Monday, May 16, 2011

Amazing Book Alert: The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

The Body Finder (The Body Finder, #1)

On the whole, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, though I did have a few beefs.  First, the fact that it's in third person.  It's just a preference of mine to read first person POV, because third leaves me feeling disconnected from the main characters - like you never truly get inside their heads.  But again, that's a matter of preference.

Second, maybe it's because I'm in the critique stages of my own WiP, but I found myself terribly distracted by the number of passive verbs used in this novel.  Each time I came across a sentence like "Violet was turning...", I found myself mentally crossing it out and replacing it with past tense.  Revision-induced neurosis, I suppose. 

Third, and I'm sure this one is purely idiosyncratic, but having seen Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory more times than I can count, the main character's name kept making me think of the line, "Violet, you're turning violet, Violet!"  I know, now I'm just nit-picking.

Nit-picky details aside, the story pulled me right in.  Here's the synopsis:

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.

Moreso than the murder mystery, my favorite part of the story was Violet and Jay's budding romance.  Which leads me to another small complaint - there is absolutely no description of Jay's physical traits.  No mention of hair color, eye color, etc.  We know he's good-looking because girls fall all over themselves when he's around, but is he Alex Pettyfer good-looking, or Rick Malambri good-looking?  Couldn't tell you.  Even with Violet, for the longest time we only know that she has dark, curly hair.

I suppose the physical descriptions aren't really important, though.  There's a ton of heat between these two, and that's really all you need to know.  When they finally acknowledge that something more lingering beneath the surface of their friendship, I almost cheered.  It's sweet and romantic and realistic.  And their second kiss practically sets the pages on fire.  You go, Kimberly Derting!

The mystery portion of the story is neither predictable nor inventive.  It IS suspenseful, but if the story had been solely about Violet and Jay falling in love, I wouldn't have missed the rest, since I'm a such romance junkie.  The scene where they face down the killer is totally riveting though- especially when Violet senses a brand new echo and you're thinking, Oh my God, if that echo belongs to who I think it belongs to I am so going to die...

At least, that's what I was thinking.  Between the tension and the butterflies, I put this one down feeling satisfied, and I'm looking forward to reading the sequel, Desires of the Dead.  Though quite honestly, I hope there's equal time dedicated to the desires of Jay and Violet, too!


  1. Wasn't this book just amazing?! Have you had a chance to pick up Desires of the Dead? I have it at home and loved it so much too!!! She is one amazingly talented gifted writer!

    Have a fabulous Monday!

  2. sounds like you and I have a lot of the same 'irks'- everything you described would have irked me too- especially lack of physical description OR when the physical description changes, like in chapter 5 they have brown hair and in chapter 10 its blond, etc... It sounds like a really great story though!

  3. Just wait till you read Desires of the Dead. Things are even steamier between Jay and Vi.

    During a 15 page crit with Ellen Hopkins at last year's LA SCBWI conf, she told me to remove the description of the potential love interest. She said readers like to make up their own image. I don't. So I ignored her advice. ;)

  4. This sounds like a great book. I am going to have to read it and add it to my growing pile :-)
    Passive voice: I totally get the need to edit as you read.

  5. Hmmm...though you had issues, it sounds like a good read. I'm making note of this one.

  6. The title alone intrigued me. I do like the plot and the romance bit, but like you, when I'm editing I have to stick to books without those issues. I've shelved a few because I couldn't see the plot through the editing I was subconsiously doing! It is something to note for our own work. Descriptions of the hot guys matter. hehe

  7. ohmygod GINAAA. the beefs you mentioned are so totes spot-on! i only read the first 80 pages or something of the book they have up on facebook. (yes, they actually put book samples up there. and yes, i read them :D), and i kept going, ALL THIS PASSIVENESS! ahhh! and i also kept thinking, FIRST PERSON WOULDA WORKED SO MUCH BETTERRR!

    you, my friend, have good choice :P