Welcome to Wednesday. I have a guest post, review and giveaway for you all today. I know I haven't been doing as many guest posts these days, but when I do, I have a good one. I am delighted to welcome back author Jaime Lee Moyer, author of Delias's Shadow and the sequel: A Barricade in Hell. I reviewed Delia's Shadow back in March and I was delighted with this spooky, paranormal ghost story set in the early 1900's in San Francisco. I was thrilled to find that the sequel was even better. Delia, Gabe, Jack and Dora are back in this latest installment, and they are faced with yet another paranormal menace, one even more deadly and terrifying with evil intentions that could spread across the globe. World War I is ravaging Europe, and men are dying by the hundreds, bringing more ghosts to San Francisco. Want to know more? You will just have to read the book. I am pleased to welcome back Jaime. Before we get to Jaime, let me tell you all about her once again:
Jaime Lee Moyer lives in San Antonio, land of cowboys, cactus, and rhinestones. She writes books about murder, betrayal, friendship, magic, and kissing, an activity her cats approve of (even the kissing).
Her first novel, Delia’s Shadow, was published by Tor Books September 17, 2013. The second book in the series, A Barricade In Hell, comes out June 3, 2014, and the third book, Against A Brightening Sky, in 2015.
She writes a lot. She reads as much as she can. Find Jaime on her website, Pinterest, Twitter and Goodreads.
Here is Jaime with her thoughts on spiritualism:
Belief in anything is personal, whether it's belief in one's self, or the existence—or non-existence—of a Higher Power. We each make up our own mind about what's true or untrue. But belief in something can also be so widespread as to be almost universal.
Take gravity for example. Who doesn't believe in gravity?
When people question why the characters in A Barricade In Hell or Delia's Shadow don't have a problem believing in ghosts, or don't doubt Delia's ability to see spirits, I have a one word answer.
Beginning in the 1840s, and continuing well into the 1920s and 30s, the spiritualist movement spread across the United States and into parts of Europe. Spiritualists believed that ghosts were real and provided a direct means of communication with the afterlife. Mediums, or trance lecturers, were seen as the bridge between the living and the dead, and were much sought after to deliver messages to loved ones who had "passed over". Séances and demonstrations of automatic writing became very popular as a result.
They became profitable as well. Fraud was widespread, but mediums and trance lecturers traveled the country, celebrities that drew crowds in every venue. For some people these lectures were a form of popular entertainment. For others, the true believers, they were a spiritual catharsis.
The Civil War brought on a huge surge in spiritualism, fueled by the sheer number of war casualties. Battlefield photographs published in newspapers showed thousands of dead soldiers, many of whom had died a horrible death. Soldier's families flocked to mediums, willing to pay any amount of money to communicate with the men who'd gone off to war and never returned.
Charlatans were more than willing to take payment from grieving widows, mothers and fathers. Many even offered faked spirit photographs as proof a loved one's ghost watched over his family.
Soldiers' families weren't the only ones seeking solace by chasing spirits of their loved ones. A grieving Mary Todd Lincoln hosted séances in the White House, trying to communicate with her son, Willie, who died while Lincoln was in office. President Lincoln attended the séances as well.
This belief in a spirit world and the ability to communicate with the dead was largely an upper and middle class movement, and extremely popular with women. Séances were held in private homes, spiritualists held national conventions, and people attended summer camps by the thousands.
Even mainstream newspapers reported on haunted houses, and sightings of ghosts, as straight news stories. The Great War and the relentless slaughter on the battlefields of Europe brought another up surge in believers.
By the early 1900s, more than eight million people were involved with spiritualism in one way or another. You need to remember that the total population was much smaller back then, so eight million people was a sizable chunk of humanity. While belief in ghosts wasn't quite universal (there were skeptics) it was damn close.
Those are some of the reasons I set these books between 1915-1919. Isadora Bobet, society medium and closet witch, fits right into this real world scenario. So does Delia Martin, with her budding ability to see into the spirit realm, and her growing skill in communicating with ghosts. That their abilities are real, not faked, doesn't make them less a product of their time.
Gabe Ryan half believed in ghosts before he met Delia, and it didn't take much to nudge him into full-fledged acceptance that spirits exist. Sadie had known since childhood that Delia saw ghosts, and Jack's belief in haunts and phantoms was firmly rooted in all the strange things he'd witnessed walking a beat.
It's hard for those of us in the 21st century, wed as we are to scientific facts and hardwired to technology, to understand the kind of unquestioning acceptance displayed by the spiritualist movement. Communication with spirits and the existence of ghosts was a given for spiritualists in 1917.
For us, it's the stuff of fantasy novels and late night B movies.
(All images in the post are courtesy of wikimedia commons, please click on the photos for details).
Thanks so much, Jaime! I find the whole spiritualist movement fascinating, and I continue to reach for books set during this era. A very informative and thought provoking guest post. Now the question is do you believe in ghosts? Answer in the comments, and fill out the Rafflcopter for a chance to win a copy of A Barricade in Hell by Jaime Lee Moyer.
This giveaway is open to U.S. Residents only. Read the Contest Policies for further details. A huge thanks to Jaime for stopping by today. I am a big fan of this series and I am eagerly awaiting the third book!
Here is my review:
A Barricade in Hell by Jaime Lee Moyer
Delia Martin has been gifted (or some would say cursed) with the ability to peer across to the other side. Since childhood, her constant companions have been ghosts. She used her powers and the help of those ghosts to defeat a twisted serial killer terrorizing her beloved San Francisco. Now it's 1917—the threshold of a modern age—and Delia lives a peaceful life with Police Captain Gabe Ryan.
That peace shatters when a strange young girl starts haunting their lives and threatens Gabe. Delia tries to discover what this ghost wants as she becomes entangled in the mystery surrounding a charismatic evangelist who preaches pacifism and an end to war. But as young people begin to disappear, and audiences display a loyalty and fervor not attributable to simple persuasion, that message of peace reveals a hidden dark side.
As Delia discovers the truth, she faces a choice—take a terrible risk to save her city, or chance losing everything?
Four and a half stars: A successful sequel that is even more thrilling and dangerous.
Delia and Gabe have settled into married life, when something sinister arrives in San Francisco. It all starts with a strange, sacrificial type murder in the back of a drug store. Gabe and Jack tread carefully, knowing all to well the danger that ghosts and the paranormal can bring upon them. Their investigation takes them into the heart of Chinatown, where they learn a similar murder occurred. Meanwhile, Delia realizes Gabe is being haunted by one very powerful young ghost. A ghostly girl appears at night, and she seems determined to bring harm upon either Gabe or Delia. Can Delia and Dora banish the ghost while Jack and Gabe track down another dangerous killer?
What I Liked:
- I was so pleased to dive back into Delia's world and find a tale that surpassed the first. I loved that this book had a complicated plot with a killer who had some frightening and devastating ideas in mind that could affect the entire globe. This is an excellent paranormal series set in San Francisco in the early 1900s. If you are a reader that enjoys this era and you want a bit of supernatural, definitely grab this series.
- I love that characters in this series. Gabe and Jack are two veteran police investigators, who thanks to their association with Delia and Dora, believe in ghosts and the paranormal. Gabe especially seems to have a sixth sense when it comes to the supernatural. I like the way these two work together and compliment one another when it comes to their jobs. They are a terrific investigative team. Delia and Dora return and I was delighted to see that Dora plays a much larger role. Delia with Dora's help is learning how to hone her ghost seeing abilities and she is getting a handle on how to control the ghosts. I am liking her maturity. Dora continues to be fashionable, daring and fascinating. She is a modern women who doesn't give a damn about societal expectations. She is glamour and glitz and an extremely talented medium who can bat her eyes and tame almost any man. This group of core characters are not only engaging but likable, which enhances the read.
- Once again, I loved the era and the setting. This takes place in 1917 as the United States is trying to avoid entering World War. San Francisco is still rebuilding and recovering from the Great Quake of 1906. Even though a new city has risen from the ashes, ghosts are everywhere. It is an era of spiritualism, and people are quick to believe in ghosts. I am enjoying exploring the city during this time period.
- The murder investigation leads Jack and Gabe Chinatown where they encounter a powerful, Chinese man, Mr. Sung, who is hunting down the killer who murdered his niece and brother. I was intrigued and fascinated by this portion of the town, it truly is like a small part of China nestled in San Francisco, and to an outsider its secrets can be deadly.
- I enjoyed the mystery. I was a bit surprised that the suspect is revealed early on, and so there aren't any big surprises as far as who is behind the crimes, but the why was creepy and shocking. I liked that it was an exciting, dangerous and engaging mystery. I also appreciated that this one wasn't as dark and gruesome as the first.
- I like that I get a full story in each book of this series. No cliffhangers or big nagging questions. Everything is wrapped up by the end. The books could be read as stand alones if one desired, but if you wanted to get a full grasp on the characters, it is best to read them in sequence. There are a couple of niggling questions leftover that I am eager to follow up.
And The Not So Much:
- The ending felt a tiny bit rushed. I was on edge ready for the big final confrontation between Jack, Gabe and the killers, and then it goes rather quickly without too much of a fight. I was also disappointed that showdown between one of the murderers and the powerful and mysterious Mr. Sung is not recounted, and I was itching to know how that went down. Still, I was pleased with the wrap up.
- I adore Isadora. I find her so interesting with her sense of fashion and her ghostly talents. I am still wanting to know so much more about her and her history. I want to understand her past and to learn who educated her and helped her with her talent.
- I was fascinated by Mr. Sung, and I wanted to know more about him and his abilities. I am hoping that he will appear in the next book.
- I was a bit disappointed that Sadie and Annie were nothing more than mentions in this book. Both of these characters played key parts in the first book, and I missed them in this installment.
A Barricade in Hell is a superb sequel. This book matures the characters and presents another terrifying and exciting paranormal mystery. I love the San Francisco setting in 1917, a time when the country was on the verge of war and steeped in spiritualism. If you are looking for a terrific, paranormal, historical series, I highly recommend picking up the Delia Martin!
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.