The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting

cover image

Headline, 2012. ISBN 9780755389155.
(Ages: 15+) Violet has a strange ability to sense the echoes of dead bodies and the imprints on their killers. Feeling shunned her whole life due to her ability, she's recently joined a special investigative team of teenagers with powers to solve crimes. Will Violet feel like she finally belongs?
The Last Echo is the third in The Body Finder series which delves into Violet's struggles in fitting with a new group, a looming love triangle with her boyfriend Jay and the mysterious Rafe, and a serial killer on the loose dubbed 'the girlfriend collector'.
It interchanges Violet's thoughts with chilling chapters from the serial killers perspective. I found these brief interludes incredibly disturbing and creepy, and a breather from all the teen drama occupying Violets life. The girlfriend collector is not someone everyone can stomach, as he's incredibly twisted and dark. He kidnaps girls he fancies from afar, and hides them in a dark room. The novel doesn't only describe the crime, but delves into the mind of a serial killer, which probably makes it suitable for more mature young adult readers.
Much of the book is melodramatic, with the central focus being Violet's insecurities and fitting in with the team instead of the compelling murder mystery within the book. While Violet isn't a particular strong heroine, she is a character that many teenagers could probably relate to, even with her strange powers.
While parts of novel are suspenseful and thrilling, other parts are frustrating and slow moving. When you just want to find out about how the killer will be caught, you have Violet mulling over her feelings between two boys. If you're looking for a bit of a thrill with some romance and drama thrown in, The Last Echo is for you.
Jeann Wong