A Barricade in Hell by Jaime Lee Moyer is the sequel to the extremely popular Delia's Shadow. I often shy away from sequels to books I love but I dared pick this one up in the hopes that it was as engaging as the first.
Synopsis from Amazon:
In Jaime Lee Moyer's Barricade in Hell, 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?
While I adore the genre of the paranormal, I sometimes have a hard time finding books with all of the story elements I enjoy. I loved Delia's Shadow. I was immediately attracted to the historic post-earthquake San Francisco setting offered by Moyer where the city, although already 1917, is still rebuilding and recovering. Another plus was the fact that the characters in the story, minus the paranormal, were realistic. They are adults who had life experience and had to deal with their own losses as they worked toward a happier future. Their stories had depth and meaning which allowed me to invest in them emotionally.
In this sequel, Delia and Gabe have been married for a few years and have a solid relationship throughout the story. The main plot revolves around ritualistic killings that are truly creepy in nature. While Gabe deals with the police investigation, Delia must deal with figuring out why all of a sudden the spirit world has erupted with angry mobs of ghosts, more powerful then she has ever experienced and seemingly focused on her husband. The two of them make a great team and it is wonderful to see how Gabe, a seasoned law enforcement agent, believes in and supports the use of Delia's abilities when necessary.
The story is thought provoking and definitely has its share of edge of your seat moments. I could have easily read it in one night if I had the time (which I did not). What I found interesting is that the mystery focuses less on who the murderer is (which we can figure out fairly early) and more on how to prove their guilt, bring them in, stop more murders from occurring, and figure out how the restless ghosts can finally find peace. This was a refreshing twist to the normal, "whodunit."
All in all, A Barricade in Hell was just as good, if not better than Delia's Shadow. I'm looking forward to a third book to wrap things up for all of these characters I have grown to love.