jacket.
1,258 reviews24 followers
December 15, 2017
This was an interesting book about a young medium who is haunted by a ghost. Determined to free herself of the apparition and convinced that can only happen in her hometown of San Francisco, she returns home. While this doesn't free her from the ghost, she is glad to be back in time for her best friend's wedding and to spend some time with her foster mother before that worthy lady passes on.

While Delia is enjoying her reunion with family, Gabe, a detective, is struggling to find a horrible serial killer. When he and Delia meet, the case is blown wide open; Delia's ghost has information relevant to the case. Delia and Gabe fall in love as the a killer stalks them in early 20th century San Francisco.

Enjoyable characters, well written history and an interesting mystery made this book an easy, fun read. I'm not sure I will continue with the series but I certainly found this first book worth my time.
Profile Image for Maria Tag.
168 reviews12 followers
July 3, 2021
A cute and interesting read, but nothing special. The characters were realistic and the plot easy to follow, albeit relying on a lot of cliches. This is a quick, fun read, but I wouldn't recommend if you're looking for anything special. That being said, I enjoyed it and if you're the type of reader who likes self-contained stories, ghosts, and romance, you would probably enjoy it as well.
577 reviews24 followers
August 9, 2013
I recently finished reading Delia's Shadow by Jaime Lee Moyer. My review: http://lynnsbooks.wordpress.com/2013/...

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.
Profile Image for Angie.
329 reviews158 followers
May 17, 2017
Early review, originally posted at Disquietus Reads

Before I get into the important details of this book, can I please just talk about how much I LOVE this cover. It's so gorgeous and perfectly fits the content within.

Delia's Shadow is an honest to goodness ghost story. Set about a decade after The Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, Delia Martin returns home to San Francisco for her best friends wedding, haunted by a ghost she calls Shadow. Shadow torments Delia with nightmares of her murder thirty years ago, a murder eerily similar to those of an uncaught serial killer who appears to be killing again, catapulting Delia into a hunt for the killer. Moyer promises the reader a good old fashioned ghost story and murder mystery and she does not disappoint.

I adored Moyer's writing. It's gorgeous, rich in detail and highly atmospheric. I also greatly admire the amount of research that must have gone into this book, I looked a few things up while reading and everything seemed to be spot on. While the book does also features  the dreaded dual POV, switching between Delia and Gabe, it worked well with the story. Sometimes POV changes can be disruptive, but that wasn't the case here. They flowed seamlessly into each other and I enjoyed getting to see things from both characters.

For the most part I also really enjoyed how descriptive the scenes were. Although I haven't yet had a chance to visit San Francisco, it was easy to picture myself there through Moyer's descriptions of the architecture, weather and scenery. Moyer paints lovely visual scenes.  What made this a less than perfect book for me was the simple fact that as lovely as the writing was, at times it was just a little too heavy and moved just a little too slowly for my, especially during the first 30% or so of the story. There were a few  times when the detail was overwhelmingly too much, especially when I'm reading a long paragraph detailing what the characters are eating.

I really loved the story being told here, and it kept me spooked and anxious/impatient for answers throughout. Moyer kept me on my feet the entire time, accomplishing something incredibly rare in a mystery novel: I actually didn't figure out who the killer was until a paragraph before it was revealed. That never happens. I'm ridiculously good at guessing the who/why. It was creepy in all the right places and her ghosts definitely had teeth. I only had two major complaint about the plot. The first is is that we never get any real explanation about why Delia has the ability to see ghosts, or why she didn't see them after she moved. I really wish this had been explained more, but I'm hoping it will be more of a focus in later books. The second is a pivotal scene that happens towards the end with Gabe that I felt was just too rushed through. It was one of those blink and you miss it scenes and lacked the emotional punch it should have had.

As for the characters, Delia's Shadow is filled with tons of great ones, all well-developed and likable. Delia is lovely. Down to earth, brave, intelligent and with just the right amount of sass, she's one of my new favorites. And of course I fell utterly in love with Gabe. He has an old-soul vibe and a quiet strength that charmed my socks off. I also really loved all of the the minor characters, Sadie especially. She was a breath of fresh air when things got too dark and a perfect balance for Delia. Of all the characters though, Isadora was my favorite. She's strong, unconventional and mysterious and I hope there is much more of her in the future.

The relationships between Gabe and Delia, Delia and Sadie, Nick and Sadie and Nick and Gabe were all  fascinating as well. This is a group of people I would have loved to have been friends with. I especially enjoyed the romance between Gabe and Delia. Despite the quick progression of their relationship, it felt completely organic. Given the high stakes environment they are thrown into and the amount of time they are spending together, it felt natural for them to fall in love so quickly. I also loved that their romance did not overshadow the more important aspects of the plot. It was just a quiet, steady presence that added rather than distracted.

I really loved this book and I want ya'll to be excited about it too. It was a wonderful debut and I look forward to getting my hands on a finished copy, as well as future books.

I received my copy of Delia's Shadow as an eARC free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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