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Kimberly Derting – Desires Of The Dead

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This time it may hit closer to home.

Publisher: Headline
Pages: 355
Type: Fiction
Age: Young Adult
ISBN: 978-0-7553-7896-8
First Published: 15th February 2011
Date Reviewed: 23rd February 2011
Rating: 4/5

Violet knew that ringing 911 when she felt the echo of a body in the shipyard was a risk she had to take. When Sara Priest, an ex-FBI agent contacts her, she realises that it was a mistake to have let the police know something that nobody should. Now she must decide whether to take Sara up on her offer, and to reveal her ability. But there is something else on Violet’s mind. What’s the deal with this new guy, Mike, and his sister?

Desires Of The Dead is the worthy follow-up to last year’s, The Body Finder. In it, Derting packs all the same winning qualities that made the first a success, and takes it up a notch on many levels.

The most obvious difference is the inclusion of the FBI. Whereas Violet’s association with her local police is because of her uncle, Sara Priest enters as a third party, a separate entity. Where The Body Finder was literally about working at ground level, Desires Of The Dead deals more with professional interaction and suggests that in future the series will focus more on things that well befit the crime genre.

The book explores the concept of the family and it’s variations – Violet’s family, a metaphorical family, and this time also the family of the person killed. Family is the basic backbone of the book and whereas before the emphasis was on a person’s mental state, this time it is about how you protect those you love.

Violet has to be one of the best YA heroines of recent years. Continually strong and always equal to her boyfriend, it’s a pleasure to read about her. Jay is also wonderful, and I think it’s fair to say that Derting has a way with characters, which makes them very real.

Jay sat down across from Chelsea and took both of her hands in his. The oversized lunchroom was buzzing with activity, and he practically had to yell to be heard.
“Chelsea, for the love of everything good and holy, please… please stop ruining my friend.”

The romance in the book is never idealistic, and when Violet thinks about Jay she never goes overboard. She thinks about him a lot, but there aren’t paragraphs and paragraphs of it. It’s just so natural. And although Jay is fiercely protective of Violet he gives her space when she needs it.

Before, Derting wrote scenes from the enemy’s point of view, and she does this again in Desires Of The Dead. It’s an interesting device. The reader isn’t so much excited to find out who the person is as they are excited to find out how the conclusion is reached. Because you are already acquainted with the enemy, even if you’re not sure who the enemy actually is, you can enjoy the journey to discovery more because there’s no desire that the author hurry up and tell you. Although the need for speed can be exciting, you often miss interesting details in your rush to finish, and so this isn’t an issue here.

The new elements introduced in this book suggest that next time the difference is going to be quite something, and it appears that from standing on the fence between paranormal and totally realistic (because Violet’s ability is actually rather believable in our world where psychic abilities are acknowledged), Derting is going to jump over and explore the fantastical side. Personally I have little doubt that she won’t keep it just as real as before.

Derting and Violet both know that things cannot stay the same, Derting for the progress of a story, and Violet for the help her ability can bring. The awareness of these things together ensures the development of everything and makes the reader receptive of a third book.

Desires Of The Dead speaks up where others stay silent and proves that a realistic paranormal is possible. The dead have staked a claim on Violet but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t too.

I received this book for review from Headline publishers.

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March 17, 2011, 9:45 am

I don’t think I’d heard of this series before. Glad to know it has such a good heroine!


March 22, 2011, 5:46 pm

Realistic YA paranormal fiction?! I’m intrigued! I actually felt like, for all its strange occurrences, Clarity by Kim Harrington was surprisingly realistic, too. Glad you enjoyed this one!

Charlie: Depending on what the themes are yes, as weird as it sounds, it can be. The psychic abilities in this make it realistic because of the way we acknowledge that some people really are psychic.



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