The Child Finder By Rene Denefeld
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?
‘The Child Finder’ is an enchanting and eerie story that is reminiscent of Emma Donoghue’s novel called ‘Room’, a story of a young child being held captive.
In this story, we meet Naomi Cottle, a woman who is called ‘The Child Finder’, after successfully finding 30 children, she has called in to help find Madison Culver who disappeared months ago whilst out with her parents, one day. Determined not to give up on their only child, the parents call in Naomi and seek her help to find their daughter.
Naomi is no ordinary woman, her past is riddled with uncertainty, as she too was taken away from her parents before being given to a kind, elderly woman called Mrs Cottle, who took her in as a foster child along with a little boy called Jerome. She never knew her mother or even her real name, so finds it to be her duty to help reunite these children with their parents. She is an attuned and well skilled woman, who notices things that others fail and this makes her a unwanted newcomer to the small snow-covered town, who have already given up on finding the little girl. Her story is often told through past and present sequences, the various cases that she has worked on, to make her the investigator that she has become.
Meanwhile, the story is also cleverly written through the eyes of Madison, as she lives with her captor and does everything that she can to survive. Her inclusion in the tale, gives a sweet and innocent tone to the story, as she begins to grow up and wonder where her life will take her, whether she will see her parents again or is this life she is led to lead. Often, she disappears into favourite stories calling herself ‘The Snow Child’, a brave story of survival.
This story is atmospheric and chilling from the very start, seen through the eyes of the hunter and the hunted, it gives both angles an interesting slant. Set against the backdrop of snowy mountains and woods, I found this story to be gripping with the dual narrative as well as the perspective of Madison’s captor. A story of innocence and survival, ‘The Child Finder’ is a quietly, disturbing story that was impossible to put down.
You can buy The Child Finder from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.