DESIRES OF THE DEAD (Body Finder #2)
Paranormal Young Adult
Though Violet's life will never be normal thanks to her unusual ability to find the dead, she was hoping things might calm down after a serial killer targeted her, her small town, and shot her best friend turned boyfriend Jay a few months back. Unfortunately for her, that just doesn't seem to be the case.
When her gift leads her to a body enclosed in a metal shipping container, her anonymous call to 911 for help leads the FBI right to her, and they know there is more to Violet and her knowledge of the case than she's admitting to.
In addition to her uniqueness coming perilously close to being made public, she's also dealing with to changes in her relationship with Jay–their romantic involvement altering her ability to share information with him–and where he was always the person she could turn to for help before, he's now just out of reach. And while Violet is preoccupied with both the FBI and Jay, a new threat is inching ever closer.
Desires of the Dead returns us to the unusual life Violet Ambrose and, like its predecessor, does a beautiful job of seamlessly weaving mystery with romance, normal with paranormal, and teenage woes with very adult responsibility. One of the more impressive aspects of Ms. Derting's storytelling is her extraordinary ability to achieve balance–our hearts start out pounding as a result of Violet and Jay's still very new physical relationship, but she keeps those pulses racing even after they part by thrusting us into the chaos of Violet's mind and her unique gift. It's only after we've set the book down upon conclusion and our breathing has returned to normal that we become fully sentient as to the degree of our involvement with characters and story. Where Violet and Jay's exploration of their increasing intimacy could have easily overshadowed the mystery, the entire book then succumbing to the notion that a romance needs to be the primary focus in order to captivate us, Ms. Derting instead delights us with a combination of elements, making her story multifaceted, entertaining, and so very enjoyable.
Violet and Jay are a couple that shine brightly, their warmth seeming to infuse the dark ink of the words describing their interactions with a smoldering red before we are returned to the crisp, cool blackness of Violet's connection to the dead. Their physical relationship is handled expertly, the emphasis on sexual need not made to be so important as to eclipse the trust and communication elements equally imperative to a successful connection, but also not approaching it cavalierly. Instead, that element is given its due attention while their relationship simultaneously grows on other levels as well. Our two protagonists are certainly not perfect in their dealings with one another however, but they both possess the ability to admit when they're wrong, seeking immediately to make amends once cognizant of their error as opposed to clinging to their anger out of spite and seeking instead to inflict pain for any imaginary slight.
Though the mystery in this story isn't quite as strong as in The Body Finder, the chapters where we flip into the villain's head not unnerving us on the same scale, it's still an engrossing element and one far more believable than if Violet were plagued yet again with a serial killer in her small town. In addition to a slightly more predictable chain of events, Violet, for all her admirable maturity in dealing with her ability, has the frustrating tendency to wander into danger and darkness alone despite having a very strong and reliable support system in place with Jay and her family. She often knows and thinks to herself that she should inform someone of her whereabouts, but then quickly disregards that fleeting moment of rationality and trudges forth, heeding the call of the dead on her own. Though it's not enough to detract from the overall success of the story, it is a noticeable irritation amidst a plethora of welcome and refreshingly positive aspects.
Desires of the Dead is a gratifying continuation of Violet's story, both stronger in some areas and weaker in others than the first book, but a highly recommended read despite its drawbacks. We are introduced to some new and intriguing characters in this installment, most notably Rafe, thereby opening the door for infinite new possibilities now that Violet might be ready to fully embrace her gift and share it with more than just Jay and her immediate family.