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.
- ISBN-13: 9780062659057
- ISBN-10: 0062659057
- Publisher: American Book Company
- Publish Date: February 2019
Lost in the woods
The Child Finder, Rene Denfeld’s second novel and her most personal to date, is a harrowing story about a young girl living in captivity and the one woman who could possibly find her and bring her home. Naomi Cottle, the titular heroine, has a knack for locating missing children. She’s found 30 of them—but not all of them alive.
Her latest case brings her to the chilling remoteness of Oregon’s mountainous Skookum National Forest, where three years earlier, Madison Culver went missing at the age of 5 while looking for a Christmas tree with her family. Previous search-and-rescue attempts have all failed, largely due to the vast terrain and ice-cold temperatures. But Naomi is not one to give up, and as her investigation proceeds, she believes that Madison’s disappearance can only be the result of an abduction.
Naomi’s personal journey from foster child to adulthood parallels her search for Madison. As Naomi’s fears and sources of determination come to light, the narrative also dips into Madison’s mind, allowing readers to experience her terrifying ordeal at the hands of her captor, known only as Mr. B. Both narratives are expertly intertwined into a deeply moving story of survival and hope.
Denfeld writes in part from personal experience. Her stepfather was a sexual predator, and she has adopted three kids from foster care. She’s worked as a death penalty investigator and brings depth and understanding to the victims of such crimes as well as the perpetrators.
The Child Finder is a chillingly good read that will stay with you long after you close the book.