The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting (March 16th 2010—Harper Teen)
Grade: 3.5 stars out of 5
Summary: “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.”
Review: The Body Finder was a novel of high stakes where Derting tried to fuse both suspense and passion. But at times this is where her mistake lied. The highs were like free falling from a place and the lows were like muddled mess in a Florida swamp.
There was something disconnecting between the budding of love between two childhood friends and trying to solve a murder case. It was as if while one took priority the other took a backseat to pop up whenever it felt. The childhood love seemed the most prominent to the story going on endlessly to the point where I’m halfway through the novel trying to figure out when the actual serial killer will come into play. Sure there were the occasionally chapters where the reader follows the killer thoughts—the stake-outs, the actual kidnapping—but it was choppy. Part A would be the killer, parts B, C, D, E, and F will be about Violet with Jay with G (the killer) somewhere after.
But I do have to admit that this problem begins to dissipate later on—not completely but somewhat. The two paths flowed together, okay not really together, more like the paths crossed in one scene. The ending was nice, the suspense tries to be there but it’s been done before. The reader can most likely figure out what’s going to happen next if they have ever watched these types of movies, television shows, or read these types of books. Kudos for trying for lacked the definite twist.
Violet and Jay’s romance turns from tension, sparks, to holy moly someone turn off those fire alarms! One good thing about childhood friends is that when you do finally go out you can skip all those awkward parental confrontations. To which I think those two seem to take in stride if you know what I mean…behind those closed doors…while “doing their homework”. I did, however, find it a bit frustrating reading the endless mackings, sexual tensions, and we’re not just friends anymore talks. It was nice every once in a while just a tad too much. And whatever happened to Grady!? Did he just poof?
The chapters where we follow the killer were a nice touch. We can read the kidnappings just before or right after the disappearances occur. It’s like quenching a thirst for information on the little details that can come back to bite you in the ass. So instead of me asking ‘How the heck did he manage to it?’ I can sit back and enjoy myself. It was provoking and deadly, giving perfect insight.
Overall: Kimberly Derting paves herself a way in the writing business with The Body Finder. While it had all the needed elements, only time and practice can make it better. A nice debut, roughed around the edges, but a good attempt.
I’m hoping that the final copy of the cover isn’t as pixilated as the ARC version. At a further distance it looks striking, but at a closer distance it hurts the eyes a bit. The only thing really smooth is the title with its added color. As for the cover relating to the novel I’m completely flabbergasted.