by Kimberly Derting
April 17, 2012
Source: traded ARC with another blogger -- thanks Lyndsey!
Content: a serial killer, some non-graphic violence
My summary: This is book three in a series, so I'll be non-spoilery as I quickly catch you up.
Violet has a special talent she shares with the women in her family -- she hears the "echoes" of the dead. She can tell when a murder has occurred nearby, and these echoes don't stop until the victim's body is properly laid to rest. Violet can also sense the special imprint that ending the life of another person leaves on the killer. In book one, The Body Finder, we meet Violet and her best friend Jay. Violet is becoming more and more attracted to Jay, and wonders how he feels about her. She knows he's protective of her, but does that mean he likes her as more than a friend? In this book, a serial killer is targeting Violet's small Washington town, and she (with Jay on her heels) realizes she might be able to stop him.
In book two, Desires of the Dead, Jay and Violet are very wrapped up in each other and in their new relationship. Things are complicated by Jay's new friend Mike and also the fact that Violet has a mysterious secret admirer. Just Jay and Violet's relationship begins to strain, Violet's admirer turns stalker. FBI agent Sara Priest and the enigmatic Rafe enter the picture.
In book three, The Last Echo, Violet is part of a new FBI team headed up by Sara. Violet, Rafe, and three other teens with paranormal abilities have been asked to consult on special cases. After "The Collector," a serial killer who collects unwilling girlfriends, claims another victim, Violet and the team are asked to help.
My take: First off, I think there should be more YA mysteries and thrillers! I'm a huge mystery fan, but I've found that a lot of mysteries written for kids can be ... less than thrilling. When I read The Body Finder, I was beside myself with excitement. I loved the paranormal elements and the Violet-Jay dynamic.
The Last Echo retains many of the same qualities that made the prior books great, but also begins to spin the series in a new direction. (Yes, I know that the title of the book makes it sound like this is Violet's last case. After finishing this book, I don't think so!)
As in previous books, Kimberly Derting writes Violet in the third person and intersperses the POV of the killer. As in the other two books, Violet can't help but use her "gift" to help others, defying her parents and worrying Jay. Violet has always been an independent, fight-her-own-battles kind of girl (yay for that!) But in this book, Derting kicks the action up to an even higher level. There were a couple chapters toward the end that were excruciatingly suspenseful and scary.
Okay, now to the part that some of you Jay fans might not like. But bear with me!! If you love Jay (like I do), you might have been nervous toward the end of the last book. Was the author setting up a love triangle? In The Last Echo, Violet's participation in the FBI team does spin her life -- and the series -- in a fresh new direction. So in my head I'm panicking: "Nononono -- #TeamJay!" But I can also see that this change will set up loads of potential conflict and drama for future books. That's good writing -- and good series planning.
Violet's role on the FBI team makes her feel less like a freak. She's around other kids her age who can understand what it's like to have a "gift" that others might find ghoulish. But being on the team also puts her in greater danger. Violet is in more conflict with her parents. Jay is worrying more. And she has less time for her friends. So the downside of this change is that in The Last Echo, Jay and Chelsea play somewhat diminished roles. And, yes, Rafe's role expands. I'm not going to say more, just that the author does stay true to her characters, which is what's important to me. The Last Echo has more action and less of the steam heat that characterized of Desires of the Dead. I figured out what the title meant toward the end of the book. Wow. Then, I thought I saw where things were going, but at the very end, there was a surprising twist that will raise the tension even more in book four!
I loved The Last Echo and I'm looking forward to seeing where the next installment takes Violet's story.
Are you interested in books like this? Check out my review of Slide by Jill Hathaway.
Are you a fan of YA mystery? Have you read: