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. Read an excerpt of The Child Finder.
"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."
Denfeld's writing benefits from her own personal experience.
"Rene’s lyrical, beautiful writing is inspired by her work with sex trafficking victims and innocents in prison. Rene was the Chief Investigator at a public defender’s office and has worked hundreds of cases. In addition to her advocacy work, Rene has been a foster adoptive parent for twenty years. She will be awarded the Break The Silence Award at the 24th Annual Knock Out Abuse Gala in Washington, DC on November 2, 2017, in recognition for her advocacy and social justice work.
The child of a difficult history herself, Rene is an accomplished speaker who loves connecting with others. Rene lives in Portland, Oregon, where she is the happy mom of three kids adopted from foster care." You can connect with Rene on her website and follow her on Twitter.