The bulk of Violet’s life features likely teenage dilemmas: she’s adjusting to dating to her lifelong best friend Jay, who, in turn, is spending a lot of time with a new friend, new-kid-in-school Mike. Although it’s difficult for Violet to share Jay’s time and attention, even more difficult is Mike’s little sister, Megan, who shows an unhealthy admiration for Jay.
Although this sounds like run-of-the-mill high school drama, the other part of Violet’s life makes this book a supernatural thriller. Violet can sense the echoes of people and animals who have been murdered and the matching imprint clinging to their killers. Having only shared this uncanny ability with her family and Jay, she draws unwanted attention after discovering the body of a young boy and calling in an anonymous tip to the police. When the FBI catch her on a surveillance tape making the call, Violet must decide whether to keep her ability a secret or trust an agent she hardly knows.
To had more flame to the fire, Violet becomes the object of a dark obsession and discovers tragic and dangerous secrets from Mike and Megan’s past. All this drama intermixes in “Desires of the Dead,” the sequel to “The Body Finder.”
I enjoyed Derting’s escape from the typical post-Twilight books, i.e. vampires, werewolves, oh my. Too much of a good thing can be a turn-off so her focus on a supernatural mind was refreshing.
Beginning a book by a new-to-you author is similar to learning a new language, their style and word choice is difficult at first, but after 20+ pages — or several language lessons — it becomes easier. In Derting’s book, after 24 pages you get used to her voice while also getting to the good stuff, as in Violet leaving a friend she’s hanging out with to follow the echo of a deceased animal or person — she’s hoping for animal. The echo, marked by the sound of a harp, calls to her and leaves her unsettled. She must find the body.
Violet’s strange connection to the dead makes this book enjoyable, as well as the occasional chapters told in the point-of-view of Violet’s obsessed stalker. However, Derting’s writing is somewhat clumsy and, at times, frustrating. It could use tightening and she should choose a specific level of diction — either use terms like “impenetrable fortifications” or write sentences like “But sleep was all she actually got.” You can’t have it both ways.
All in all, I enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone wanting a quick and easy read to feed a supernatural taste for literature. For teens and tweens, it contains some sexual situations so parents be aware.
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