The Child Finder

The Child Finder

A Novel

Book - 2017 | First edition
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"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"--
Publisher: New York :, Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers,, [2017]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780062692696
Branch Call Number: FIC DEN
Characteristics: 273 pages ; 21 cm


From the critics

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While I was intrigued by the characters and the mystery, I found the descriptions of child abduction, sexual abuse, and the ending itself hard to stomach. The main character (the child finder) is fascinating, the story structure is well-crafted, and the ending is largely satisfying, but consider yourself warned if you are easily disturbed by emotionally wrenching stories!

Nov 30, 2019

For anyone who doubts that sexual abuse happens, this book will remind you of the terrible effects--even years later. This book will be frightening for any parent as one reads about "stranger abduction."

STPL_JessH Oct 11, 2019

I re-read The Child Finder last night in one sitting. I couldn't put it down! I wanted to remember some of the particulars of Naomi's journey in time to read The Butterfly Girl. I had forgotten how much I loved The Child Finder! It was written so carefully, with such sensitivity. It seems as though Rene Denfeld chose each and every word with caution and then deployed her gifts to create a stunning yet perfectly restrained tale. I am even more impressed by the writing now than I was when I first read the book two years ago. I highly recommend it!

Sep 29, 2019

A beautifully-written story! I loved the mix of mystery and fairy tale. I loved the snowy Oregon setting, the emphasis on hope and help, and how you can always be found.

May 27, 2019

This is more a warning that a review: this book has graphic descriptions of child sexual abuse. It made me physically ill. It's well-written by an author whom I respect, but unless you've got a stomach stronger than mine, please go and find a happier book. It's a year later, and thinking about this novel still makes me shudder.

Apr 26, 2019

This book, despite the subject matter, is excellent. Denfeld is a master storyteller; the writing is superb, the characters are complex, the plot is well paced. The focus moves from one character to the next with ease and the back and forth between the present and past is so well done. I would have quit reading a book of this nature penned by less capable hands. Very impressive.

Mar 07, 2019

This book is a difficult one for me to review. It has such fabulous reviews! Hmm. I feel as though I read a different book. So many parts of the book felt off or didn't ring true. I felt that Madison came across as far too mature for a five-year-old (aging to an eight-year-old) girl. I felt as though some of the parts pertaining to Naomi came across as too immature for a woman who was supposed to be in her 20s or 30s. (I can't remember, exactly.) Sometimes she seemed less mature than Madison did! I also found some parts of the book to be downright sappy - reminding me too much of a Hallmark movie.

Feb 22, 2019

Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

A true literary psychological thriller.

Naomi is The Child Finder...she has a gift for finding lost children, having been one herself. Madison, a little girl, has been missing for 3 years. Her parents refuse to give up hope that she will be found, and therefore turn to slightly more unorthodox methods.

Naomi is approached by these desperate parents, and once she accepts, she is determined to leave no stone unturned in her quest to find the missing child. As her investigation develops, clues regarding Madison’s disappearance are uncovered. Will Naomi find out what happened to Madison? Will she find out what happened in her own past as well?

Pros: The writing in this book is simple but absolutely spellbinding. Mrs. Cottle, Jerome and The Snow Girl are heartbreakingly perfect.

Cons: Underneath the pretty words is a very disturbing story, so that may be a deterrent to some folks.

Overall, this book is a step above most in this genre. I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up another one by this author. Highly, highly recommended.

Oct 16, 2018

Really good. I recommend this book. Just keep in mind that sometimes it gets a little intense, like when we're hearing things from the girls viewpoint

Sep 13, 2018

I do not usually read the comments before adding my two cents worth on an author's work. However, this time, I did take the time. I found some moving, some beautiful, and one or two perhaps a little clueless. Perhaps that is after years of watching programs such as "Criminal Minds," "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (Sex Crimes)," and not a few actual crime re-enactments procedural documentaries.

I was very grateful for the lack of explicit gore regarding human on human violence, trapping descriptions were more than sufficient. The writer displayed an almost Hitchcock-like ability to merely infer feelings of terror, abandonment, desperation, confusion, and the need to survive at what cost.

Denfeld is great at character development as well as plot and keeping the reader wondering what was going to happen next. I am looking to read more of Her books. Unfortunately, children, people go missing every day. There are limited resources to find them. I am glad for Denfeld and people like her to do her kind of work. It takes skill, a strong will, a strong body and mind, and most of all a huge heart - one that can break little by little and keep coming back to help the next person who needs to be found.

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Mar 17, 2018

This is something I know: no matter how far you have run, no matter how long you have been lost, it is never too late to be found.

Mar 17, 2018

Naomi had tried to find peace in that. If what happened to her was too horrifying to remember, then that was how God wanted it -- He would store those artifacts in heaven for her, for delivery to hell.

Mar 17, 2018

“Snow girl was glad she had left her own feelings behind.”


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Mar 17, 2018

Naomi dedicates her life to finding missing children. Once lost herself, she knows all too well the evil that lurks in the world. While searching for missing children in Oregon, Naomi begins to regain lost memories of her own dark past.

jabberbooky Nov 13, 2017

Compulsively readable!

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