Title: The Body Finder
Author: Kimberly Derting
Genre: Mystery, paranormal, romance
Series? Yes, book 1 of The Body Finder Series
Publisher: Harper (2011)
Rating: 4/6 – I really liked it! Will keep/read again
Synopsis from cover: Sixteen-year-old Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her unusual so-called gift. While her confusing feelings for her best friend are new, she has been able to sense dead bodies – or at least those that have been murdered – and the imprints that attach to their killers since she was a little girl. Violet has never considered her ability useful, but now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small town she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.
Fiercely protective of her, Jay agrees to help Violet search for the murderer. But even as she’s falling in love, Violet is getting closer to discovering a killer . . . and becoming his prey herself.
My Initial Thoughts/Rambling: While this is a book with paranormal elements, and there is a romance plot, it is not a paranormal romance. Just have to make that clear, because a paranormal-themed book with a romantic subplot is far removed from a paranormal romance! Both characters in love are human, and other than Violet’s strange ability, they’re both very normal. That being said, the book was focused on the romance more than I expected, with it being balanced about 75/25 in favor of the romance instead of the mystery of the serial killer. Possible Spoilers Ahead.
What did I think about the characters? First of all, I shipped* Jay and Violet so hard it made my teeth hurt. Not lying. From the very first scene they had together, you just know that they are meant to be. Perfect for each other. Soulmates. Pick your euphemism, but they are just it.
Violet: Even though her ability sets her apart, she never pulls that “woe is me look how different I am, I’ll never fit into this world” shtick. In fact, when she discovers the first murdered girl, she reacts in a very realistic manner: vomiting, a bit of shock, and nightmares for weeks. She was engaging, and easy to relate to. Most importantly, she wasn’t a stereotypical teenage girl.
Jay: I loved this boy. If Violet ends up not wanting him in the later sequels, I totally volunteer as tribute. He’s caring, protective, confident, and accepts Violet’s oddity without question. He’s very much the boy-next-door-who-was-blessed-by-the-Neville-effect, but never lets his new found popularity get to his head.
And the concept and plot? Concept is an A+! The idea that there’s a specific sense (taste, smell, feeling, sound, or image) attached not only to a victim of a violent death, but also to the one responsible for that death, is fantastic. Plot-wise, I was really happy to see that it wasn’t one of those books where the main character takes on everything herself. She involved the police, stayed out of trouble mostly (with some help from Jay), and in the end even though she was the one who identified the murderer, she wasn’t the one to deal with him.
What about the writing style? At times, Violet focused too much on her relationship with Jay, and I kind of felt like she was going in circles. But it never lasted long, and eventually she pushed past her issues. Otherwise, everything flowed smoothly. One thing that I’d like to nitpick: other than mentioning that Violet has curly hair, Derting never really described what the characters looked like. While it did give me free reign to project my own images onto the characters, I would have liked at least a rough sketch of who they were.
Anything else you’d like to add? I didn’t know this was a series when I bought the book… Now I’m hooked, and I have to go hunt down the other three!
* Shipping as defined by Urban Dictionary: Fandom (the fan base) uses this word as a verb to denote their interest in the possible (and perhaps more often impossible) romantic relationship between two characters in a piece of fiction belonging to any medium