Thursday, May 13, 2010
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
Kimberly Derting's debut novel, The Body Finder, is an elegant addition to your To Be Read list. Derting has crafted an intriguing novel with just enough hint of the paranormal to make it interesting, while maintaining a realistic grounding that keeps the narrative refreshing.
Violet Ambrose has a morbid gift: She senses "echoes" of murders that cling to both the victim and the killer. These echoes manifest as an additional sensory experience—a taste, a smell, a sound, a sparkle of rainbow-colored light. Each echo is unique to its kill, and every animal—or person—who has killed carries those echoes with them for rest of their lives.
Weird, true, but manageable. Violet's bigger problem is that she's returned to high school after a summer break to discover puberty has replaced her best friend, Jay, with a guy whom every girl in school wants to date—including Violet. But can she risk their friendship? Is it wrong to have those feelings for her best friend?
As the narrative progresses into that well-known tale of two friends falling in love, girls from the area start going missing and bodies start being found.
The Body Finder is very much a teen romance with a solid thriller subplot. It handles both aspects well. By building suspense through the use of those monsters who are completely human to create the horror, Derting's debut stands out from every other paranormal title on the shelf. The interludes from the killer's perspective, which are woven through the story when it most needs that little extra push to keep the pacing going, are some of the finest passages in the novel.
Which is not to discredit the appeal of Derting's main characters and their young love blossoming. Teens will find it relevant; adults will find it nostalgic. The story takes its time to set the tone, paint the scenery, and builds to a satisfying climax that will leave you breathless.
The Body Finder made my list of top reads for 2010, and I'm very much anticipating its follow-up, DESIRES OF THE DEAD, in March 2011.