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 left for her. But now that a serial killer is terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he’s claimed haunt her daily, Violet realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.
Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved by her hope 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.
The Body Finder is absolutely amazing, I was so happy with it.
Violet has always been able to feel the echoes that a dead animal/person leaves behind – not only on the murdered itself, but on the killer. Those who have been violently murdered leave behind such strong echoes that it almost draws her in when she comes across them. Her gift has never really been anything but a small annoyance until she uncovers the body of a girl who has been murdered – the start of a run of serial killings in the area. Violet is determined to use her gift to help solve the killings before more girls she knows go missing and end up dead. To do this, she enlists the help of her best friend Jay – a best friend she’s been feeling more than best friend feelings for.
The Body Finder has a great mix of mystery/suspence and romance. Interspersed throughout the main story are chapters from the perspective of the killer; his sections are eerie, and gave me chills. They were written to be creepy and Kimberly Derting delivered. The reader is able to see briefly into the killer’s mind, but never really find out too much…and that’s good. The book is about Violet and her journey discovering that her gift can be used in a practicale manner – and her relationship with her best friend Jay.
I was pleasently surprised with the romance in this book. For a moment in the beginning I was worried there was going to be yet another romance triangle in a YA book. The romance progression in The Body Finder was great. Violet and Jay have been friends practically forever. Recently, she’s noticed that she feels more than just friendship for him but doesn’t want to say anything. As the book goes on, her friendship with Jay is tested and the reader wonders if the romance is actually a romance at all (I don’t want to spoil it either way)!
I was impressed with Violet and Jay. Violet is comfortable in her family and her friendships, and she knows her ability can help people. She understands the need her family has to keep her protected, but Violet has the strength and will to help, and she’s going to. Jay is a great friend to Violet, and their relationship is believable – they argue, they make up, they hang out and go to school. Jay is incredibly protective of Violet and is a genuinely good guy. It’s quite refreshing, actually!
Between good writing, plot, characters and ability to entertain, The Body Finder is a great debut novel. I’m confident in recommending it to anyone age 12 and over (or even younger depending on the pre-teen).
The Body Finder is part of the 2010 Debut Author Challenge