Saturday, October 03, 2009

Move Over, Allison DuBois, There's A New Medium in Town

It could be a color, a smell, an acrid taste in her mouth - almost anything can lead Violet Ambrose to a dead body. Unlike other teenage girls, she can sense the "echoes" left behind by those who have died unnaturally. Since any killer, be it a serial murderer, a hunter, or a police officer firing in the line of duty, wears the imprints of his victims, Violet can sense these, too. Her "gift" isn't something she shares with other people. But now that a killer is stalking her small town, she feels responsible - if her abilities can help find this monster, shouldn't she be doing everything in her power to stop him?

When The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting opens, Violet's yet to discover the corpse that will begin her body-finding nightmare. Her current problem is much less mundane - she's starting to feel something for her best friend, Jay Heaton. They've been inseparable since first grade. Theirs is a close, comfortable relationship that Violet's never really thought much about. Until now. Suddenly, she's discovered what her female classmates already know - Jay's smoking hot. The fact that he doesn't seem to know it makes him all the more appealing. Violet's traitorous body reacts every time she's in his presence - surely, he can hear the frantic beat of her heart, see the way she flushes every time he's around. He's already got a gaggle of admirers, including the most popular girl in school - it's a miracle he's still hanging out with her at all.

When Violet spots something weird during an outing at the lake, her other problems fade into the background. The police determine what Violet already knows - a girl has been murdered, her body dumped in the water. As more girls disappear, it becomes apparent that a serial killer is using the small town of Buckley as his personal hunting ground. With her unique abilities, Violet knows she can find the murderer. It's a simple matter of stalking malls, movie theaters and other teen hangouts, letting her senses search out the dead girls' echoes. The only problems are Jay and her parents, who are dead set against her involvement. But, they're not the ones being haunted. Violet knows she won't be able to rest until she stops the killer. She's the only one who can track him down - and she will. No matter what the cost.

With a broody Northwest setting, shivery otherworldly elements (but no vampires, thank goodness) and heart-pounding action, The Body Finder's an unputdownable thriller with a Halloween-ish vibe. Think a younger, sexier version of the t.v. show Medium. Add compelling characters, a sizzling romance, some good ole teenage angst and you've got a book that will have readers turning pages fast enough to cause injury. I couldn't get enough. Please, God, tell me there's a sequel in the works ...

Grade: A

If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG-13 for some language and scenes depicting underrage drinking/partying

(Note: The Body Finder will be available in March 2010 from HarperCollins. Thanks to Jana at HarperTeen for the ARC. Book image is from the author's website.)

5 comments:

  1. This novel sounds really intriguing! I thoroughly enjoyed your review -- you're an outstanding writer.

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  2. Oh shoot! I want to read it NOW! :)
    This one really caught my attention, today. Thanks for the review.

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  3. Stop it already...my TBR pile is already taller than me! Show some restraint, woman! You are torturing me!

    Actually, it does sound great. Thanks for a great review. NOw I just need to remember it in the spring.

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  4. This sounds a lot like Charlaine Harris' Harper Conelly series about a lightning-strike survivor who can now find dead bodies--and see the last moments of their lives (helpful to diagnose cause of death). She's grown and now travels the country with her step-brother, hiring out her talents to assist whoever can afford her--some of whom are still hoping their loved one isn't dead, some of whom are trying to determine cause of death, and some who just want a great act for their Halloween party. Charlaine Harris is the same author of the well-known Sookie Stackhouse series (of HBO TruBlood fame).

    Still, this one sounds good, too. It's an interesting enough concept for several authors to play with! :)

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