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I Belong

Early Review: The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting

Title: The Last Echo

Author: Kimberly Derting

Genre: YA Paranormal

Series: The Body Finder (Book 3)

Publication Date: April 17, 2012

Format: Hardback, 358 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062082191 (Harper Teen)

ISBN-13:  978-0062082190 (Harper Teen)

Reviewed by: Sheila


In the end, all that’s left is an echo…

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….

Quick & Dirty: A story about a girl looking for her place in the world.  It’s filled with drama and suspense but not a lot of romance.

Opening SentenceViolet strained, searching for the sensation through the suffocating blackness.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

I had high hopes for the third installment in the Body Finder series, The Last Echo.  It’s a great read even though I was expecting more romance than suspense for Violet Mathers.  The last book hinted at a love triangle between the heroine, her life-long friend, and her new crime-fighting partner.  I mean, there was some speculation and idle thoughts about the possibility throughout this book, but it didn’t take center stage to the overall story.  I guess that I’m too used to young adult books being all about the romance drama than the actual events surrounding the characters.  The Last Echo turned out to be a fresh breeze among the rows of teenage love stories.

Violet Mathers can see dead people.  No, not really.  She can see the imprint, or echo, of a soul that has passed on attached to the body of the departed and the person responsible for the killing.  This has led her to get involved with a group of teenagers with “special” abilities that help out local law enforcement on difficult cases.  Violet has always felt alone when it came to her special ability and now she is with others that can understand what she is going through.  Not only is she accepted into this “family”, she can use her gift to help people and put away the bad guys.  Her bond with this group and Rafe in particular, is hard for her boyfriend and family to accept.  How can they understand when they don’t have to deal with the same things that Violet does?

Jay and Rafe are in a type of competition for Violet’s affections, no matter what Violet says to the contrary.  Jay has been with Violet for most of her life; first as her best friend and now as her boyfriend.  This change in dynamics between the couple has left them searching for a middle ground to relate to one another.  Jay wants to protect Violet and she wants to confide in him about what’s going on in her life; but they can’t seem to communicate that clearly.  This leaves Violet to search out someone that can understand: Enter Rafe.  He is psychic and on the specialized team with Violet.  He knows what it’s like to feel different and he knows what is going on in their confidential cases.  Violet views him as just a friend, even though she admits (if just to herself) that there is a special bond between them.  She can talk to him about things that she can’t discuss with Jay, and that leads to a lot of hurt feelings on her boyfriend’s part.  In the end, Violet must decide whether it is worth losing the man she has always loved or to go after a man she may grow to treasure.  Is there a way for all parties to come out on top?  Or will someone get hurt no matter what is decided?

The overall plot of the book follows a serial killer known as “The Collector.”  He abducts young women because he is looking for that special someone to love.  When it turns out that these ladies don’t love him, either by trying to run away or breaking his rules, he kills them and looks for his next “girlfriend.”  The whole thing reminds me of the movie, Kiss the Girls, only this is for young adult audiences; they both have killers looking for women that they can fall in love with.  Violet and her team are on the case, helping the cops stop this guy before he kills again.  The other team members look for psychic clues and Violet helps the police find the bodies of the girls that he has discarded.  When Violet gets too close to finding the murderer, the collector decides that she might be the one; the special one that he has been searching for.  Can Violet make it through the whole ordeal alive and unscathed?  Or will the collector be the last person she sees before she dies?  The whole thing is very suspenseful and, there towards the end, I had a hard time putting down the book.

The book ends with Violet being threatened by the unlikeliest of people.  Even though she has no desire to continue being a part of the team, it seems that the people in charge of them are no longer giving her the option of leaving. They don’t have any problems with threatening the lives of the people Violet loves if that’s what it takes to get her to continue to use her gifts for them.  What will become of Violet now?

Usually, I am not a big fan of young adult books.  I guess I am getting too old to appreciate the dramas of first loves.  But Ms. Derting has come up with a character that I can relate to, even at my age.  Her stories are gripping enough to keep my interest while still exploring all the emotions and trials that a young lady goes through going into adulthood.  This book left its own echo long after I finished reading it.  I can safely recommend this book to teenagers and adults alike:  This is not your average young adult book.

Notable Scene:

In the distance, she heard the loud bass of music bumping, and she thought maybe a car was coming.  But after a moment, the sound faded, and she realized it was heading in the opposite direction.

She had one chance, she finally decided, one chance to make it to safety.  If only she could make it there in time.

She turned quickly, not wanting to second-guess her plan as she raced back up the steps.  Time seemed to slow to a blur and from somewhere behind her, she felt, and heard, the rush of echos moving closer… closer… closer.

They were coming fast now, and above a haunting sound she’d heard once before, she recognized the pounding of footsteps and the swish of fabric.

He was running right for her.

The Body Finder Series:

1. The Body Finder

2. Desires of the Dead

3. The Last Echo

FTC Advisory: Harper Teen provided me with a copy of The Last Echo.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.  The only payment received came in the form of hugs and kisses from my little boys.

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