Monday, January 22, 2018

Review: The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld

A haunting, richly atmospheric, and deeply suspenseful novel from the acclaimed author of The Enchanted about an investigator who must use her unique insights to find a missing little girl.

"Where are you, Madison Culver? Flying with the angels, a silver speck on a wing? Are you dreaming, buried under snow? Or—is it possible—you are still alive?"

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?

Told in the alternating voices of Naomi and a deeply imaginative child, The Child Finder is a breathtaking, exquisitely rendered literary page-turner about redemption, the line between reality and memories and dreams, and the human capacity to survive.

 Paperback, 288 pages 
Published September 5th 2017 
by Harper
****

I have a confession to make, I read this book without any knowledge of what it was about, caving to peer pressure. I have many likes on Facebook of various book clubs and reading groups, this book has been talked about a lot. When the opportunity came to purchase for only a couple dollars at a local thrift store I jumped at the opportunity, and last week I dove in.

I don’t usually read reviews of books until after I have written my own but in this case I took a peek. While most of the reviews are five star there are some one stars and I can see their point. Given the subject matter and the possibility of some disturbing scenarios I did proceed with caution, there was nothing graphic and I can honestly say I was glued to the pages.

The story begins with the disappearance of five-year-old Madison in Oregon’s wild wilderness and that was three years ago. Naomi is a private investigator with a passion for searching for lost and missing children, sometimes the endings are happy and other times not so.

What can I say here that won’t reveal the outcome? Alternating between Naomi and Madison I was given a real sense of the emotional state, circumstances and the mystery here. There are many layers to the story that are emotional (how can they not be with this subject matter ), but I found the descriptive writing very hypnotizing. It flowed smoothly with insight into the characters background revealing why Naomi is not without scars herself.  The scenery was vivid, the harshness of the North Pacific just added to the story.

Taking only a couple days to read this one, this is one I recommend, it has the right blend of mystery, suspense and an added fairy tale feel to it.


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