Book review: The Child Finder

Private investigator Naomi is in a specialized field: she finds lost children. Sometimes they are still alive, and occasionally they are not. What makes her an ideal woman for the job is not loads of professional training she received or sparks of good luck. Rather, she was abducted as a child, and though her memory of that time is minimal, she relies on her subconscious instincts to find children who are missing.

Her newest case takes her back to rural Oregon, where she lived as a foster child with beloved Mrs. Cottle and foster brother, Jerome. The search for Madison Culver began three years prior when the little girl went missing in the dead of winter. She was five then, and her parents believe she is still alive… somewhere. Naomi warns them that if Madison returns, she will be different. 

The pacing of this book is slow and steady, as if we, too, are taking each step forward with Naomi. We see the clues, we talk to the people. We wonder about who is trustworthy, and who is not. Sometimes we flash back to a snippet of a memory that catches Naomi off guard, and sometimes we are with Madison, as she tries to figure out how to manage her new life as a snow child.

Only a few times are we with the man who took her.

The Child Finder is daunting, not because the writing is thick or exhaustive, but because the subject matter is heartbreaking. There’s no other way to say it. I’ve read a Rene Denfeld book before (The Enchanted), and I loved it. Totally and completely. This one is no different.


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