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.
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 16th 2010 by HarperTeen
Violet, since she was a young child, has had the unique ability to locate dead bodies. She finds herself drawn by echoes or imprints that are left on corpses. Sometimes she hears the echoes, other times she is assaulted by acrid odors. Occasionally she even receives a hint of a taste; or other times she will see bright colors swirling around the imprint. Everywhere she goes she can feel and see the prints left behind on people who have killed. For the most part she is able to keep her ability in check and lead a normal life, that includes her amazing best friend, Jay. The two of them have been inseparable since childhood. Now, Violet has suddenly developed romantic feelings for Jay. Should she give into these new emotions or maintain her perfect friendship? While she is grappling with this question, terror strikes close to home. She uncovers the body of a teenage girl. Violet sees that the murdered girl's body bears a telling, oily imprint that the killer left behind. Then two more girls vanish. Fear grips the tiny community. Can Violet use her gift to hunt down and stop a monster?
What I Liked:
*Violet's extraordinary ability to pinpoint the resting places of the deceased as well as sense the paranormal fingerprints of the killer was certainly a novel concept. I also appreciated the way the author incorporated almost all the sensory inputs into Violet's ability. She was able to see, hear, smell or even taste the echoes. Using the different senses helped me gain an elaborate perception of Violet's talent.
*Switching to the murderer's point of view gave the book a terrifying note of realism. Understanding the how and why of his murdering tendencies was disturbing and fascinating. This aspect certainly provides plenty of chills.
*I admired the special bond of friendship that Violet and Jay share. Ms. Derting takes extra care to show the familiar and easy interactions; as well as the trust and understanding between the two. It was easy to ascertain why Violet felt the pull of physical attraction. Jay is loyal and fiercely protective of Violet. Is it any wonder that her heart is pitter pattering in his presence? It is effortless to envision the potential for their relationship to evolve into a romance.
*The writing flows and the author does a nice job with character development. I liked the edge of your seat, heart pounding scenes; the surprise twists and the dramatic ending. Ms. Derting tells a good story and she does a nice job of bringing the story to a clear resolution. This is a strong debut novel.
*Finally the cover is breathtakingly gorgeous!
And The Not So Much:
*While I was intrigued and impressed with the body sensing concept, I was also a little bit confused. I wanted to know why sometimes she heard the echoes while other times it was triggered by smell or taste or just an inexplicable pull. I would have liked a touch more information on the workings of this ability.
* I enjoyed the portrayal of the friendship and the new emotions Violet feels for Jay but it becomes overbearing at times.
*The writing was good but there were a few times where the story lagged. The first half of the book moved a little slow, especially since the majority of the focus was on Violet's feelings for Jay. Thankfully, once the books hits midway the action picks up with some scary scenes that are edgy and frightening.
*Due to the darker content of this book I would recommend this for older, young adult readers. The author does a good job of glossing over the murders, she foregoes the violence and bloodshed but the overall subject matter is suited for a mature reader. There is also the mention of teen drinking which again may not be appropriate for younger readers.
The Body Finder is a good debut novel. This story provides some spine tingling thrills. The first portion of the book is a little slow but the action picks up and moves quickly to a thrilling conclusion. You will love the warm relationship between Violet and Jay. While a glimpse into the mind of a killer will disturb you. I enjoyed this book and I look forward to reading the second book in the series, Desires of the Dead and book three, The Last Echo expected publication April 2012.
"That was what the echo was, a voice. Single and solitary, seeking someone-anyone - to answer it."
"This time instead of sounding like a granite command, it sounded like warm silk wrapping around her."
"And that single, nearly undetectable smile melted her."
"She liked the way the two of them fit together, perfectly, like individual halves of a whole."
"Words that needed to be said, and maybe some that didn't, were like invisible fireworks exploding in the space between them."
"The low hum of butterflies she'd been feeling all morning became a violent flutter."
"She heard his footsteps eating up the ground behind her, as he gave up being stealthy and discreet. They sounded like thunder."