Monday, September 18, 2017

Review: The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld

Title: The Child Finder
Author: Rene Denfeld
Published: September 2017, Harper
Format: ARC Paperback, 288 pages
Source: Publisher

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?

My thoughts: I was lucky enough to pick up this gem at BookExpo this past Spring and I have to say it was on my list of must-get books. While it is my first book by Rene Denfeld, it certainly will not be my last!

I was captivated by the magical writing of this book from the very first page. Yes, this is a mystery thriller, but the way this book is told, alternating from the eyes of a child to that of the private investigator, just has that hint of magical realism without actually containing any parts of that genre in the book if that makes sense. It's more told through the eyes of a child's imagination than any use of magical realism - that's the beauty of this book, that's what makes this book stand apart from anything I've read before. But, it won't be for everyone.

There is, though, a darkness to this book, even in those chapters told from the child. It's just told in that innocence where the child might not realize what is really happening, but you as the adult do. So, word of caution when reading...this book has triggers for those sensitive to that sort of thing. This is after all about a child who has gone missing and is telling her part of the story. 

Naomi, the private investigator, is such an interesting she came to be in her position - her back story, her motivation to do what she does - is utterly fascinating. And as the story moves forward, and we get to know her bit by bit, I became more and more curious about her. This book is not only about her finding missing children, but it becomes about her finding herself.

This book is equal parts dark and light - it is filled with horrific things, yet there is a sense of hope that shines through. I would so love for this to be the start of a series, as I think there is more to Naomi than we have seen...I guess time will only tell on that front. Either way, I can definitely say I will be keeping an eye out for what comes next from this author.


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