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. (From Goodreads)
Like many bloggers I have been waiting for Kim Derting’s debut novel, The Body Finder since I first caught wind of it in January. I was not disappointed. The Body Finder delivers both an exciting mystery and romance that kept me glued to the pages until the end.
The first element that drew me to Derting’s book was definitely the premise. How can you not be intrigued by a girl who can sense dead bodies? I thought that Derting did a fantastic job providing background about Violet’s ability starting with the first chapter, which immediately pulled me into the story. I have to say though that there is way more to the plot than just Derting innovative premise. Everything worked for me. Her choice of third person limited was right on. I also felt that providing chapters from the mind of the killer added a lot to the overall experience, and I have to admit I missed several of the hints about the killer because I was speeding headlong into the story to stop and reason it all out. It wasn’t until almost the end that I actually began to suspect who the killer was and with a major twist that Derting threw in, I was effectively thrown off course ( a least for a little while) with my suspicions.
Derting characterization was the other major element that made this book a fantastic read. The budding romance between Violet and Jay was the perfect distraction from the murders, and Derting weaves their romance throughout the story adding yet another type of tension. Violet and Jay have a long history of being best friends. Jay is the only other person besides Violet’s parents who knows about Violet’s power to sense dead things. Now that Jay has become the hottie, Violet is having a difficult time figuring out where her feelings for Jay as her best friend end and her attraction for him as a love interest begins. It is clear from Jay’s actions that he is not having these same problems. He is supportive, protective, and unfaltering in his devotion to Violet. There were a few times when I wanted to shake Violet because she just kept ignoring all the clues that Jay had the hots for her and was totally devoted. In the end, Jay does everything right and Violet finally gets it.
The Body Finder is an amazing first novel, and clearly, Derting has a great writing career ahead of her. Unfortunately, her next book Desires of the Dead is not due for release until next year.