Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense
Published: September 2017 by Harper
My Rating: 4.5/5
Three years ago, Madison Culver disappeared when her family was choosing a Christmas tree in Oregon’s Skookum National Forest. She would be eight years old now—if she has survived. Desperate to find their beloved daughter, certain someone took her, the Culvers turn to Naomi, a private investigator with an uncanny talent for locating the lost and missing. Known to the police and a select group of parents as The Child Finder, Naomi is their last hope.
Naomi’s methodical search takes her deep into the icy, mysterious forest in the Pacific Northwest, and into her own fragmented past. She understands children like Madison because once upon a time, she was a lost girl too.
As Naomi relentlessly pursues and slowly uncovers the truth behind Madison’s disappearance, shards of a dark dream pierce the defenses that have protected her, reminding her
of a terrible loss she feels but cannot remember. If she finds Madison, will Naomi ultimately unlock the secrets of her own life?
Rene Denfeld has done something brilliant with this book. She’s written a novel of intrigue, suspense, and horror that fascinates the reader with a complex tale about the cynical manifestations of abuse. About how abuse disturbs the psyche, especially that of a child but, also, that of an adult. But unlike most novels of this nature, Denfeld throws the reader a bone – hope. It’s so easy when reading about such potent scenarios as kidnap or child abuse to get caught up in the ruin of it. Some books akin to this one will read unforgivingly. You turn pages in shock, a morbid curiosity propelling you on – always a sense of dread as to what is to come next.
The Child Finder, instead, keeps you hooked not through fascination of the corrupt, but through hope and resiliency of the human spirit and our instinct to survive.
The narration dips between child and adult effortlessly, making the read part composed fairytale of a small girl and part detective mirth of a guarded young woman. It’s a story where female characters aren’t strong by their affinity to bite back, but by their intelligence, resiliency, and kindness.
Beautifully written, The Child Finder takes you on a trek through Oregon’s snow-crested wildness where you’ll be greeted with more than the perverse nature of abuse.