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I cannot explain how ecstatic I am that this powerful novel is my first official book review on my blog. I love a good thriller but what elevates this above the rest with a similar trope is the prose and the intelligent way it delves into the psychology of both victims and abusers. It is blatantly obvious that Denfeld is a credible storyteller in regards to crime and the foster care system. I know there are quite a few missing children stories out there along with the usual return to hometown, solve mystery aspect. I know because I have read them and every once and a while I stumble on books that differentiate themselves from their shticks. The Child Finder, in my opinion, does just that. From the stunning imagery of snow capped Oregon to the fairy-tale, almost dreamlike, prose of such heavy issues, her characters and scenes will linger.
The Child finder follows Naomi, a once missing child herself, who is hired to find a young girl named Madison after she wandered off into the woods in Oregon. Her own history helps Naomi navigate the world of the missing. Madison just so happens to have gone missing in the area of her hometown forcing her to reconnect with a life and people she continues to run away from. This book is told in a couple different perspectives, some I found irrelevant and unnecessary but in no way did it hinder this novel.
Denfeld makes sure that you not only read the portrayals of the victims but experience them. I want to thank her for writing such a visceral captivating portrayal of both victims and abusers. This is an educational novel in my opinion as well as a thrilling one. What better way to understand victims than to read an accurate personal portrayal of one. Naomi herself who is still obviously reeling from her past uses what she has learned both from personal experience and training to help victims and their families. Throughout the book, there is dialogue that explains and justifies some of the coping mechanisms in a way that doesn’t feel force-fed or condescending. Denfeld trusts her readers to understand the scenes and characters decisions without becoming defensive.
The prose is stunning, a beautiful mixture of detail and action that gives the book a very natural rhythm. It’s an easy novel to fall into regardless of the heavy content. There were times I put the book down to just take a breath of relief and sometimes awe at the intelligence and the way Denfeld crafted her book.
Naomi is an amazing female protagonist that toes the line of strength and vulnerability without it being riddled with female stereotypes. And maybe I’ve been reading too many domestic thrillers lately, which trust me, I have but I was so happy to read some nice well rounded male characters.
Who will like this book? Everyone should but if you’re interested in the psychology of victims and abusers, thrillers, plots involving missing children, thrillers with romance, and heavy nature settings, you will enjoy this book. I should add a possible trigger warning for victims of rape or sexual abuse.
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