Jaime Lee Moyer
Publisher: Tor Books - To Be Released on 17th September 2013
E-Arc Courtesy of Netgalley & Tor Books
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...
Delia returns home to San Francisco when a particularly persistent ghost demands her attention and she become involved in the police investigation into a series of particularly brutal killings. Slowly she and her friend Sadie, become aware that the ghost named Shadow may hold the key to finding and stopping this murderer before he comes too close.
This story has a wonderful mix of society of San Francisco in that era, a blossoming romance between two particularly guarded and emotionally distraught characters and an involving murder mystery. The writing is very easy to follow with some wonderful descriptions of the fair in San Francisco at the time which allow you to smell the grounds and be awe-struck by the stands.
The crimes themselves are horrific. While the impact of the gruesome murder scenes are described on the character, the details of the actual scenes are absent which allows all our information about the crimes come to us filtered through a characters reaction – something which helps to connect to both Delia and Gabe, the lead police detective on the case. I really liked the different characters surrounding to two leads with Gabe’s partner, Jack a good foil to the seriousness of Gabe while Sadie the flighty but strong best friend, ailing foster mother Ether and mothering Annie help make Delia grounded and more than just a conduit to the spirits.
Great characterisations and an involving murder mystery are layered with Delia and Gabe’s growing relationship which is built on respect and personality. It’s hard to know what I enjoyed the most but the whole package built a thoroughly entertaining read that I will want to re-read before long!
Recommended for fans of Elizabeth Peters and Elizabeth May. 8 out of 10