Book Review: The Last Echo
By: Kimberly Derting
Published By: HarperCollins
Publication Date: April 17, 2012
Page Count: 358
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher
Audience: Young Adult - Paranormal Mystery
I have been a big fan of Kimberly Derting's writing since I picked up The Body Finder. I loved her writing, her characters, the pacing of the plot, the mystery, and the setting. After living in Washington State for the past two years, I love the setting even more because I can visualize it so much better. Derting is truly one of the greats when it comes to sense of place. She transports the reader into the heart of her setting. The gray, gloomy Pacific Northwest is the perfect backdrop to a series where a character finds dead bodies. Derting's writing makes one believe in the impossible.
The Last Echo is a triumph for Derting. It is the best in the series so far in my opinion. Don't get me wrong - I loved The Body Finder and Desires of the Dead - but there is just something about this book that outshines the other two. This installment gives readers what we have come to expect from Derting - strong characters, a mysterious plot, and compelling prose. However, what sets this one apart is the mood. Derting has pushed this story into a much darker place than she has previously taken us into before. The plot is maturing along with Violet and as she gets pulled deeper into Sara and Rafe's world things get more terrifying.
The beginning of this novel sets up Violet's work on Sara's team. I enjoyed getting to see Violet in this new circumstance. In the past, she has largely been with Jay or her friends. It has always been a very high school driven story, but that all changes in this book. Violet is being forced to be more of an adult and her relationships are suffering. I do feel the need to mention that I really missed Jay in this one. The relationship between Violet and Jay has always been one of my favorite elements of this series. While those moments do crop up in this book, I just felt like there was a lack of Jay. He was not as present as he had been in the past. With that being said though, I was happy that the moments where Jay was around were really good ones. I wish that there had been a Jay for me back in high school. He is by far one of my favorite YA leading men.
In addition, I was impressed by Derting's daring with this one. The killer that Violet and the team are tracking in this one is a girlfriend collector. He finds young women who fit a certain profile and kidnaps them. He keeps them alive for awhile, but eventually he gets rid of them to make space for the next girlfriend. This segment seemed much darker to me than the mysteries in the previous books. I love that Derting always cuts away from the main story-line to give readers a chance to get inside the killer's mind. Those portions in this book gave me the chills. To say that I was freaked out by this killer would be putting it mildly; he made my skin crawl. Derting didn't hold anything back in the scenes where he is involved.
The Last Echo is a chillingly addictive page turner. Once the momentum started rolling after the initial chapters, I couldn't put this one down. It kept me up until the wee hours of the night; I couldn't stop reading until I had reached the last sentence. There is so much that could happen in the next book. The ending is ominous, but it wasn't one of those cliffhangers that will have you throwing your book across the room and cursing the snail like speed of future release dates. I, for one, will be waiting anxiously for book #4's release in 2013. The Body Finder is a series that I don't want to end; I'm sincerely hoping that Violet, Jay, and Rafe will be around for a considerable amount of time in the future.
The Last Echo is a must read. This is one of those series that I drop everything else on my TBR list for - it's that good.
One Last Gripe: I wish that Violet had spent more time with her friends. I hated that she was always blowing them off and giving them the wrong impression. However, I do understand her motivation. Sadly, I missed Chelsea.
My Favorite Thing About This Book: The plot - so so good
First Sentence: Violet strained, searching for the sensation through the suffocating blackness.
Favorite Character: Violet
Least Favorite Character: Gemma
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....