Title: The Body Finder
Author: Kimberly Derting
Series: The Body Finder #1
Next Book: Desires of the Dead
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 had never really heard anything about the Body Finder series, other than an occasional mention on Epic Reads Tea Time, so it wasn’t even on my radar. However, after winning an ARC of the final book in the series (also from Tea Time, YA Jeopardy to be exact!), I decided to check the rest of the series out from my library. I’ve actually had it for almost 8 weeks before getting around to it because I had other books taking precedence and almost decided to send it back unread. However, I had someone tell me that they loved the series, so I picked up The Body Finder and started reading.
The beginning of The Body Finder was not exactly what I expected. After a prologue consisting of an 8-year-old Violet finding a dead body, Chapter 1 picks up with a now 16-year-old Violet starting her junior year of high school, and falling hard for her best friend since childhood, Jay. Unfortunately, Jay has grown a lot over the summer, and Violet isn’t the only girl who has noticed. Jay seems to have his very own entourage following him around. I did read in the description that Violet has developed new, complicated romantic feelings for her best friend, but I didn’t expect that to be the main focus of the story for as long as it was. It took quite a bit for the first murder to even happen.
Once the first murder does happen, and Violet unintentionally finds the body, with her ability, things are still kind of slow in the story. The timing of girls disappearing picks up, and they seem to be disappearing more frequently, but there still isn’t really a lot of action going on on Violet’s end. Don’t get me wrong. This didn’t necessarily read badly; it just wasn’t what I was expecting. I think I was expecting more of a mystery with a bit of a romance in it, but it seemed to be more of a romance with some mystery in it.
However, what I did really like was that there were several chapters interspersed within Violet’s storyline that follow the killer. We never find out exactly who he is, and he is only referred to as “he” in every sentence, but I did find it interesting to see little snippets from his perspective throughout the story. There’s even one part where the perspectives almost overlap, and I wasn’t sure what was going on!
Jay and Violet are great characters. They’re likable, and are the coolest best friends ever. However, sometimes I just wanted to smack them. It was painfully obvious to the reader that they both liked each other, but neither one of them seemed to realize that the other felt the same way and were both afraid to admit their feelings. It was kind of frustrating. Luckily, this part didn’t last too long. Violet also has a great group of friends that are really funny.
In the last 100-150 pages, the pace really picked up, and I found my heart in my throat, while the killer and Violet played a cat and mouse game of sorts. It definitely had me flipping the pages feverishly! The ending was absolutely perfect and actually had me reeling and a little confused for a few pages! It actually tied up really nicely, almost like a standalone, but I know that there are more books in the series. I’ve found the few mystery series I’ve read tend to have a standalone feel to each book, and I think that’s really cool. With that being said, however, I definitely plan on reading the next book in the series very soon!