PJV Quickie: As gory as it is sophisticated, DELIA’S SHADOW presents a perfect blend of mystery and paranormal elements. Likeable characters and a breath-taking view of historic San Francisco will make this a must read for anyone who enjoys paranormal or historical fiction.
Review: Set a few years after the devastating earthquake of 1906, San Francisco has thousands of ghosts searching for redemption, revenge, or peace. Though, only one has stalked Delia like a shadow until she has returned to the city. For years Delia has been cursed with the ability to see the spirits of the dead. She’s learned to feign ignorance to the frequent ghost sightings to keep other people from questioning her sanity. Under the guise of attending her best friend’s ill aunt and celebrating her best friend’s engagement, Delia secretly tries to piece together clues of her ghost stalker’s identity from nightmare images. Delia’s plight is easy to empathize with and I couldn’t help but instantly like Delia as a character.
Parallel to Delia’s storyline is Detective Gabe’s plotline. He’s investigating a string of murders eerily similar to the ones his father investigated when Gabe was a child. He’s a haunted character with a difficult shell to crack. The pieces of the mystery for both storylines are laid out like a puzzle and sometimes Gabe is given information that will help out Delia and vice versa.
I enjoyed the fact that there’s no instant attraction between him and Delia, despite there being an obvious effort to bring them together (Gabe’s friend and Delia’s friend play matchmaker). Both characters are guarded and have secrets that they’d rather not spill. What results is a relationship that sizzles with potential bombs of information that could either piece them together or blast them apart.
Although the story had a dark feel for the its majority, one character (Dora the fortune teller) shone with personality as if under a spotlight. Every scene she was in, I found myself smiling at her antics.
As far as Delia’s Shadow aka the stalker ghost — knowing that there’s no possibility that she’ll ever return home to her waiting family — it’s heart-wrenching to witness the final hours of the ghost’s life by the end of the story. For a character that never speaks, it’s amazing how invested both me and Delia become in finding out who exactly she was.
I always felt like I was one step behind the mystery, but I appreciated that I could flip back a few pages or chapter and see the clues so carefully placed that I had missed. DELIA’S SHADOW is a must read for anyone who likes their mystery with a cup of paranormal.