Saturday, March 17, 2018

THE CHILD FINDER




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The Child Finder, Rene Denfeld, HarperCollins Publishers, 2017, 184 pp
 
 
I had read and loved Rene Denfeld's first novel, The Enchanted, so I was happy when one of my reading groups chose this one. It is just as good.
 
Naomi is an investigator who finds lost, missing, and abducted children. Based in Oregon, she was a lost child herself who was eventually found and taken in by a wise and wonderful foster mother. She is known to certain police officers and parents who have a word of mouth network that brings her cases. Naomi also has much buried trauma that gives her nightmares and keeps her from forming close relationships, but she is an expert in her field. She is the "child finder."

The novel is a mystery. Madison Culver, the captive of a disturbed man who abducted her, has been lost for three years. All her parents know is that she vanished into the woods at five years old while the family was looking for a live Christmas tree. They have hired Naomi to look for their daughter. The brilliant construction of the novel lets us see both Madison's story in captivity and Naomi's investigation. While the reader knows that Madison is alive, neither Naomi nor Madison's parents can be sure though they feel she is.

The second mystery concerns what is buried in Naomi's psyche. Will she remember? Can she ever form an attachment to the foster brother who loves her?

Despite some quite graphic and disturbing scenes, there is so much tenderness in this story that it prevents the reader from getting overwhelmed. Also as it is fairly short and fast moving, you don't have to stay inside the horror too long. The suspense caused my heart to pound many times.

Rene Denfeld is a heroine to me. She has deep compassion and wisdom about the human condition. She never seems to fall prey to despair. She seeks truth and justice but not vengeance or blame. If more of our leaders had even an ounce of all that, we would have a better world. She inspires me.


(The Child Finder is available in various formats by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)

10 comments:

  1. I was considering reading this book because the plot sounded really good. But, even since becoming an aunt, I haven't been able to read books that involve children being kidnapped.

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    1. Angela, I totally understand.

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  2. This novel is indeed intense at times / Denfeld writes well about damaged people. Her novel The Enchanted blew me away, and though I liked this one, it didn't reach that level for me. Still I will grab her next one.

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    1. The Enchanted was a hard act to follow, that's for sure. But I felt she did her magical thing just as well with the little girl and made me feel empathy for all the characters, good and bad.

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  3. It sounds depressing but it seems that the story moves along quite fast, which helps not to absorb too much of the horror one is reading about. I'm glad you liked this mystery, Judy.

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    1. Also it has a happy ending!

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  4. This book has actually been on my list for a while and I hope to get to it later this year. After reading your review, maybe I'll move it up a few notches.

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    1. Ah Dorothy, you have been sorely missed here at Keep The Wisdom. Of course I am glad you got a vacation and a road trip and hope we will hear more about the trip on your blog but it sure is nice to have a comment from you on the first day of spring. I think you will find The Child Finder to be a satisfying read.

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  5. I'd have to be in the right mood for this one. Cheers

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