The Body Finder, Desires of the Dead
Author: Kimberly Derting
Publisher: Harper Teen
I like books. I like mysteries. I like things about serial killers. Kimberly Derting's The Body Finder series has ALL THREE. *swoons*
The series takes place in the Pacific Northwest, where main character Violet Ambrose lives. In most ways Violet is a normal teenage girl; what separates her from others is that she has the uncanny ability to locate dead bodies. Their "echoes"--sounds, images, tastes, or smells left behind by the body--call to her, making it easy for her to locate them so that she can help them find peace. But with every echo, there is also a complimentary imprint left by the body on the person who killed it. Violet grew up with the ability and became comfortable with the idea of death--that is until she started finding dead bodies.
But, because Violet is a teenage girl, there is, of course, a guy in the picture. Her best friend since she was seven, Jay Heaton, has suddenly become more than just her goofy best friend to her. She (and every other female in her town) has all of a sudden found herself intensely attracted to him. So, in the midst of trying to figure out where all of the bodies are coming from, she's also trying to figure out where all of her feelings are coming from. I do not envy her plight.
Derting does a terrific job with creating characters--every single character is multi-dimensional and has personality ticks and flaws and habits. It's nice to feel like you know not just the MC, but the other characters on that level as well. But outside of the great, layered characters, Derting throws in another narrative device that really sets these books apart--every so often, a chapter is told through the point of view of a serial killer. You get inside their head, know exactly what they're thinking, how they're feeling, and what their motivations are. It provides a sort of sense of dramatic irony, without the reader knowing exactly who or where the killer is. Yes, it's eery. Yes, it's creepy. Yes, it's awesome.
So, if you're looking for a series that isn't exactly contemporary, but isn't entirely paranormal, I whole-heartedly recommend The Body Finder.