The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting is a book I picked up merely because I read a post by the author online (an extra scene from the book, I think) and fell in love with the way she wrote. It drew me in like I can’t explain and just had to read her books- all of them- in order to luxuriate in her beautifully engaging writing. The story follows Violet, a girl with the talent to find dead things, as she tries to solve a murder mystery.
The starting of the book was spooky as we watch a four year old girl discover a dead body in the woods. There is a mystery to this part of the book that when solved (in a matter of pages) sent a chill up my spine at the innocence of it. This is probably the best start of a book that I’ve read in a long time and I struggled to put this book down even to wash and eat. I was addicted when I read her writing, but the story itself had its own irresistible charms.
I really appreciated the straight-forward attitude Violet had about her “talent”. There was no beating about the bush or ridiculous cover ups; it was just put plain on show. The prologue (the bit with the four year old) probably helped with this because it gave us an idea about this peculiar ability. And as much as I like the whole coming to terms with it thing in fantasy, having someone already comfortable with their ability at the start was a nice change. In fact, I’m hoping I don’t prefer it!
There’s not a lot I can say about the plot because it is a mystery and I don’t want to spoil anything. The way it worked though was that we had like a learning curve were Violet was only a bit bothered by the murders, so we could learn about her and her life/friends, before it becomes a bit more personal and she actually involves herself. It added believability because, let’s face it, we don’t all rush out to find murderers willy-nilly. Later on, the huge twist was a great shock even though I’d had my suspicions. The climax was good too. When the shot was fired, even though I didn’t think who you are supposed to think had died, did die, I doubted myself because of the clever scent/taste that was attached to the shooter. It made for excellent reading, and I was relieved when I found out the full story.
The romance- always the bane of my reading. At the start, I loved it because unrequited love makes for a much better read for me because we can all empathise with it to a degree. I knew it wouldn’t last- I knew the moment Jay bloody stepped into the book- but it was still great to read. I think knowing, or at least severely expecting, people will end up together makes their exchanges better to read. When they were together though, the kissing got on my nerves. I mean fine, some people will like it and understand better, but for me it just got grating. I know she really, really loves him but does she need to keep proving it? Otherwise though, I liked the pairing because the personalities genuinely seemed to mesh nicely.
Characterisation was another wonderful thing about this book. Jay was unbearably enjoyable to read and I loved his easiness and confidence (as well as him making fun of Violet). It was more believable than the whole love-sick puppy or overconfident bachelor. Chelsea, Claire and Jules were also all relatively believable and funny to read. Claire annoyed me a little, and I knew were Jules was headed, but Chelsea was hysterical and perfect. I wish I had some of Violet’s friends because, let’s face it, there’s some great camaraderie.
So basically I loved this book. I haven’t read many mysteries but the ones I have are always good. I have nothing else to say but buy this book if you like YA and mystery with a pinch of paranormal.