Monday, April 18, 2011

Review: Desires of the Dead

DESIRES OF THE DEAD (Body Finder #2)
Kimbery Derting
Paranormal Young Adult
355 pages
Harper Teen
Available Now

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.

Rating: 4/5


  1. I really love the Body Finder and I'm so in love with Jay, they are so so sweet together and I love their connection. I also found the mystery a bit weaker in Desires of the Dead which is why I also gave it 4 instead of 5 stars but I enjoyed it nevertheless! A few people fear an upcoming Triangle, but I'm sure she wouldn't do that to us and Jay, there is no need for it. I hope there will be a next one soon!

  2. I love this series! I think Jay and Violet are so sweet together, I just hate in sequels how there is always problems in the relationship! Not cool! Great review Jenny!

  3. Completely agree with your review. Another great instalment but not quiet as scary in the thriller part but still good. Always I am very nervous about the next book if Rafe is going to cause trouble from Violet and Jay!

  4. Thanks for the review Jenny! I need to check out book 1 still LOL

  5. It was fun to revisit Jay and Violet, but I agree that the mystery wasn't as storng as in The Body Finder. Still Desire of the Dead was a good read. Great review!

  6. Glad you liked it! I enjoyed this story as well and so can't wait for the next book! Glad Kimberly has at least 2 more in the works!

  7. I loved the first book, so hearing that the second book is great makes my day. ;) Great review.

  8. That's too bad that the villain's POV isn't quite as good. That was the best thing about the first one. I do like that she makes the romance important to the book, but not the main thing. Different.

  9. Danny - I think it will always be Jay, Rafe is intriguing and all, but you can't write a character like Jay and then have Violet move on from him!

    Savy - I agree about the relationship troubles, but I liked how they were handled in this one. They weren't spiteful to one another like Patch and Nora in Crescendo:)

    Nic - I can see him causing trouble, but I have faith in Violet and Jay!

    Larissa - Hope you do, I really enjoy this series:)

    Jan - Exactly! There could have been no mystery element and I still would have enjoyed Violet and Jay, but I'm glad she's keeping Violet's gift as prominent as the romance.

    Jessica - So excited for the next one!

    Nina - It's really good, I always worry about second books, but this one was equally enjoyable:)

    Alison - The villain (not sure we can actually call them that once you know who it is) just isn't as creepy. But, I would prefer not-as-creepy to having another serial killer which would have been stretching the believability factor:)

  10. Wonderful review. I haven't read this series but it sounds very good.

  11. I bought The Body Finder and STILL haven't freaking read it! I so need to because everyone says it's fabulous!

  12. YAY, awesome you liked it,too:)Violet and Jay were so cute, I loved the romatic and sexy scenes so much and I can't wait to find out more about Rafe!

  13. Thats one of the things I noticed too that she would always go into a dangerous situation and never stop to get help/backup. Despite that I still love the story especially the sweet scenes between Jay and Violet.

  14. Looking forward to reading this one, Jenny. I just put a hold on it from my library. I really liked "The Body Finder".

  15. Tori - Thanks! I really like these books:)

    Ashley - Get on it, Jay is waiting for you!

    Page-Turner - They were adorable, I just love them:)

    Jenny - That was my biggest issue with her. I just wanted to yell at her to just call Jay! I know she felt awful about what happened book 1, but honestly, just ask for help.

    Rummanah - Can't wait to see what you think!

  16. *slaps self* Gah1 I really need to meet Jay, like yesterday! I remember him as your BB!

    Glad to hear that the intimate relationship is well balanced by the other aspects of the story. There seems to be a lot of character growth on Violet's part which somehow already soothes me despite the fact that I have yet to read book one. Great review. I don't feel like you spoiled anything for me Jenny, more like provided the sort of companion guide I needed.

  17. I totally agree with your thoughts. I really liked this one (a lot!), but it wasn't quite as good as the first one. I really, really hope it stays Violet/Jay and doesn't go into a love triangle.

  18. I really should stop thinking about getting books and just get them ;) Cos this series seems nice

  19. Great review. I just picked this one up from the library because I loved the creepy suspense from Body Finder. Good to know you enjoyed it.

  20. Missie - You do need to meet Jay. Jay is good. Jay is yummy. So glad I could help share the story with you without spoiling it!

    Ashley - I'm hoping that too, I like Rafe, but he's no competition for Jay I don't think:)

    Blodeuedd - It's a great series, really quick and entertaining:)

    Kathy - Can't wait to see what you think!

  21. Thanks for your honest review. I enjoyed the first book. I'm glad to know what you liked about it and some of the problems you had with it, as well. I hope my library gets this one soon. I think these books are fun mysteries for teens!

  22. I love that you mention they talk about their problems. When characters do not do this, I get really ticked off, lol. Great review, love this series! :)

  23. I couldn't agree more with you Jenny, there are definitely parts that are great, but then some not so great parts. All in all though, I was pretty happy with it (which it seems like you were too)... I can't wait to see what TBR3 has in store for us!

  24. Oh wonderful! I still have the first needing to be read and it is so nice to know that this book will rock too, even if it isn't quite as mysterious as the first. Such a great review as always!

  25. Perfect! My feelings exactly on Desires of the Dead. Wanted to smack Violet a couple of times but loved it.


  26. Julie - They are a lot of fun, I think all the elements work really well together and will appeal to a wide variety of readers:)

    Jacinda - I get really irritated when there is a lack of communication as well, though it certainly adds to the drama:) I was really glad when both of them were able to admit wrongdoing without making things worse.

    Avery - Bring on Body Finder 3, I'm so ready!

    Melissa - She writes really great characters and they stayed strong and grew from book 1 to 2, so that made me really happy:)

    Heather - Yes! If I could have reached through the pages and shaken her, I would have:)

  27. I might be the only person who has not read The Body Finder. I am especially interested in Jay - everyone seems to be in love with him :D

  28. This is going to be one of the books I plan on tackling over my summer vacation because I love Jay and Violet's relationship :)

  29. I'm so glad you liked this one, I feel the series is getting stronger and I have high hopes for the next book.
    One of the things that I liked so much about Jay and Violet is that, as you pointed out, they grew stronger in different areas of their relationship. I also think that Derting handled the physical aspect very well and humorously.
    While Violet's tendency to make poor decisions, I felt that Derting did a better job of explaining that sometimes Violet just gets wrapped up in the echo and isn't really aware of what she's doing.

  30. *hides head in shame* I still haven't read The Body Finder :( I have read great things and need to get on the ball!