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The Child Finder: A Novel

The Child Finder: A Novel

Написано Rene Denfeld

Озвучено Alyssa Bresnahan


The Child Finder: A Novel

Написано Rene Denfeld

Озвучено Alyssa Bresnahan

оценки:
4/5 (82 оценки)
Длина:
8 hours
Издатель:
Издано:
Sep 5, 2017
ISBN:
9780062695352
Формат:
Аудиокнига

Описание

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 listen about redemption, the line between reality and memories and dreams, and the human capacity to survive.

Издатель:
Издано:
Sep 5, 2017
ISBN:
9780062695352
Формат:
Аудиокнига


Об авторе

Rene Denfeld is an internationally bestselling author, licensed investigator, and foster mother. She is the author of the novels The Butterfly Girl, The Child Finder and The Enchanted. Her novels have won numerous awards including a French Prix, and The New York Times named her a 2017 hero of the year for her justice work. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

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  • (4/5)
    In Rene Denfeld’s THE CHILD FINDER, Naomi is known for her ability to find children, sometimes dead but more often alive. She, herself, escaped something when she was a child, something she forgets, and was subsequently raised in a foster home, with her foster brother, Jerome.That is one of the mysteries: what does Naomi forget?The main mystery of THE CHILD FINDER, though, involves Madison, who was lost in the woods when she was 5-years-old. It is now three years later. Chapters alternate: mostly Denfeld concentrates on Naomi’s search for Madison and the present state of Madison. But two other stories are also going on: Naomi’s other job—finding a missing baby whose mother is in jail for her murder—and Naomi’s relationship with Jerome.There are some problems. Every character in this book is so one dimensional the reader never really knows any one of them, even Naomi. That means this is a plot-driven, rather than character-driven, story. Also, Madison is only 5- to 8-years-old in the chapters that describe her, yet most everything she does seems way beyond a child that young.Other than these two problems, though, THE CHILD FINDER is an engaging book. I stayed up late to finish it last night so, obviously, am glad I read it. As I understand, this is the first in a series, and I’ll be looking to finding out about her next case and whether, this time, she investigates alongside Jerome.
  • (4/5)
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book! While some of the child molestation scenes were disturbing to read, I loved the character of Naomi and was left wanting more. I was thrilled to learn that there is a sequel planned for 2019!
  • (4/5)
    This novel begins with the backstory that three years earlier, 5-year-old Madison Culver had disappeared when on a family trip into Oregon’s Skookum National Forest to select a Christmas tree. Her parents have tried every avenue to find her, and now have hired Naomi Cottle. Naomi is known as “The Child Finder” - she has been in the business of looking for missing children for 8 years, since she was 20. Naomi has found over 30 kids, not all of them alive. But the Culvers, like other parents of missing children, are desperate for closure of any kind.Naomi has a sense about missing children because she used to be one herself. Most of her memories are blocked, however; just fragments come to her at night in what she calls “the big dream” and they concern only her escape from captivity at around age 9 (she doesn’t know for sure); not what preceded it. Naomi had been found naked and running by a group of migrant workers, who took her to the sheriff in Opal, Oregon. He in turn handed her over to the foster care of Mrs. Mary Cottle. Mrs. Cottle was also fostering a boy Naomi’s age, Jerome. Years later, Naomi is now dealing with the impending death of her foster mother, who nourished Naomi and Jerome, allowing them to feel relatively protected under her roof. But in fact, Naomi always felt that “[t]he most dangerous wilderness felt safer to [her] than a room with a door that locked from the other side.”She also faces increasing pressure from Jerome to confront their feelings for each other. Jerome admires Naomi’s strength, but saw her “like the wind traveling over the field, always searching, never stopping, and never knowing that true peace is when you curl around one little piece of something. One little fern. One little frond. One person to love.”Naomi is brave when it comes to her relentless search for children, but not brave enough to risk the vulnerability that comes from love.Because Naomi knows how terrifying the experience of captivity was for her - so much so that her sole awareness of it comes from vague nightmares, she is much more persistent than local authorities, who are constrained by lack of manpower and resources. And because Naomi grew up in her foster home not far from the same area as Madison Culver went missing, her dreams begin to have more detail. She understands that she might actually find out what happened to her.Chapters narrated by Naomi alternate with those by Madison, who thinks of herself as “The Snow Queen” after a fairy tale she heard when she was little. Like Naomi, her time in the past - as Madison - only comes to her in dreams, or in the form of stories in her head that she doesn’t think are true. She is held by a person she only knows as “Mr. B.,” who eventually takes over some of the narration as well.Good pacing and lots of tension build up to the denouement and the eventual outcome, which is never a sure thing.Discussion: While there are elements of very distasteful psychological, physical, and sexual abuse in this book, the author does her best to limit depictions of unpleasantness to the dream-like language and level of understanding of a young child. On the author’s website, we learn that she works with sex trafficking victims and also has been a foster adoptive parent herself for traumatized children. Clearly she knows of what she writes.  Evaluation: This well-written and absorbing psychological thriller is apt to keep you up at night.
  • (3/5)
    A woman who searches for missing children hides a past she doesn't even remember or doesn't want to remember is the child finder. She is searching for a little girl who has been missing in the wilderness for several years. Summer read. The little girl relates her life now and the hunter runs from her own past.
  • (4/5)
    Naomi is a young private investigator who exclusively searches for missing children. Set in the high wilderness of Oregon, the story opens with Naomi being hired by the parents of Madison, who disappeared 3 years earlier while they were out to cut a Christmas tree. The story winds around, slowly revealing Naomi's past and how she came to be in foster care with Mary Cottle and her foster brother, Jerome. She questions the motives and trustworthiness of everyone she encounters on her search for Madison. It took me awhile to understand that sections detailing Mr. B and the snow girl sequences were not Naomi's past, but Madison's experience. The author deals gently and sensitively with the horrifying topic of abducted children who are held captive and abused, both from the perspective of the children and their parents. There are references to past cases she has worked on, including a subplot of the missing child of woman with mental health issues, which exposes the scope of this problem across racial and socioeconomic groups. The writing is atmospheric with the back drop of the the snow, forest, and emerging spring in Oregon muffling some of the stark reality in the narrative. The author treats her characters with great compassion, yet holds the reader in tension as the story unfolds.
  • (4/5)
    he past number of years, the news has been filled with accounts of girls or young women kidnapped months or years before and suddenly found alive, having been kept hidden and held hostage by their kidnappers. This is the best possible outcome for kidnapped children although the lifelong emotional toll on the recovered children has to be enormous. But every parent of a taken child must be desperate for such an outcome. Rene Denfeld's novel The Child Finder introduces a character whose specialty is finding missing children, alive or dead, and this first book in a planned series starts off in a quietly spectacular manner. Naomi is special. Called "the child finder" by her clients, she specializes in finding kidnapped and missing children, never giving up and combing over scant information from every direction possible to help her figure out where the children must be. She agrees to take on the case of little Madison Culver, missing for three years, who disappeared at the age of five when in Skookum National Forest picking a Christmas tree with her family. She seemingly disappeared into thin air and no further trace of her has ever been found but her parents have refused to give up hope even as their own marriage cracks under the strain of not knowing her fate. As Naomi methodically tracks the missing girl, her own story as a missing child, one who escaped but was never reclaimed or identified, haunts her dreams. Her own trauma informs her search for Madison and her concurrent search for the missing baby of a developmentally delayed young woman who has been charged with the baby's murder.Naomi's own past, which is revealed to the reader in small pieces, informs how she goes about her work, antagonizing some people, pushing others, and only rarely opening up to anyone. She is clearly deeply affected by her own story, allowing her to connect with and have a surprising compassion for broken people even while she is uncomfortable around most folks. Interspersed with flashes of Naomi's past and her search, is a fairy tale of sorts. Calling herself the snow girl, a child tells herself the few small things she remembers of her life before being taken and what she knows and learns of the man with whom she lives. This latter piece of narration is absolutely gut wrenching for the reader but it is not horrifically graphic. Denfeld manages to create full and complex characters even in those only in the story for a brief amount of time, rounding them out as real and understandable in their motivations. Although this is billed as a thriller, because the narrative tension is steady and consistent it really isn't one. The story feels quiet, like it's muffled in the deep snow that quickly covered all traces of Madison's whereabouts when she disappeared. And although it deals with kidnapping and abuse, it somehow feels gentle and compassionate. At the end of the book, only one question remains, Naomi says that "it's never too late to be found" but will she be able to find herself over the course of the series?
  • (4/5)
    I love books with dysfunctional, sometimes hard to like hero’s. Naomi is a great one.
  • (5/5)
    Somehow I managed to miss The Enchanted until it got reduced by Amazon to an affordable sale price. But my friend Tori put Rene Denfeld on my radar, so I've been following her on Facebook and anxiously awaiting the release of The Child Finder.

    I'm tempted to give this a one-word review. WOW.

    Is it a thriller? Is it a fairy tale that takes the long way around to get to the "happily ever after"? It's kind of both. It tells a horrifying story in a beautiful, poetic way. There's just enough distance between the reader and the story to keep it from being too hard to take. There were times I had to remind myself what was really happening. I don't know if I could have read this as a traditional thriller. But as whatever this is, I loved it and HIGHLY recommend.
  • (5/5)
    Five-year-old Madison Culver disappeared while on a family outing to pick out a Christmas tree in Skookum National Forest. Desperate to find their daughter, Madison’s parents engage private investigator Naomi Cottle, a woman who specializes in finding lost and missing children. Naomi, the child finder, is their last hope.Naomi, once a lost child herself, slowly uncovers the truth behind Madison’s disappearance. At the same time, dark dreams torment the woman, threatening to expose whatever she’s forgotten from all those years ago. Will discovering what happened to Madison help her unlock the secrets of her past?A complex plot slowly unfolds, revealing insights and more fully defining the strong, compassionate characters in this exquisite narrative. Beautifully-written, the narrative pulls readers into the telling of the tale and holds them there with poetic language, a strong sense of place, and powerful emotions. Spellbinding, atmospheric, captivating . . . this is one book readers are certain to find to be completely unputdownable.Highly recommended.
  • (4/5)
    A dark but moving novel of the horrors of child abduction present and past. The characters are very well drawn and the plot is believable. Until the end the action is primarily psychological - as is the terror. The subject material is not my favorite but the book is excellent.
  • (4/5)
    As indicated by the title, this is the compelling story of Naomi, a victim of a violent childhood, whose goal in life is to find missing children. The object of her current search is a five-year old girl, Madison, who has gone missing in a dense forest landscape near a very small town in Oregon. This search for Madison triggers painful memories of a past she cannot remember, although she knows it involved a great loss. The story of Madison's three years in captivity is also told by Madison. This is a book that will resonate with its readers for a long time.
  • (5/5)
    I read this book in one day. I simply could not put it down. Little Madison Culver disappeared three years ago while the family went into the woods to find a Christmas tree. Her mother is convinced she is still alive, despite the odds of a child surviving for even hours in the hostile woods in the winter when she disappeared. The family hires Naomi, the child finder, in their effort to get to the truth. Madison's story, intertwined with Naomi's, is remarkable. I enjoyed the unique writing style of this author as well as the amazing story line.
  • (5/5)
    I don't know how Denfeld does it, but I close her books, which are filled with truly dark stuff, feeling... content and full of hope. More thoughts to come.Recommended for anyone who enjoyed the way Oyeyemi used the tales of Snow White in Boy, Snow, Bird or the way Ivey used the wilderness and snow in The Snow Child. 4.5 stars
  • (5/5)
    This is a phenomenal read! I was so engrossed, so lost in the story, that at times, I felt I was in the cabin, in the snow, in the book. Amazing! Naomi is the child finder, Madison is the child, and B, well, B is complicated. It's a beautifully written story, full of pain, love, and longing. And the climatic scene made me white-knuckled tense as I read it. I really loved this book!
  • (3/5)
    I have so many conflicting feelings about this book. On one hand, I loved the fairy tale aspect of the snow girl and the literary writing, so descriptive and vivid. On the other hand, I had a hard time relating to Naomi. I admire what she does, finding lost children, missing children, dead or alive and she is good at what she does even though she has yet to find an answer to her own mysterious past as a lost and found child. She fascinates me and I know she's a product of her past, but she just seemed so cold sometimes. And am I one of the only ones bothered by the sexual aspect of this book? I am no prude, but this is no blue lagoon; it's not two young people discovering love together - this is a man in his 50's and a young girl. Yet it's so sad, as B is a product of his past as well and seemed to care for her the only way he knew how to. Sometimes I only read for pleasure and entertainment, and I don't necessarily want to learn anything, but I found the details of life in the cold Oregon forest and mountains fascinating. It just seemed so primitive and it's hard to imagine people still living that way. I did also find that the story jumped all over, it seemed to lack storylines flowing together. For me, it was a fast read, most of it was enjoyable reading, (with a couple of exceptions), it's definitely intriguing although there are no surprises. When I finished reading it, I just had to think and let it all soak in. It's very haunting and left me a little drained and sad. For Madison and her family, for the other case worked on, for Naomi and even for B.I am curious as to if there will be a sequel; I would love to know the result of Naomi's search.
  • (5/5)
    I was given a free advanced copy of this book in exchange for my review.

    The Child Finder is beautiful prose, a step above all the other "Gone Girl" imitators that are crowding the shelves of bookstores. I liked the strong protagonist, although, to be honest, I would've liked a bit of resolution on her backstory. Her skills were believable and Denfeld developed all the secondary characters sufficiently. Highly recommended!
  • (3/5)
    A sixth sense and a highly tuned instinct are the qualities that Naomi Cottle is blessed with that allow her to find the missing children. Madison Culver has disappeared in the snowy forests of Northern Oregon when accompanying her parents in the search for the perfect Christmas tree. Naomi is determined to find Madison and in the process will encounter some painful memories from her distant pass. The snow girl is protected by Mr B and as this relationship unfolds the intention of the guardian gives the reader real cause for concern....."The day after the girl had slept in his bed for the first time, B had come back from trapping and sat on the edge of the bed...."There is a strange, almost dreamlike quality to the storytelling. The author in this detached form of communication with the reader creates a very uneasy and unsettling image of neglected and disturbed children..."it is better for a child to attach to an abuser than to experience the blind hole of neglect."... Naomi travels to the endearingly named Stubbed Toe Creek and with the help of Ranger Dave hopes to unravel the mystery surrounding the disappearance of the young Madison Culver. Is there a connection with the snow girl? Will recently realized childhood memories help Naomi in her painful search for the missing child?...."What were you running from, then? she had asked. Monsters, was all that Naomi could remember. And to this day, outside the hints in her dreams, it was all she could remember still." Many thanks to the good people at netgalley for sending me a gratis copy in exchange for an honest review and that is what I have written.
  • (5/5)
    I read this quite a while ago but held my review until it was closer to the publishing date. As you can see I was blown away by her writing and the fantastic way she assembles her story lines. As in the first book, she tackles imprisonment, but in this book it takes a new form. She also highlights the strong will to survive and the ways this is managed, even in horrific circumstances. In her first book she used a form of magical realism, in this another form of magic, the power of stories, in this case fairytales. Naomi is a child finder she has gone through some traumatic experiences in her past, and we get glimpses of this throughout the story. She usually tackles only one case at a time, and in this her main case will be that of a missing five year old girl. Naomi's past has made her a dogged searcher, able to piece together things others cannot. I wish she would have stuck with her one case rule because the second case she takes was a small wrinkle in an otherwise almost perfect reading experience. Really couldn't see the need for this case, though it did concern a missing child, it was I thought an unnecessary diversion. Still there is no getting away from the fact that this is a story that pulls one in, the setting and season adds to the tension. Gorgeous writing as well. I love how she shows that people are not just one thing, that everyone has hidden layers,. Many have had horrible experiences in life, and have found unique ways of dealing with them. This does concern the sexual abuse of children but nothing is graphic, again it is handled extremely well. I wonder if since we never get the full details of Naomi's life if there might be a sequel, would like to learn more about this intriguing character.ARC from publisher.
  • (5/5)
    Rene Denfeld's newest novel, The Child Finder, simply would not let me put it down. I was entranced from the opening pages and devoured it in a day.Naomi is a private investigator with a specialty - she finds children - lost, stolen, missing and kidnapped. The police and her clients know her as the child finder. She seems to have an uncanny ability to ferret out clues and traces of a child's passing or presence. That ability is honed from experience - she too was a lost child. She escaped, but has no memory of what came before that time.Madison Culver disappeared three years ago in Oregon's massive Skookum Forest. If still alive, she would be eight years old. Her parents hire Naomi in one last ditch effort to find her.Denfeld's thoughtful, measured prose and passages often beg to be read again and savored for their images and ideas. Naomi's thoughts and manner are also unhurried and I found my reading slowing down to match her pacing. Well, up to a certain point. Denfeld's tale is a page turner and I desperately wanted to peek ahead at the last chapters. I didn't though - it would have spoiled an absolutely thrilling tale.There is a child alive in the forest. That child has a voice in alternating chapters with Naomi. The child's chapters are heartbreaking, frightening and yet hopeful. This latest search has stirred something in Naomi's memory as well. Her nightmares and memories bring her ever closer to remembering what came before. The supporting cast including Naomi's foster brother and mother were also well drawn and the relationships between the three were so eloquently depicted.Love, loss, redemption and the power of the human spirit are all are magically woven through The Child Finder. Absolutely, positively recommended.
  • (4/5)
    The writing was beautiful. Very poetic at times. But the subject, some of the details, just break your heart. I don’t want to give anything away, but there are parts that are so sad I actually had to put the book down for a little while and wrap my head around the story...
  • (4/5)
    I liked how the story interlaced together. I liked the suspenseful parts. I liked Naomi living with Mrs. Cottle and being a child because she knew the simplicity of it and appreciated it.
  • (5/5)
    A great book about a tough subject to get right... A hero survivors can believe in
  • (3/5)
    Children are some of the most vulnerable human beings. They often go missing or disappear without a trace. Some are found, and many are not...creating loss and turmoil in homes and families that change the very core pattern of their lives. In this book we meet Naomi, a young woman known as the "child finder." She has no past she can fully remember, but she knows that she must never give up on finding those who are lost. I thought the book was hard to follow since the story was told from two voices that alternated. Also this child was portrayed as 6 years old going on 30 with understanding of things that were far beyond her mental abilities. The man was a pedophile no matter how the author painted it. The ending was wrapped up too neat and everything just went back to norm? I don't think so.
  • (4/5)
    Very entertaining suspense and seemingly the beginning of a new series. Naomi Cottle is a survivor of child kidnapping and abuse herself, although she remembers very little from before her escape at age 9. Now in her late 20s, she is known to police as "The Child Finder", having an intuitive method of following clues in child kidnappings that the police have been unable to solve. Although she sometimes finds live children and sometimes dead, she has an astonishing success rate. Naomi is asked by a rural Oregon couple to look into the three-year-long kidnapping of their 5 year old, Madison, who wandered away from the parents to explore the woods when they went Christmas tree hunting. Presumed dead from hypothernia, Madison is, however, still alive, and her story is intertwined with Naomi's search for her, making for a chilling tale of two survivors. Sexual abuse is clear here, and I did find it unsettling, especially Madison's survival response in the presence of her kidnapper. But I did like the book very much, and the sequel is already on my request list at the library.
  • (3/5)
    The Child Finder, Rene Denfield, author; Alyssa Bresnahan, narratorFor me, this novel was really about many different kinds of loss and the many different kinds of relationships involving love or the lack of it. It is about the loss of innocence, the loss of freedom, of memory, of a body part. It is about the loss of love or the inability to understand or find it. It is about what happens when something or someone that has been lost, is found after years of searching. It is about whether or not the search and discovery are worthwhile or whether or not the results are expected. It is about how the loss is handled by those grieving and about how those lost or those suffering from the loss, eventually come to terms with their trauma and learn to survive, if they are even retrievable. Each of the characters is involved in a traumatic event involving some kind of loss. Something is missing from each of their lives.In this novel, the author tells two parallel stories. One is about Naomi Cottle and her experiences. She is a young female detective who finds missing children. She is called the “child finder”. It is fitting that she has chosen this occupation because she had been a missing child, as well, but she has no memory of her life before her escape and rescue. When she became the foster child of Mrs. Cottle, a gentle woman who had lots of love to give, she began her recovery. Mrs. Cottle was kind and helped her to find her way back to life with her tenderness and compassion. Naomi had hoped some of her memory would return, but when the story begins, it has not. She is still searching for herself, as well as for others. Is she afraid to find her past? How will she deal with it if she remembers the horror of what happened to her?The other story is about a child named Madison. Naomi has been hired by Madison Culver’s parents to try and locate her. She has been missing for three years, but her mother believes that she is still alive. Naomi takes the case but explains that she may not find Madison alive, and even if she does, she may not be the same child they lost. How a child survives from the capture and brutality may cause tremendous changes in the child. How would Madison survive?Madison disappeared in the forest while hunting for a Christmas tree with her mother and father. When she wandered away from them, they did not see her leave. She fell and was injured. Lying, almost frozen in the snow, she was found by a man who could not hear or speak. He picked her up and carried her home. In his clumsy, misguided way, he saved her life, but what kind of a life did he provide? When she regained consciousness, she discovered that she was not with her parents but with this strange man with a very fragile temperament. She learned that he was easy to anger and was a deaf mute. Her five-year old child’s mind conjured up a fantasy which enabled her to survive as the time passed. She was no longer Madison. She was “the snow child”. In her young mind, she was born of the snow like the child in her favorite Russian folk tale. She was intuitive and tried to anticipate the moods of the man who kept her locked up. She hoped to prevent him from hurting her and to encourage him to allow her out of the “cave” in which she believed she was being held prisoner.The author handles the issue of sex very delicately. She uses metaphors for subjects that are difficult for Madison’s child’s mind to understand. When she is sexually abused she thinks of the sticks in the forest, and believes the twigs are hurting her. There are other references throughout, to serpents and snakes. The author has also imbued Madison with a mind that seems far more mature than that of a child’s. Her ability to read and write, to draw pictures to explain things and her thoughtful explanations and interpretations of her situation appear to be far more adult than someone with her meager number of years. Mr. B, the man who holds Madison captive, is like a child himself, although he is grown and quite large. He has had practically no experience with the outside world. He was kidnapped as a young child and was kept in a dark, dank cellar. He was beaten severely when he angered his captor. Today, he is simply a trapper who lives in the forest. He has never learned to read or write, and he has no understanding of normal emotions, other than extreme anger. If he is found, he would be very changed. He had once been a happy seven-year old child who wasjust beginning to learn his letters and how to lip read at the time he became separated from his family. They were distracted in a store when he wandered out, unnoticed, and was carried away by a man who lived in the forest and was known only for his meanness. Unable to make a sound, Mr. B, known as Brian at that time, simply disappeared. One minute he was there, and then, he was not. Perhaps the way he treated “the snow girl” was the only way he knew how to treat someone. He learned to hunt, kill animals and trade their skins, but he never learned to love. Madison, now “the snow child”, feared he would kill her too. There is another character, fostered by the same wonderful woman, Mrs. Cottle, who cared for Naomi and helped her through her trauma. He is Jerome. Naomi and Jerome were raised together. He, though, seems to be the only completely emotionally whole victim in the story, although he might have been the most floundering because of his experiences of abuse and suffering. Mrs. Cottle helped him find a new purpose in his life. She helped him fill in his missing parts with her pure and genuine love and concern for him.The book also raises and touches on many of the progressive ideas threading through the narrative of conversation today, as well as many of the social issues concerning us. The author raises the topic of sex trafficking. She touches on mental health issues when she tells the story of a woman who is autistic whose child is missing. Through her story, she also touches on racism and the additional obstacles her family had to face because of it. With Jerome, she touches on the dangerous effects of our political policies surrounding war and those who are involved in fighting the battles. With him, she also touches on Native American fables and, once again, racism. She touches on how death enters and leaves our lives and how we deal with the effects. Some face it head on and some skirt around the idea and are in denial. When the ranger’s wife sneaks off to die quietly, alone and without fanfare, he is left behind; he is bereft and frozen in place. He wants to know if she will ever be found. Although she has found her peace, his has been disturbed. Perhaps, the novel obliquely also touches on the harmful effects of ignorance, even when it is not a choice, but is a consequence of natural events, and the beneficial effects of having faith in someone or something, other than oneself. Then, also, there is the story of a missing illegal alien. When his mother reports him missing, she is arrested, shackled and deported. His body is later found, a victim of violence. Some of these stories seemed somewhat contrived in order to promote particular political points of view. Some felt unrelated to the rest of the novel and some felt perfectly at home within the pages. The narrator read each character with a clear, definitive voice. She enhanced the novel with her interpretation of each of them.
  • (4/5)
    Desperate to find their missing child who has been missing for three years, they entreat Naomi, a private investigator who has an uncanny knack for finding lost children...dead and alive. Naomi’s search takes her into Oregon’s Skookum National Forest in the midst of winter. A suspenseful novel where one wonders if Naomi will be able to find the girl in time.
  • (4/5)
    Naomi's first memory is as a child, running frantically through a field, escaping from captivity. No further memories emerged; nor was she ever claimed by family.As an adult she has become a private investigator dedicated to finding lost and abducted children. Her current case involves a five year old girl, lost in a snowstorm in the Oregon forest while her family was cutting a Christmas tree three years ago. Surely she couldn't have survived that storm, even though her body was never found.But other things live in the forest besides the wild animals: twisted and menacing and able to tear your heart out.I found this a well written mystery/thriller– it took off at a gallop and sucked me right in. I loved the outdoor forest setting and the RIF on the Snow Child fairy tale. I also enjoyed the secondary mystery of an infant missing from a developmentally challenged woman.There were a few minor annoyances : Dave is constantly referred to 'Ranger Dave'. I'm not sure he ever appeared without his title, although he is a major part of the story. There were also some outdoor phrases that rang oddly – example including where someone 'cached their cabin' . Since the book is about child abductions, pedophilia is a major theme and so a warning to those sensitive to this subject.Still I hope this is the beginning of a very long series. I'll be back! 4*
  • (5/5)
    Wow!This book grabbed me from the start and left me stunned. I’m in admiration and I fully enjoyed the book. When I finished it was one of those what in the heck can I possibly read next books.I’m not sure why some people are talking about magical realism as being part of this book. This book is 100% realistic. 100% reality punched in the stomach, devastating, but also hopeful, and with gorgeous writing and great storytelling. It’s simultaneously brutal and beautifully poetic. Very quotable but I restrained myself from “liking” too many quotes because so many would be story spoilers. “Twigs” I will never forget the meaning of the use of that word from this story. I was so impressed with how this author completely understands dissociation and trauma. During reading this I was inspired to look up information about this author, and I really, really like her as a person, and I can see how her background and life experiences made her the perfect person to write this. She knows of what she writes. Almost all the best fictional stories have authors who do. I loved how all the characters and storylines were tied together so well. I was in awe of how from start to finish it was well written and full of brilliant storytelling. I adored it all the way through, though I did have worries I’d end up being disappointed. Thankfully, that did not happen. I liked it so much that I read until I had to stop reading, even if I was in mid-chapter. I don’t usually do that. I generally strongly prefer to stop reading at the end of chapters. I hated to stop reading, I was eager to know what would happen, and I was dreading getting to the end and have the book stop, and that is one measure of a great book. I will definitely read her other novel and maybe her three non-fiction books too, and probably any other future books.I loved the two main female characters’ voices and at first I was annoyed when certain male characters’ voices were interspersed, even though they were interesting, but it turns out all the voices were needed for the reader to fully appreciate this book. Brilliantly done! One voice in particular was painful to hear. I rebelled against it but she had me feeling sympathy for all the characters, even before the reader knows the entire story, but I was rooting completely only for some. Even the minor characters are incredibly well drawn given their parts of the story.I thought I’d guessed almost everything about the resolution but I’d say I was batting only around 67%. It was fun when I was right and equally fun when I found out something unexpected. It was challenging for me to write this review to be just an adequate review. As always, it’s hardest for me to write about books I love. I don’t think it will make my favorites list but 5 very full stars.
  • (4/5)
    The Child FinderRene DenfeldMY RATING ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️▫️PUBLISHERHarper CollinsPUBLISHEDSeptember 5, 2017A touching chronicle of a breathless search through the dark Oregon forest for a little girl who has been missing for three years. SUMMARYMadison Culver disappeared in Oregon’s snow-filled Skookum National Forest three years ago, as the family was searching for the perfect Christmas tree. Madison was just five years old. Naomi Cottle is a private investigator with a special talent for finding lost and missing children. The Culver’s are desperate and have asked Naomi for help. She is their last hope. Naomi,The Child Finder, has found thirty lost children in her brief eight-year career, but not all of them have been alive. In helping the Culver’s, Naomi is relentless in her attempts to unravel the clues to Madison disappearance. Naomi is also searching for answers to the secrets of her own fragmented childhood journey. She has dreams of running, but she doesn’t know from where or from what. All she knows, is that something is missing. REVIEWHow can a young girl of five survive in the forest? A story of missing children can be a tough topic to write about and equally disturbing to read. But Rene Denfeld did a fabulous job taking a heavy subject and presenting it in a tasteful and meaningful way. I would go so far as describing it as light and hopeful. Madison loved fairytales and in fact, much of this book is reminiscence of a fairy tale, only with a lot of reality thrown in. “You know she is most likely dead,” was one of the first things Naomi told the Culver’s as they stood in Madison’s Disney decorated bedroom. The Child Finder is gripping and intense. It is such a quick read the pages seem to turn themselves propelling you to the next part of the story. Denfeld effortlessly blends Naomi and Madison’s story, adding interest and complexity to the book. This would be a great read for a cold winter day, curled up by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate. The Child Finder is Denfeld’s second book and she writes in part from personal experience, she is a licensed investigator specializing in death penalty work and she has adopted three children from foster care.
  • (4/5)
    I am on a roll this month. This audiobook had my walks on high intensity as I wanted to get to the end and see how things panned out. I will say Naomi got on my nerves a bit. Wanted to kick her a time or two for being so stubborn. Stories that involve child abduction/missing children always hurt my heart a bit, but it was still very enjoyable. 4?