The Last Echo

The Last Echo (The Body Finder #3) by Kimberly Derting

Violet kept her morbid ability to sense dead bodies a secret from everyone except her family and her childhood-best-friend-turned-boyfriend, Jay Heaton. That is until forensic psychologist Sara Priest discovered Violet’s talent and invited her to use her gift to track down murderers. Now, as she works with an eclectic group of individuals—including mysterious and dangerously attractive Rafe—it’s Violet’s job to help those who have been murdered by bringing their killers to justice.

When Violet discovers the body of a college girl killed by “the girlfriend collector” she is determined to solve the case. But now the serial killer is on the lookout for a new “relationship” and Violet may have caught his eye. (Goodreads)

If you haven’t read the first two books in The Body Finder series don’t let me ruin it for you. Read them!  You should not be missing out on that much Jay awesomeness.  Otherwise be warned, there will be spoilers here.

The Story:

Violet, hearer of dead people, is now working with Sara (of the tight-pony-tailed Saras) and her group of…psychics? Freaks? Misfits? All of the above?  They’re trying to help catch serial killers.  Violet’s ability to hear echos from dead bodies (and their killers) has helped locate the victim of the newest crazypants on the loose.  With the team— Krystal, Gemma and the über pouty-faced Rafe—Violet begins to hunt for this new serial killer.

At the same time, Violet is still attempting to be a normal high school girl.  She has homework and a boyfriend and a curfew. She has parents who take away her cell phone when she’s in trouble. But it all begins to take a backseat to  her job.  And things begin to affect her relationship with Jay, aka Mr. Sweet Hot Perfection. Jay is always worried about her (probably because she does some really stupid things. OMG Violet, do NOT go in there, Ok? Just call the police). He has a hard time relating to Violet’s work because it’s super-secretive and even worse, he’s pretty certain that Rafe, the guy Violet has to spend tons of time with, has the hots for his woman.

What I Liked:

Jay, obviously.  I really wish there’d been more of him and less of Rafe. Even with his struggle with jealousy this time around, he handles it as all literary boyfriends should because he is the most awesome boyfriend ever.

I, of course, loved Violet. I’m amazed at what does not scare this girl, but I love that even when she is truly afraid she presses on to find the answers and the closure so desperately needed.  Yes, she suffers from that common YA Heroine condition of I’m Clueless About Boys Who Want Me Syndrome (don’t worry Vi, I had a nasty case of that too), but she’s otherwise bright and extremely driven.  I’m really into this freaky weird gift she has, how she struggles with it and how she desperately wants NOT to have it.

The serial killer here was, I thought, the creepiest so far. They’ve been good in all of the books, but I really felt that Derting outdid herself with this particular villain.  He’s a monster who doesn’t believe himself to be evil and as I saw larger glimpses of him it only served to make him more frightening.

Crush Intensity: 4/5 I really love this series. Every book has been strong and Derting has kept the creepy storylines fresh and the romance alive.  I’m looking forward to the next book which is due out in 2013.

Extras: You can find more info about the series here.

Desires of the Dead (The Body Finder #2)

Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting

The missing dead call to Violet. They want to be found.

Violet can sense the echoes of those who’ve been murdered—and the matching imprint that clings to their killers. Only those closest to her know what she is capable of, but when she discovers the body of a young boy she also draws the attention of the FBI, threatening her entire way of life.

As Violet works to keep her morbid ability a secret, she unwittingly becomes the object of a dangerous obsession. Normally she’d turn to her best friend, Jay, except now that they are officially a couple, the rules of their relationship seem to have changed. And with Jay spending more and more time with his new friend Mike, Violet is left with too much time on her hands as she wonders where things went wrong. But when she fills the void by digging into Mike’s tragic family history, she stumbles upon a dark truth that could put everyone in danger. (Goodreads)

The Story:

If you haven’t read The Body Finder, take heed ( I’ve always wanted to say that). This is going to get spoilery. And seriously, you should read it, if for no other reason than to meet the awesome that is Jay Heaton (but really, the whole book is good).

In Desires of the Dead, Violet is still trying to keep secret her morbid ability to hear the mysterious call of dead bodies.  Only her family and her crazy hot BFF turned boyfriend, Jay (I told you, see above), know about her ability.  When she makes a major discovery related to a recent kidnapping, Violet is unwillingly brought to the attention of the FBI.

To makes matters all the more complicated, she’s being harassed by someone who leaves odd notes and creepy packages (you know, of the dead cat variety)for her.  Violet thinks she knows who it is, but she isn’t entirely sure. And ever since she and Jay have entered into sweet, smoochy coupledom, he is even more fiercely protective of her (and yes ladies, it’s quite becoming), which is why she shies away from telling him about the FBI and her new creepy stalker.  She doesn’t want him to go all Edward Cullen on her or to blow the whistle to her family.

Jay is totally aware that something is going on, but he seems pretty wrapped up in his new friend Mike.  Mike is nice and while Violet’s pal Chelsea is busy falling all over him, Violet learns that he has a dark, sad past and that somehow he may be linked to some of her current troubles.

My Take:

I really love this series.  It’s so well done and unique without being too “paranormal” (not my favorite genre). The descriptions of how Violet finds the bodies and of how she sees and hears imprints of them echoed on their killers is totally haunting.  She does so many absolutely impulsive, crazy things because her drive to answer the call of these lost souls is so strong that it overrides her fears.

And yet, this series is not about ghosts. These books are about finding and hopefully bringing to justice those who have taken another life—it’s just that the gift Violet uses is extraordinary.  There’s a good balance of the creepy right along with humor and a very sweet, believable romance.  Violet is a great heroine, realistic and flawed without falling into that common trend of being The Girl With No Self Esteem.  She’s likeable and she’s bright and she knows what she must do.

And Jay. I have to talk about him because man, do I love that guy. Seriously, I may have to rearrange my list because I find myself looking forward to every page with his name.

Crush Intensity: 4.75/5 Read this series.  The next book, The Last Echo, will be out on April 17.

The Body Finder

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

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. (Goodreads)

The Story:

For as long as she can remember, Violet has been able to hear the echoes of the dead calling to her.  These echoes—a combination of sights, smells and sounds—speak to her only if the person or animal has died at the hands of another.  It seemed to be a strange but unobtrusive gift when she was a child, finding dead animals in need of a proper burial, but that all changed when she was eight years old and found her first human body.

Since then, Violet has only told a select few of her gift. Outside of her immediate family, the only person who knows is Jay, her best friend in a sweet,  first kiss, oh I think I love you sort of way.  Outside of this close inner circle, no one knows of her gruesome discovery years earlier.  Over the years, Violet has learned to deal with her odd ability.  That is, until it happens again. I mean you knew that, right?  Could you tell by the title?

What’s more dramatic is that there seems to be a pattern emerging. More girls are going missing.  And the crimes are getting closer to home.  If Violet could just get close enough to the actual killer, she knows she can help catch him because the killers carry the same unique imprint of their victims.  And only she can hear it.

With the help of Jay, who has evolved from her sweet BFF to an extraordinarily hot guy she may have a secret crush on, Violet sets out to find the man responsible for terrorizing the local girls.

My Take:

You guys, I know it’s sounds totally creepy—and it is—but at its heart, this book is super swoony.  I mean, it’s an awesome love story with a bunch of dead bodies and serial killers thrown in.  This is a total Kissing Book.  And the romance is so good and so, so satisfying.  That’s not to say that the mystery is an after thought, because it is well plotted and perfectly laid out. It will have you on the edge of your seat…but the romance. It was so sweet, so believable (but I’m a sucker for stories about best friends who fall in love. Especially when said best friend is super hot).

I loved the characters too. Violet is brave in a scary kind of way.  She definitely has a Nancy Drew streak in her that leads her to tons of trouble, but she’s no damsel in distress. She’s quite brave and smart. And Jay, sweet fancy Moses, how much time do you have? I love that boy.  He deserves a Michael Moscovitz Award for Total Awesomeness (sadly, this is not, in fact, a real award). Seriously, I’ve given serious consideration to adding him to The List.

Crush Intensity: 4.5/5 Excellent. Scary. Swoony.  This is a series. The second book, Desires of the Dead is out now. The third book, The Last Echo is due out in April.

I need to give a huge, gigantic thank you to my girls at Gone Pecan for recommending this series to me. I love it!  Also, they brainstormed with me on the casting.  Here are the final picks:

Emma Roberts as Violet. I think it’s the Nancy Drew thing that did it for me.

Holy Cow this was hard, but we decided on Aaron Johnson as Jay.