Series: The Body Finder #1
Published by HarperTeen on March 16, 2010
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A gripping tale of a girl with a morbid ability that could lead her to a killer . . . and the boy who would never let anything happen to her.
Sixteen-year-old Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her unusual so-called gift. While her confusing feelings for her best friend are new, she has been able to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered—and the imprints that attach to their killers since she was a little girl. Violet has never considered her ability useful, but now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small town she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.
Fiercely protective of her, Jay agrees to help Violet search for the murderer. But even as she's falling in love, Violet is getting closer to discovering a killer . . . and becoming his prey herself.
This book really caught my eye when I first picked it up in the bookstore. The words “morbid secret ability” intrigued me. I’m used to reading about vampires, witches, werewolves, and ghosts. So right away, I knew this was going to be different than anything I’d ever read (thus far).
Violet is an interesting character. She’s a typical teenage girl. She loves her best guy friend but doesn’t want to tell him, she goes to school and has a small but tight group of friends, and she can feel the echoes of the dead.
I haven’t read many books with serial killers in them yet, but the ones I have (and the ones I’d like to get around to) all seem to have supernatural themes in them. Kate Brian’s Shadowlands, Daniel Marks’ Velventeen, and Brenna Yavanoff’s Paper Valentine all seem to deal with the theme through the use of ghosts. I’ve only read Hereafter, so I won’t profess to know, for sure, what Marks and Yavanoff do or don’t write about. However, It was nice to see a slightly different take on this theme with The Body Finder (no ghosts in this one, so far, and the main character holds the ability to locate the victims of the serial killer).
It was a little cliche to have Violet’s uncle as the local chief of police. But Derting made it work, and she did a fabulous job of making it not seem cliche. Honestly, I don’t think the story would have worked any other way. Without her uncle shielding her from the authorities, I don’t think Violet could have done all the good she did without her name appearing in multiple case files, making her look suspicious and guilty.
The sections in the book told from the killer’s POV are wonderfully creepy. They add an element of fear to The Body Finder, really putting the reader in the mind of the killer.
My least favorite part of The Body Finder, unfortunately, was Jay. He just… I wanted to root for him and Vi, so bad. And he definitely had his moments where I loved him. But at times, he was too overbearing, too protective. I know, deep down, he cared for Violet and he just wanted to keep her safe. But sometimes, that protectiveness came off more as possessiveness. I kept waiting for it to be revealed that he was somehow involved in everything. His temper didn’t win him points, either.
The ending had a pretty significant twist – two, really. And I didn’t expect either one, though one was more shocking than the other. Violet was brave and strong, despite the circumstances. She’s definitely not the type to sit around on her butt, waiting to be rescued. She takes matters into her own hands, sometimes stubbornly so. She knows what she has to do, though, and she does it. Jay stepped it up in the end, as well. There were a few moments where we didn’t know his fate, and my heart was in my throat – so there’s still hope for Team Jay!
Overall, I really did enjoy this book and I’m really interested in seeing what happens next for Violet and Jay. I want to like Jay, I really do. Let’s hope he can redeem himself in Desires of the Dead!