The Body Finder
Author: Kimberly Derting
Release: March 16th 2010
Genre: Mystery, Paranormal, YA
#1 in the Body Finder series
Sequels: Desires of the Dead (#2), The Last Echo (#3), Dead Silence (#4)
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 that 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 the 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.
Is this really by the same author as The Pledge? Really? What the hell went wrong with this one? I know this was published before The Pledge and so I expected it not to be as good, but for it to be this bad... I was not prepared.
Just a couple days prior to starting this, right after finishing Eleanor And Park, I wished so badly for a romance where, for once, the couple have known each other for forever before falling in love. I wanted them to be friends before lovers and all that, so when I learned that that was the case in this novel, I thought my prayers had been answered. Alas, I think now I'd almost prefer insta-love to this mess of a romance. It was bad, really bad. The constant drama and angst, when everyone could see what they both felt for each other was more than friendship. But, of course, they could not, so they stooped down to petty methods of getting on each other's nerves so the other will admit their feelings. And all that jazz, which obviously never worked out for any of them, not really.
Besides, Jay was always hovering around Violet which was simply creepy and stalker-like and not cute, and Violet was so infatuated with Jay she was unbearably starstruck. The romance completely fell through for me.
Outside of their relationship, Jay doesn't stand out at all. He has no character whatsoever outside of Violet. It seems, when he's not with her, he's just a shell, not a boy. It was, again, creepy. This was 3rd person, yet we never ever see him in a situation where Violet isn't around. However, while Violet did have a character outside of Jay, she didn't grow on me either. While there were times when she seemed to be okay, I was mostly annoyed with her, because she was constantly thinking about how cute Jay was and busy being jealous of other girls who paid him any attention. Slut-shaming and whatnot were a common occurrence with this book.
The mystery/thriller aspects of this novel are pretty much non-existent. I thought the premise was so unique and intriguing, but unfortunately, not much happens in that department. If you expect this to be a thrilling, gripping murder mystery, think again. This is 4/5 romance and relationship drama and 1/5 "murder mystery." And by murder mystery, I mean, a bit of ridiculous running away from men who are after Violet and her sniffing around for "Echoes." Even the end climax was boring, and if the main character is about to die while I'm about to fall asleep, it says enough about how suspenseful this book is, I think.
Writing was so-so, sometimes the 3rd person perspective was executed very poorly, while other times Derting managed to write some nice scenes, like the cemetery scene which I really liked. This is a far cry from being as beautiful as The Pledge, and I'm not sure whether to be impressed by how much she has improved since this or be angry at how she could dare to put me through this torture.
Because, all in all, I am very devastated at how much of a catastrophe this turned out to be. I was so damn sure I would love this, because it did sound so, so amazing and I'm sure it could have been if done right, but it just wasn't meant to be. Maybe I will read the sequel someday, but I'm definitely not tripping over myself to get to it right away. I guess I'll just stick to her other series and eagerly await The Offering.