Monday, April 30, 2012

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
Published 2010, paperback, library copy.

This is a mystery with a dash of supernatural. Violet can hear echoes of the murdered: sometimes sounds, sometimes sights. Usually it manifests itself in dead animals killed by her cat, but when she was eight years old, she found a dead girl buried in the woods. And now in her small town, more dead girls are turning up, leading them to think there's a serial killer in their midst.

There's also a lot of romance thrown in. Violet has blooming feelings for her best friend, Jay, and struggles with whether he feels the same way or not.

I had a hard time deciding how to review this book. I am torn between 3 and 4 stars, but I think in the end, I'll say 3. Goodreads rating says "I liked it" and I did. I read it in one day, over some car rides, and late into the night. It had some good romance -- I'm a sucker for best friends falling for each other. The suspense was pretty good, too. Towards the end, I was seriously into the story. It was really neat how the author dealt with echoes, how they weren't just sounds, but taste and smell and sight, too. The alternating viewpoint between Violet and the killer was cool because you got to see into the mind of this disturbing guy just looking for the next thrill.

I think where it failed, though, was characterization. Other than Violet and Jay, everyone felt kind of flat to me. Even Violet and Jay, at times, weren't too strong. I liked how they interacted and Jay was a great love interest, but I'm not sure if I could just place them in a world other than their own and know how they'd act. The prose was kind of simple, too. I read through it so quickly, it wasn't very poetry and didn't have a lot of great lines. Just very clear cut, here's the story and that's it.

I did like how Violet was tough and determined, but she was still vulnerable at times. She could cry or really be head over heels for Jay, but she didn't beat herself up about it. She didn't try to be Wonder Woman and the author didn't try to make her like that. A lot of the YA fiction I read have these impossibly tough female characters that never show an ounce of fragility. Maybe that's because there have been so many doormat female characters in YA. I do appreciate a tough girl, but I also like someone I can relate to, who would break down at the sight of a dead body or cry about a guy she liked.

The story was interesting enough that I'll probably check out the next book. If you're looking for a quick read with some good mystery and tasty romance, you should, too!