Friday, 12 August 2011

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

When someone or something is murdered, it leaves an ‘echo’ on both victim and perpetrator, which goes unnoticed by most; Violet is the exception to this rule. Her talent, inherited from her grandmother (and annoyingly completely unexplained), is generally problematic and resulted in a strange childhood consisting of bringing dead animals home to bury in her backyard, and stumbling across the odd dead body. Now sixteen, it doesn’t cause her too much bother; that is until a murderer begins killing local young girls and Violet realises too late that she may be in a grave amount of danger…

I really didn’t warm to Violet at all–she was selfish, annoying, stupid and sulky–and found she falls neatly in the ‘Too Stupid To Live’ category of characters – just a few examples of this are when she recklessly forgets her cell mobile phone whilst on a hunt for the murderer and seems to try her best to wander off without alerting anybody with a killer on the loose. I did, however, like the fact that all of the characters have flaws, but that was (weirdly) the only good thing about them. The murderer’s point of view was creepy, yet believable, and my favourite parts of the book, even if they have been done again and again, and in much better style. I would also have liked to have been able to guess at who the murderer may or may not be, but at the end you didn’t even learn his name – I think Derting may have missed a trick there.

The Body Finder had a very nice concept, and is written fairly averagely with a pace that keeps you glued to the pages, but I found it predictable, too long for what it was and my dislike of Violet ruined the book for me, especially when I almost began rooting for the murderer to silence Violet, which I’m sure Derting wasn’t aiming for. Having said that it was too predictable, I have to admit there was one thing that I really wasn’t expecting, but in the interests of keeping this review spoiler-free, I won’t disclose details. Also, I really didn’t care if she got with Jay or not, though it was pretty obvious what was going to happen, and both their romance and the lead up to far overpowered the murder mystery, which should have been the central focus of the book, but unfortunately wasn’t. I don’t think I’ll be going out of my way to read the sequels, as I'm quite disappointed by The Body Finder, and don't hold out much hope that Desires of the Dead will be better.
[SYNOPSIS: 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.


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