Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Body Finder by Kimberly Dertling

The Body FinderViolet 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 left for her. But now that a serial killer is terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, Violet realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved by her hope 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. (Front Book Flap)

This has been in the TBR for just a little while.  But it's been on my wish list for a long time.  I've read countless good reviews about it, but I was a little afraid to read it.  I'm not a Stephen King fan.  Nothing personal Mr. King, but if your books give you nightmares, well, imagine what they do to me.  But this wasn't that type of psychological thriller.  Definitely a thriller and psychological, but there was more to it.  Violet has this strange ability to hear, see, feel the echoes of the dead, that is the dead that were murdered be they animals or humans.  She avoids cemeteries, hospitals and any one that carries a gun.  Which makes having her uncle as Sherriff a little difficult.  But she handles it.  Her ability is kept secret, only her parents, her aunt and uncle and her best friend, Jay know about it.  But it's kind of like the elephant in the room.  It's there, but it isn't talked about.  But Violet can also feel the echoes of the people that kill, whether they are murderers or soldiers or like her uncle, the Sheriff.  She would also be able to identify the killer of the girls by his echoes or imprint from the girls.

And there is Jay.  Jay and Violet have been best friends forever.  But sometime over the summer, Jay stopped being a gawky teenage boy and got muscles and turned really cute.  Or maybe Violet just noticed that he was.  No, because all the girls at school are falling all over themselves to be with him.  It isn't just Violet and she doesn't know what to do about it.  She's in love with her best friend and she thinks he doesn't like her.  He is very protective of her and despite his hints, Violet is a little dense about whether he likes her or not.  That gets cleared up pretty easily at a party one night.

The story is told in third person POV but we are aware of Violet's thoughts and feelings.  She sometimes answers people in her head and the quotes are italicized.  I felt like I really knew Violet but I didn't understand why she was so insecure.  She had this unique ability, did that make her feel worthless?  I just didn't understand why it took so long for her to find certain things out.  Now, being left alone, that was pure stupid.  It was like watching the movies and saying, "Don't go in the basement."  I think everyone that's read the book saw that one coming, but not everything after that. 

Her parents definitely cared about her and her safety.  They also worried about how using her ability would affect her emotionally.  They were protective of her, something not often seen in YA novels.  And Jay, we should all have a Jay when we are in high school.  There would be a lot less therapists in the world with more Jays in the world.  Talk about protective.  He was a life saver. 

Violet's friends stay true to their descriptions and lend great supporting roles.  Violet's friend Chelsea is quick with the comebacks and snarky while their friend Claire reminds me of a wide eyed doe.  Jules rounds out the crew, the female athlete.  They are loyal to her assuring her about Jay when he chooses Lissie, the it girl,  over Violet.  Taking her shopping for Homecoming.  Taking her to a party to get her mind off Jay.  And for witty banter at the lunch table, daily.  They're good for Violet, but none of their friendships can come close to what she and Jay have.

I couldn't find one thing wrong with this book except that the sequel isn't sitting in my hands right now.  I liked the way the chapters started not right after the last one ended, but a little later in time or it was the serial killer's chapter.  And I'm really glad the kidnapped girls didn't have chapters.  The writing was simple and believable.  I imagine a serial killer thinking the way the author wrote his mind working.  And of course, having been a teenager, I totally found them believable.  I was even able to resist skipping ahead to make sure my favorite characters survived because you really don't know.  I'll leave it there.  It's a great novel.  It has suspense, romance, more psychological tension in it than any other novel I've read recently that I can think of for YA, but because of the content and the sexual tension it would be for at least the fourteen and up age group.  Maybe even fifteen. There is a party with excessive drinking, violence, drugs and a guy forces his attentions on a character, but it's stopped before anything bad happens.

None of this is probably new to anyone as this has been on the market for a while and the sequel is coming out soon.  But if you need a refresher on it, here it is.  I loved it and I bet you did, too!


  1. Oh, I really did love this one. I can't wait for Desires of the Dead. And Jay is fab. I want a Jay.


  2. I want to be that in love again! You know, like the first kiss and you can't wait to be away from the world. Doesn't feel that exciting after nineteen years. Still love him, but would love to feel like the two of those do again! But he is pretty much a Jay so I can't complain on that part. He's as good as they come.


  3. OoOOO I'm so glad you finally gave it a try!! It is such a wonderful book!! I was reluctant as first too, but then cutie reviewed it on our blog and I knew I had to read it!

    Jay is so so wonderful! I loved this book so much and I can't wait for the sequel to come out!

  4. I have not read this, but your review is very thorough and the book sounds interesting! I also saw in the post above that you took a spill?? I hope you are feeling better!!

    -Linds, bibliophile brouhaha

  5. I loved this one, so I'm really glad you did, too. I was lucky enough to have a Jay in high school. We didn't get married, but we're still really good friends to this day.


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