Sonderbooks Book Review of

The Desires of the Dead

by Kimberly Derting

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The Desires of the Dead

by Kimberly Derting

Review posted August 17, 2011.
Harper, 2011. 355 pages.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Body Finder, by Kimberly Derting, so I was excited when I heard a sequel was coming out, and checked it out right away.

Bodies that have been killed call to Violet. They affect her senses in a strange way, with a scent or a sound or a feeling. And when she senses them, she has to put them to rest. Disturbingly, the one who killed them has the same echo. That was a problem when she was around her cat, a natural killer of small animals. But when she finds a human body, it seems like she should use her abilities to find the killer.

The plot of this follow-up seemed a little more contrived, a little more relying on coincidence than the first book. However, it's still classic romantic suspense: The heroine finds out just enough to lead her into deadly danger. How can she get out?

It also appears that the author is setting Violet up to join an organization that uses people with paranormal abilities to solve crimes. That will make it more believable, in future books, when she continues to encounter dead bodies.

So, this is a fun, exciting tale of romantic suspense with that one, creative paranormal twist.

At risk of being a stick-in-the-mud, I do want to give a word of warning for those who would care. Violet's beautiful romance continues. They were best friends all their lives, and this seems like true love, and they will surely marry one day. They decide to have sex.

Now, this is handled sensitively and believably and not graphically. It's realistic as to how a serious relationship like that would be likely to go with today's teens. But it makes me a little sad. As in the first YA novel I ever read where the characters had sex outside of marriage, these ones wonder why they didn't do it sooner. And I'm a little sad they have to wonder. There's something really beautiful about saving sex for marriage. Because sex is so amazing, giving it only to someone who's publicly committed to you for life is beautiful. Safe. Loving. Incredible. (More beautiful if they actually keep the commitment, but still....) If I had read this book when I was young and in love and trying to wait for marriage, it wouldn't have helped. That's all I'm saying....

But this is a good book, and an enjoyable and suspenseful read. I didn't enjoy it quite as much as the first book, and the romance wasn't as moving, but then committed love isn't quite as full of thrills and drama as the beginning of a relationship. Violet gets pulled into danger, and it's pretty natural for someone who loves her to try to keep her out of that, so it's natural for her to start having secrets.... It will be interesting to see how things continue on, as this book had all the marks of a series beginning.