Rene Denfeld

The Child Finder

"The Child Finder’ is a remarkable and emotional novel..."


Naomi Cottle finds missing children. When the police have given up their search and an investigation stalls, families call her. She possesses a rare, intuitive sense, born out of her own experience, that allows her to succeed when others have failed.

Young Madison Culver has been missing for three years. She vanished on a family trip to the mountainous forests of Oregon, where they'd gone to cut down a tree for Christmas. Soon after she disappeared, blizzards swept the region and the authorities presumed she died from exposure.

But Naomi knows that Madison isn't dead. As she relentlessly pursues the truth behind Madison's disappearance, shards of a dark dream pierce defences that have protected her for so long. If she finds this child, will Naomi ultimately unlock the secrets of her own life?

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‘The Child Finder’ is a highly emotionally charged novel. Denfeld deals with the delicate situation of the disappearance of a child with delicacy and care. Never during her novel does the situation feel sensationalised purely to keep the plot moving. This book is not an easy read due to the subject matter, however it is definitely one that grips like a vicious snow storm, blinding you to the path Denfeld leads you down. There are poetical moments in the book as Denfeld weaves faery tales with reality purely to make what is happening slightly removed as the ‘snow girl’ deals with the volatile situation she finds herself in. The author sets the scene perfectly, with the snow becoming almost like a cast of the characters and the snow child having an ethereal feel to proceedings. The most poignant part relates to the child finder herself, Naomi Cottle who has large parts of her childhood missing before she found refuge with Mrs Cottle and Jerome. This fragile threesome is dealt with subtlety, Naomi feeling torn between wanting to show her emotions, but too damaged to give them free rein. Denfeld is credited with working with death row inmates as an investigator and as a foster mum, meaning the subject matter of her book plays to her strengths with her depth of knowledge and experience. This is a difficult review to write as to even suggest anything would give away Denfeld’s beautifully crafted novel. All I will say is that Denfeld’s sleight of hand is breath-taking and heart-breaking in equal measure and shows how the cycle of damage to the innocent can affect everyone. ‘The Child Finder’ is a remarkable and emotional novel that will have you thinking about it long after turning the last page.

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