The Child Finder by Rene Denfield

I’ve seen this book literally everywhere and it has been getting rave reviews. A lot of people who know my taste in mysteries and thrillers have been recommending it to me so I decided to give it a shot. Here is my review:

Madison Culver disappeared when she was 5 years old, as 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 daughter, the Culvers turn to Naomi, a private investigator who specializes in locating lost and missing children. Known to the police and a select group of parents as The Child Finder, Naomi is their last hope. Naomi’s search takes her deep into the icy, mysterious forest, and into her own fragmented past. She understands children like Madison because once upon a time, she was a lost girl too. As Naomi continues her pursuit, her discovery of the truth behind Madison’s disappearance uncovers her own nightmares, reminding her of a terrible loss she feels but cannot remember. By finding Madison, will Naomi ultimately unlock the secrets of her own life?

This novel messed me up in a good way. In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have started it at midnight and finished it in one go, but it was too good to stop! The novel is told mainly from 2 perspectives: Naomi and Madison. Both have their own unique voice, and both made me cry. Naomi has a quiet personality but it is clear both from the author’s depictions and from the way the character acts that she is haunted by her past. Madison is an unbelievably strong and resilient character whose journey is incredibly painful to witness. My heart went out to both of these characters. I think that the author did a fantastic job in showing the cyclic nature of abuse and the trauma that can continue to haunt a person for the rest of their life. This was such a complex novel and it forces the reader to feel every emotion being described. Powerful does not begin to describe this story. My one criticism (and this actually did not ruin the story for me) was that this was more psychological than it was investigative. Naomi’s tracking of Madison was secondary and there really wasn’t much searching going on; everything was just conveniently laid there. But the characters, writing style, and message of the story more than make up for this. This is definitely one of my favorite books out there and I’m so glad I read it. 5/5 stars from me.

Happy reading ~

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