“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.”
— Rene Denfeld, The Child Finder
Every once in a while you’ll come across a novel that’ll succeed in doing the impossible. For me, Rene Denfeld’s latest novel The Child Finder does exactly that. After her successful and mesmerizing debut novel The Enchanted, she now continues to tackle similar themes through a mystery thriller like none other. There are subjects in life that will always remain grim and unbearable, but then there are authors out there with a never-before-seen skill with words who will find ways to charm and maintain a relentless grip on you while tackling some of the darkest and most painful incidents that could occur in the lives of some. The Child Finder is my first sighting of a book that harmoniously brings together the beautiful and the horrible this year. Through raw and magical writing, Rene Denfeld offers us a hypnotizing look into what entrapment, survival and redemption is all about. There’s nothing pretty in the world that she disentangles for us, yet she still somehow manages to tinge this story with warmth, light and hope. This is a story that strives in showcasing the very foundation of human survival.
The Child Finder is the story of Naomi and Madison. Three years ago, Madison Culver, an innocent little girl of the age of five with a love for the open world and for the written word, goes missing. Desperate to find their daughter, her parents decide to call upon Naomi, a private inspector specialized in cases regarding lost and missing children. Nicknamed “the child finder”, Naomi is their last resort to find their child who should have turned eight years old by now, if of course she’s still alive after all these years. The story brings you to the icy cold regions in the Pacific Northwest and uses this white, wide and mysterious environment to amplify the lyrical prose that Rene Denfeld offers her readers. Told through two different point of views, Naomi and Madison, she succeeds in conveying amazing development in both of her main characters and dives deep into their minds as they fight to survive their own troubles and seek answers wherever they can find them. If there’s one thing you’ll see through this mystery it is the power of belief and what we are capable of doing during dark times in order to survive and move forward. On one hand, while Naomi finds solace in locating missing children and being a beacon of hope for countless parents, this particular cases also serves her as a quest to her purpose in life. On the other hand, Madison seeks comfort in the fairy tales that she once read and loved to keep her head up.
There are a couple of themes that are thoroughly explored in The Child Finder, but entrapment and survival are some that will strike you first. Rene Denfeld’s prose will easily sweep you off your feet and transport you through dark places while embellishing your whole being with bright white hope. Although both Naomi and Madison will seem like completely unrelated and different people, this story will effortlessly draw parallels and disclose similarities far bigger than themselves. What I loved most is that the story scrutinizes the idea of entrapment in both its physical and emotional forms. The depth that Rene Denfeld brings to the table in this thriller elevates this book to a whole new level. She also flourishes in sleekly highlighting the good in the bad throughout her story, especially regarding certain key characters. The Child Finder is far from being your typical story of an investigator looking for a lost child. This is a story that looks beyond the obvious and offers us a story where reality and fiction collides and enlightens us of the existence of light even in the darkest holes of the universe.
The Child Finder is one of the most captivating page-turner mystery thriller out there. It is not structured like any other novel and it doesn’t deliver its story like any other novel. Rene Denfeld’s unique and breath-taking writing will keep you hooked from cover to cover, and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. The Child Finder is a story that should be experienced by every one. While it does have some elements that could merit some trigger warning, I personally found that the author did an exceptional job in integrating and tackling them without ever making it feel too naked and traumatizing. In fact, Rene Denfeld hides the impact by making it more poetic and lyrical, yet still keeping its emotional impact at its maximum. That is why I enjoyed this book so much. Her writing style permits her to tell a tantalizing story by making it melodic and mysterious all at the same time. It’s how she makes this story feel like fiction yet at the same time close to reality that simply blows my mind. Her integration of fairy tales and their crucial role for escapism also enhances the whole mystery and simply makes The Child Finder an inevitable, beautiful and chilling snowflake that everyone should acquaint themselves with.
THANK YOU TO HARPER COLLINS CANADA FOR SENDING ME AN ADVANCE COPY FOR REVIEW!
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MY OVERALL RATING: ★★★★★/