- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson (September 12, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1474605540
- ISBN-13: 978-1474605540
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 381 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
The Child Finder Paperback – 12 September 2017
A hauntingly beautiful, chilling novel by a real-life badass heroine (Rene Denfeld is, among other things, a licensed investigator and foster-adoptive parent), The Child Finder turns around a woman named Naomi, a private investigator with a gift for finding lost children, and her search for a girl who has been missing in the Oregon woods for three years. Denfeld brings Naomi to life with precise, lyrical prose. While the whole book reads like a fairytale for adults, Naomi herself is fully realized and deeply human * CrimeReads * A gripping page-turner * Real Simple magazine * Giving voice to those who are metaphorically or even literally voiceless, Rene Denfeld reminds us that consequences continue, aftermath continues - yet we must somehow find ways of holding on to threads of hard-won hope * San Francisco Chronicle * The story takes you forward on a fast-paced search and recovery, one that keeps you turning the pages. Imminent danger is palpable, keeping you reading, while the mystery is deep and full of angst and loneliness. Danger and urgency are the prevailing worries....If you enjoy mystery, romance, danger and some darkness you will love this story. This work takes you on a journey and keeps you turning the pages until the truth comes out. The characters will stay with you a long time -- Leslie Wright * Seattle PI * Denfeld is a Portland-based journalist and private investigator, and also the adoptive mother of three foster children. All of these aspects of her life are mined in The Child Finder, a powerful novel about a search for a missing girl that's also a search for identity.... It's "Deliverance" encased in ice... Denfeld's novel is indeed loaded with suspense, its resonance comes from its surprising tilt towards storytelling restraint, a rarity in this typical crackling genre. Elegiac, informative and disquieting... The novel gallops to a suitably heart-racing finish -- Michael Callahan * New York Times Book Review * A glittering gem of a story - part mystery, part fairy tale, and all white-knuckled, edge-of-your-seat thriller . . . readers will be drawn in by Denfeld's lyrical prose and undone by the brutal reality that Naomi uncovers, just beneath the snowy forest floor * Library Journal * A darkly luminous story of resilience and the deeply human instinct for survival, for love. Blending the magical thinking of childhood, of fairy tales, dreams, memories and nightmares, The Child Finder is a terrifying and ultimately uplifting novel that demands to be consumed and then once inside you - lingers... -- A.M. Homes, author of MAY WE BE FORGIVEN Rene Denfeld has a gift for shining bright light in dark places. The Child Finder is a gorgeous, haunting gem of a novel. Raw and real yet wrapped in a fairy tale, as lovely and as chilling as the snow -- Erin Morgenstern, NYT bestselling author of THE NIGHT CIRCUS Part mystery, part fairy tale, this is also a real white-knuckle read where the suspense ratchets up to almost unbearable proportions * CANDIS MAGAZINE * A truly mesmerising and deeply moving story * HEAT * Denfeld's haunting, disquieting and tension-filled tale is brilliantly told * IRISH INDEPENDENT * The sense of physical and psychological isolation is palpable in this moving exploration of loss, hope and human resilience -- Laura Wilson * GUARDIAN * A compelling blast of cold air from the wintry woods, with elements of a dark fairytale -- Alison Flood * OBSERVER * A moving tale of resilience and hope in the face of the worst of humanity -- Jon Coates * DAILY EXPRESS * Poetic... Redemptive... Unflinching -- Barry Forshaw * FINANCIAL TIMES *
About the Author
Rene Denfeld is a death penalty investigator and the author of the novel THE ENCHANTED, as well as three non-fiction books, including the international bestseller, THE NEW VICTORIANS. She has written for numerous publications, including the NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her three children, all adopted from foster care. In addition to working with death row clients, Ms. Denfeld volunteers with at-risk youth and in foster adoption advocacy. http://renedenfeld.com/
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An interesting mystery/thriller about a woman named Naomi who specializes in finding missing children. She takes on 2 cases simultaneously - one is a child that has been missing for 3 years, and the other is a child recently missing where the mother has been arrested. While searching for these 2 children, Naomi wrestles with her own childhood trauma and with accepting her present.
The child finder has had quite a success rate in the searches for missing, presumably taken, children she has undertaken; and, as a result, she has a growing list of pleading requests from distraught parents begging for her help. She is more successful than law enforcement because of her empathy for the child, the dedication she brings to the search--devoting month after month to the single task-- and her ability (pardon the cliche) to think outside the box. This book is not critical of law enforcement. The example we are given is entirely admirable. But how often is law enforcement allowed to concentrate month after month on a single case? But she will. The book mentions one of her previous successes, the finding of a boy who had been missing for eight years. Only she, of all the law enforcement who have looked for the child, thinks to consult the original blueprints of the school where he was last seen. This is pretty much a definition of thinking outside the box. In the current case she alone among searchers finds the original land grants in the neighborhood of where the child disappears, and she along searches out each of those old, original sites for a place in which a child could be hidden. An earlier reviewer suggested that she had some unexplained arcane ability that explained her success. I disagree; it is an unending patience and a willingness to keep on keeping on which explain her success.
This book obviously tackles very ugly topics--pedophilia and its victims, the victim who grows into a predator himself because he has simply never learned any other way of acting--but it does so with tact; there are no brutal and sickening scenes of child rape here. This is an author who believes her readers know what happens when a sexual predator takes a child. But above all, this is a story of those who survive; and the reader can share in the enormous accomplishment, especially considering the magnitude of what they have survived.
One thought I'd like to add: A previous reviewer found the book poorly written. I disagree entirely. The two examples that person quotes are thoughts taken from a person's mind. I think that very few people monitor their thoughts for grammatical accuracy, and I found both examples utterly realistic in term of what a person in that situation might think.
Be that as it may, I thought this a very fine book that I'd recommend to adults without hesitation.
No. in Series: stand alone
Strong language: no
Sexual language or actions: nothing overt; referenced as background and child abuse
Age Suggestion: young adult
Special warning: child abuse, both referred to and actively happening
Naomi, the child finder, remembers only flashback bits of her life before being taken in by a migrant group and brought to the Sheriff. She remembers running, but thinks there is something else, something so important it drives her as an adult to wander, constantly looking for it.
She becomes an investigator in her 20's, demonstrating an affinity for finding missing children. Some are alive, some alive but so traumatized they may never become functional adults, some dead and some never found. She is a sympathetic character; easy to relate to and characterized by a sturdy, steady personality who can be brutally honest when needed.
She has two cases in the same town, and against her usual work method she agrees to take on both; the primary case a 5 year old lost in the snowy forest of Oregon for three years, and secondary a newborn missing for a month.
The story intersperses her memories of foster care and the boy who shared her placement with the present day actions. These tiny memories do not interrupt the flow of the story and provide glimpses of other cases and how she grew up.
Madison, the 5 year old missing for three years has been rescued by a high mountain trapper and is being held in an underground cellar in his ramshackle house. Confused by being lost and then found, she reinvents herself as "snow girl" and tells stories about a little girl named Madison.
The story is almost gentle; no horrific, tortured children missing and then found. She gives gentle advice to parents, urging them to think of their marriage. She keeps in loose contact with children she has found, reminding them to not forget their ordeals and instead embracing the strength that kept them going.
The ending is satisfactory with room for another book if desired. All in all a strong, quiet book about horrific actions.