Author: Kimberly Derting
Publication Date: March 16, 2010
Series: Body Finder #1
Links: Amazon | 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 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 dead birds her cat left for her. But now that a serial killer is terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, Violet realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.
Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved by her hope 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.
Violet is a great protagonist. She's a pretty realistic girl, despite her somewhat morbid ability. Her mortification at her newly discovered crush on her best friend of over ten years delighted me. It entertained me to witness her discomfort and her attempts to continue acting normal lest he discover her changing feelings toward him. This is the part of the book that is adorable. Jay is a great best friend. He's protective of Violet, from homecoming queens and handsy drunk guys as well as from serial killers. Her teasing interactions with her three best girlfriends are endearing. Violet's family is pretty cool as well. Her parents do a good job of balancing worrying over her and giving her some personal space.
The murder plot is the part of the book that is freaking creepy. There's a serial killer running around abducting young girls and murdering them and leaving their bodies all over town. As if that isn't scary enough, every several chapters or so there is one that is from the killer's point of view. These add a significant amount of creep to the book. It's disturbing to read the parts where this sociopath is hunting down the victims and taking them, especially knowing what their fates are. I read this at night and at times it had me scared shitless, particularly during those chapters. Violet sort of makes it her personal quest to keep an eye out for the killer, using her ability to detect the imprints of killings on people. The plot moves along steadily, alternating between the stuff surrounding the abductions, murders, discovery of bodies, searching for missing girls and the everyday life of Violet which mostly involves her attempting to come to terms with her feelings for Jay. The offsetting of the jacked up murdering bits with the fluffy crush bits makes for an enjoyable contrast and keeps the story from becoming just too much bad to handle. You've got all of these terrible things happening, but good things as well and I like that.
This makes for a fun, terrifying, and cute read all at once. I didn't want to put it down, I enjoyed it, and I'll definitely be going out to pick up the next one.