Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her “power” to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes the dead leave behind in the world . . . and the imprints that attach to their killers.
Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find dead birds her cat had tired of playing with. But now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he’s claimed haunt her daily, she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.
Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet on her quest to find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved to find herself hoping that Jay’s intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she’s falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer . . . and becoming his prey herself.
Book: The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
Release Date: March 16, 2010
Genre: Young Adult
Series: Body Finder, #1
Free or Purchased: Library
Rating: (5 Zombies)
Kudos to a fabulous mystery with even better characters, and one of the best settings I’ve ever read! I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned this on the blog, but, for me, the setting makes the book. I’ll read an entire series of bad characters and flimsy plotlines if the environment it’s set in is good enough. Just a little quirk of mine.
Everything—characters, plot, writing—came together perfectly to form a haunting, original novel that left me eager for the next installment. While there aren’t really any loose ends to tie up, I’d like to see how Violet and Jay grow as characters, and how their relationship develops after the events of The Body Finder.
Like I said in my review of Linger by Maggie Stiefvater, I don’t generally like female characters in YA, since most of them strike me as whiny and needy, the two traits I hate most in any human being, especially one who I’m trying to entertain myself by reading about. While Violet wasn’t superwoman—far from it, with her slight klutziness and tendency to get into trouble—she was strong, and didn’t need to be fed meaningless comfort just to get through the day like some YA girls I’ve read about. She was very real, and reacted just how most girls her age would, and as such, was very enjoyable to follow through the story.
The story itself was at turns both scary and romantic, with comic relief from Chelsea, Claire, and Jules, Violet’s friends from school. The mystery was hard to figure out, but not in that frustrating, ohmigod-this-is-impossible way that some have. It was fun, and kept me guessing until the very end.
I strongly recommend The Body Finder to fans of cozy mystery stories and the paranormal, with a strong romance woven in. There aren’t really any books that I could compare it to because the concept was so innovative and new. All I can tell you is that The Body Finder is a great read that nobody should pass up.