The Body Finder
Author: Kimberly Derting
Publisher: Harper Collins
Series: The Body Finder #1
Release Date: March 16, 2010
How Received: Library
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 had 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.
*Just a word of fore-warning: this review is based solely on fan-girling hysteria. Good day.
I’m sobbing as I write this review. My throat is so tight that I can barely gasp for breath. So I won’t be coherent, and I don’t care, because that just exemplifies how amazing this novel is.
This was the best thing about the book: I have never had my emotions so frayed by one single book before. The Body Finder did that to me. I was beguiled throughout the entire book. Kimberly is a genius, plain and simple. She would feed us something, but it wasn’t the entire truth, the bigger picture. She made me believe something happened, but in truth, something completely different happened. I was so close to the characters and so immersed in the plot that when the end rolled around, I was sobbing as I read. Like, sobbing hysterically. My mom came upstairs to check on me because I was apparently crying so loudly – I was that connected to the plot. I never saw the things that were coming, which I should have, but I was totally blindsided and mislead. I won’t ruin the ending for you all, but I will say this: Kimberly had played me damn hard and I fell for it.
The romance was UGH. It was unbelievably realistic and captivating. I have NEVER, NEVER, NEVER been as giddy reading a book as I was with The Body Finder. Not even with Twilight. I was giggling like a schoolgirl, my heartbeat increased and my palms got sweaty... I’m sure my brother (who was in the other room) thought I was insane as I cackled with glee in my room. It was intense. It was so sweet and tender – I felt like I was falling in love (which I did). Because this romance story wasn’t a “Oh, I saw him and instantly fell in love” story. It was a gradual love story – Violet and Jay have been best friends since they were kids, and now Violet is developing feelings for Jay. She’s struggling with her feelings, worries over potentially ruining a life-long friendship, and the jealousy she feels over Jay giving other girls the time of day. I never would have thought that a novel involving murders and dead bodies would be as romantic as it was. BUT IT WAS. I give Violet and Jay the Kristina Stamp of Approval – A+.
Kimberly has a knack for portraying serial killers, especially ones who get off on the hunt and on killing. I was a bit surprised at how well she wrote the serial killer’s psyche – it was terrifying, it was disturbing, it was suspenseful, and it was intense. I’m glad that she put in so many passages including the serial killer, because we got a glimpse of the sick and harrowing thoughts that ran through his head as he hunted for his prey.
I loved the main character, Violet. I connected with her so much, maybe because I would have chosen the decisions she had made. She has a good head on her shoulders, even if she’s drawn to precarious situations, and usually tries to make rational decisions. She acts off her emotions sometimes, but honestly, who doesn’t? That’s what I loved about this book – I felt like I was reading about real life teenagers, not just a teenager portrayed by a writer. I loved that her parents were actively involved in her life, as was her uncle, and they were supportive 85% of the time.
Lastly, screw Edward Cullen. I want Jay Heaton! I fell in love with him before I even realized it. He’s such a great character – everything I’d want in a guy. He’s protective, caring, gentle, quirky and humorous, gets jealous in really cute ways... I felt myself falling in love with him just as much as Violet was. He would always say things that made me giggle like one of the hysterical girls pining for him. He was superbly written and realistic – a lot of his reactions are what I’d expect from a teenage boy.
Cover Musings: Preeeeeeeetty. I absolutely love the covers for the Body Finder and Desires of the Dead!
That, or she was seriously losing her mind, because that was the only way she could possibly explain the ridiculous butterflies she got whenever Jay was close to her. And what really irritated Violet was that he seemed to be completely oblivious to these new, and completely insane, reactions she was having to him. Obviously, whatever she had wasn’t contagious. (pg. 12)
He knew how to play this game. He got off on this game. He smiled back at her, trying to look protective and fatherly. “Of course not.” And then he said the words that would win her over once and for all. “If my wife knew I’d left you out here without help, she’d have my hide. Besides, you’re only a couple of years older than our daughter, and I would want someone to help her if she were stranded.”That was all it took. She was his. (pg. 23)
“What are you doing here?” she asked. [...]He shrugged. “I couldn’t sleep. What about you?”She opted for the obvious and filled her voice with as much sarcasm as she could. “I live here, actually.” (pg. 42-43)
He smiled. “I think I did pretty good. It’s not my fault you can’t walk.”She narrowed her eyes at him. She wanted to tell him that it was his fault, that she would never have tripped if he’d just stayed the same old Jay he’d always been, gangly and childlike. But she knew that she was being irrational. He was bound to grow up eventually; she’d just never imagined that he’d grow up so well. (pg. 48)
She realized that she was smiling now, and she had to force it away, not wanting anyone to see her as she searched in vain for the missing girl, grinning like the village idiot. (pg. 193)
“Sorry about that,” he said apologetically as he concentrated on maneuvering through the busy parking lot. “I’ve been so worried about strange men following you around that I forgot how dangerous Homecoming Queens can be.” (pg. 276)
Overall Thoughts/Final Comments: I had reservations about reading this book, because I can’t do scary at all. But The Body Finder was the scary I could do. While it was suspenseful and creepy and involved a lot of dead bodies and precarious situations, it wasn’t over-the-top scary. The romance in the book definitely put a balance to all of the murders and dead-body craziness. The pacing was great – not too fast, not too slow. Just right. I felt like I couldn’t get through the pages fast enough! Kimberly’s prose was amazing, and she was able to weave together a tale filled with suspense and romance almost seamlessly. Did I mention I <3 Jay?!
I highly, highly recommend this book. It easily topped my favorite books of all time.
**This review was submitted in the 2010 Debut Author Challenge!