The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
Violet has the ability to sense not only the remains of people and animals that have been killed, but also those who are responsible for the killing. Her powers manifest in several different ways and are an open secret in her family and with Jay, Violet’s best friend and crush. They’ve been best friends since the first grade, and although Violet’s feelings recently moved well beyond friendship, she is desperate to hide them from Jay. When several teenaged girls in the area are abducted and killed, Violet is determined to help with the investigation.
I thought there were a couple of occasions in which Violet was, if not actually TSTL, then on the verge of it, and this eventually kept me at a distance from the story and characters. My exasperation with some of Violet’s actions aside, I did appreciate the way Derting’s writing style complements the story; it’s assured, fast-paced, and maintained a high level of tension for most of the book—both in terms of Violet trying to identify the murderer and Violet and Jay’s changing relationship. The third-person narration, with occasional forays into the point of view of the villain, added to the suspense. As for Violet and Jay’s relationship, the chemistry between them is strong and it’s obvious how much they care for each other, even when they’re “just friends.” From the beginning of the story, the reader is aware of Violet’s crush on Jay, so their developing romantic relationship seems natural and essential to the story.
The Body Finder is the first in a series, which is…well, a bit unnecessary, in my opinion. The book will appeal to many teens and fans who enjoy series will be pleased, while those who don’t want to commit to another series will be glad to know that the book ends with no cliffhanger and no loose ends.
Book source: public library.
The quasi-feminist critique: Okay, Jay is very protective of Violet. Then again, I can’t blame him for it. Violet is pretty headstrong and she doesn’t let Jay tell her what to do, even when what he’s saying makes sense. Though at times, I did appreciate Violet’s refusal to automatically obey Jay. **minor(?) spoiler** Like when she told Jay off for ignoring her for a week, then expecting her to do as he said after he rescued her from Grady. Speaking of, this might just be me, but I was a bit irked that the long-awaited first kiss between Violet and Jay happened in the direct aftermath of Jay rescuing Violet from being assaulted in an, “Oh no, don’t tell me they’re getting together right after he saves her” way. But this is a minor quibble, because I have no doubt Jay would’ve been just as angry even if he hadn’t been in love with Violet. **end spoiler**