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.