The Body Finder (TBF #1) by Kimberly Derting
Published: 16th March 2010
Description from Goodreads:
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
I was really hesitant about picking this book up, mainly because it sounds like a carbon copy of the Harper Connelly Mysteries, Charlaine Harris's' lesser known but IMO far superior series, but you know, for YA's. But it received such consistently glowing reviews that I cast aside my doubts and bought a copy.
The premise is an interesting one, a girl who can find dead bodies. I also loved the concept of the imprints, and how these could be noises or smells or images that were left not only on the dead but on the killer too. I thought this novel had a lot of potential, but in actuality, for me, it fell totally flat.
It was just too...nice. Too bland. Violet has nice, understanding parents, nice, understanding extended family. A nice, understanding best friend. She has this weird and hard to deal with power, but I never got that side of it because everyone was just so nice.
There were lots of opportunities to have a bit of angst thrown in. Violet is totally in love with her best friend Jay, but even that ends perfectly, with not a hint of trouble. Girls get murdered in Violet's town, but its okay cause she doesn't actually know any of them that well. I felt completely apart from the plot because we never knew any of the girls killed. They got their 15 minutes of fame in death alone. Well, apart from that one girl but she was hardly significant.
Everyone has raved about the chapters told from the killer's point of view, but to be honest these didn't impress me much either. They were very stereotypical. Derting only had to watch an episode of Criminal Minds or read a murder mystery to develop this voice...again...bland.
The story was just too perfect. Nothing really went wrong, and when it did it was easily and quickly rectified in my opinion. Maybe I've read so many murder mystery novels that I was expecting too much of this book? I genuinely expected an excellent MM with a paranormal twist, and for me it just fell flat. Also, the scene at the prom? So Twilight-inspired it made me want to cry.
Despite my negative review, I would recommend this book. It's not for me, but I know a lot of people have read and thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm sure the originality of the concept will appeal, so please don't be put off by my views and give it a go. And/Or give Harper Connelly a go too. It's got some adult content, so be aware of that-but it's definitely a series worth reading.
I sadly give this book 2/5
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