**Although I really try really hard to keep all reviews here spoiler-free, I just couldn't seem to do it with this book. But I have marked each potential section. If you want to read them, go ahead and highlight the text to see it, just be warned.
For as long as she can remember, Violet Ambrose has experienced what can only be called a compulsion to seek out the bodies of those that have been killed - animal or human and especially those that came to a violent end. Not only does the body 'call' to Violet through her senses (sound, color, taste, smell etc.) but she can also 'see' the traces on those that have killed. For years, Violet has spent her free time roaming through the woods near her house with best-friend Jay digging up small, broken animals to re-bury in order to bring both herself and the animals some peace. Having been best friends since elementary school, Violet and Jay have always shared everything - even her special ability - but at the outset of their Junior year, Violet suddenly finds herself experiencing some decidedly non-platonic feelings for Jay which she just can't share. Confused and unsure, Violet's primary fear is that she's going to lose her best friend until several teens begin to disappear in her small town and the police suspect that a serial killer is targeting teenage girls. With danger striking so close to home and the police floundering to uncover the culprit, Violet knows her ability may be the only only way to stop such a hardened killer once and for all.
I really wanted to like Kimberly Derting's debut novel. Truly, I did. I've heard from numerous reviewers how much they enjoyed it, but something about The Body Finder did not sit quite right with me. The concept of someone being able to hear 'echoes' from the dead and their killers is an extremely compelling idea, one with much potential. However, the idea didn't translate very well in Violet's case. Don't get me wrong: she was a very likable character although a little dense at times (but what teen isn't? I often was), but her narrative was often repetitive - such that I can only describe it as being overwritten. Especially with her constant obsessions over her relationship with Jay. And how can I describe my feelings for Jay? I thoroughly enjoyed Jay's character for the first half of the book in his supportive, teasing role but once he became Mr. Alpha Protector and Obsessor over Violet did he turn me off. ***SPOILER His "I'll love you forever and ever and ever" routine got real old, real fast. ***END SPOILER Feel free to also add The Body Finder to the fast-growing ranks of nonexistent, oblivious parents of a single child in a YA novel. At the point when I thought Violet's parents would want to place more restrictions on her (since a SERIAL KILLER targeting TEEN GIRLS was on the loose) they basically exited stage left with nary a parting word. Boggles the mind.
Above all, one major issue I had with The Body Finder was the inclusion of periodic chapters from the viewpoint of the killer. These were odd, creepy and threw me out of the story every time one popped up. Personally, I do not want to be in the head of a psychopath. So much so that I felt that this book was trying to turn itself into a YA friendly romantic-suspense novel sans the actual sex. ***SPOILER Although the make out sessions between Jay and Violet all but got the deed done after reading such lines as: "She heard herself moan and could feel the throbbing of her own pulse flickering hotly through her veins." Very odd sentence to find in a YA book don't you think? To me, Violet's relationship with Jay can only be described as Intense. END SPOILER*** I'm not a huge fan of the romantic-suspense genre in the best of circumstances and The Body Finder didn't do much to change my opinion in that regard either.
series reading order
~ The Body Finder
~ Desires of the Dead (March 2011)
Because Everyone Likes a Second Opinion:
Dear Author review
Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf review
Library Lounge Lizard review
Presenting Lenore review
Reading Addict review
book source: my local library