Book review: “The Body Finder” by Kimberly Derting

Release Date: March 16th, 2010
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 327 Goodreads

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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.

The Body Finder was deliciously dark and chilling. I’m so glad I gave this one a shot. The sweet friendship and slow-budding romance between Violet and Jay hooked me, but it was truly the inside look at the mind of The Body Finder’s serial killer that reeled me in. I’ve never felt so creeped out while reading a novel. I literally got goosebumps every time it switched to his POV.

He loved the hunt; it was what kept him going. But this… this was his guilty pleasure. Watching his work–the aftermath of a kill–exposed to the world.


He ran his finger along the razor-smoothed edge of his KA-BAR tactical knife. He knew he wouldn’t have to use it; the terrifying effect of the weapon in the presence of the girls was enough to cause total submission. Just stroking the steel blade stimulated him in ways no woman ever had.

Intense right?! Derting does a great job portraying a man so clearly disturbed and dangerous. His actions were horrific, but his mind, the things he thought, were what got to me the most. I was terrified of this guy. With a good chunk of characters being young carefree girls, in my mind I was screaming “WATCH OUT” and “Don’t walk down that street by yourself in the middle of the night!!!”. I loved that I could jump right into this story and get caught up in it.

Everything about this book just worked. The villain was hardcore-evil and twisted. The mystery element was suspenseful and thrilling. Although I suspected one of the surprises I felt like it was pretty well hidden. It didn’t jump out and say “HEY. Here I am” as some novels unfortunately do. I think another part, perhaps the biggest part of this book’s success, is its super stubborn yet totally fabulous heroine, Violet.

I adored Violet. Because of her uncontrollable ability to find the dead, she’s been through hell. Since Violet was a little girl she could sense through different senses the remains of both animals and humans. At only eight years old, Violet discovered the body of a young girl in the woods. Talk about nightmares! Violet refers to this sense as “echos”. She hears, sees, or smells the echo-remains of animals/humans who have been murdered. This echo also imprints onto the person/thing responsible for the death, which naturally comes in handy when girls in Violet’s town and the surrounding towns begin disappearing and their corpses reappearing.

I like to think of this book in terms of parts. I feel like it was one part creepy serial killer mystery, one part cool supernatural ability, as well as one part sweet contemporary. The love between Violet and Jay was so warm and real. They’ve been friends since early childhood, a friendship that through the years has grown stronger, downright impenetrable. The acceptance, love and protection between the two gave me warm happy feelings. I smiled when they interacted on a day to day basis; shared rides to school, lunch time in the cafe, homework after school and so forth. Frowned when certain *things* caused tension and minor separation, and most importantly, rolled my eyes insistently when the duo couldn’t see what was right in front of them. It was totally obvious that they were ying and yang, pb&j—quite plainly meant to be. I didn’t mind that Violet announced her love to the readers in the beginning of the book. It wasn’t insta-love. It was a slow-cooking love that’s been in the crock pot for the last 10+ or – years. I honestly loved this plot point so much that I believe that if the supernatural element was taken out of the story, the overall book would still be just as compelling and enjoyable.

I was hesitant going into The Body Finder. It had good reviews, which is always a plus, but the mystery part turned me off a bit. I don’t really care for those Sherlock Holmes or Nancy Drew type books. I was afraid that The Body Finder was one of those super heavy detective types. I’m glad to report that I couldn’t have been more wrong. Yes, there is a killer on the loose with a mystery becoming more and more twisty, but the relationships between the characters is what sits at the helm of this ship. I’m so glad I looked past my original thoughts and tried this one out.

This book was excellent! I highly recommend this book – buy it now!
This book was excellent! I highly recommend this book – buy it now!


Checkout more of my reviews over at The Book Slayer.