The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld – Book Review

The Child Finder

by Rene Denfeld


Blurb: Three years ago, Madison Culver disappeared when 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 beloved daughter, certain someone took her, the Culvers turn to Naomi, a private investigator with an uncanny talent for locating the lost and missing. Known to the police and a select group of parents as The Child Finder, Naomi is their last hope.

Naomi’s methodical search takes her deep into the icy, mysterious forest in the Pacific Northwest, and into her own fragmented past. She understands children like Madison because once upon a time, she was a lost girl too.

As Naomi relentlessly pursues and slowly uncovers the truth behind Madison’s disappearance, shards of a dark dream pierce the defenses that have protected her, reminding her of a terrible loss she feels but cannot remember. If she finds Madison, will Naomi ultimately unlock the secrets of her own life?


My Review:

After witnessing many friends rate and review this book so highly, I had to read it! I was lucky enough to be the first in line for it at my library.

The story begins with Madison, a young girl who is in search for the perfect Christmas tree alongside her parents in Oregon’s Skookum National Forest. She’s only five-years-old and suddenly disappears. Her parents are distraught and search teams have come up with nothing. Madison’s parents find Naomi,  a private investigator with an interest in child finding. It’s been three years and Madison is now eight-years-old if she’s still out there. Her parents are desperate, having trouble in their marriage, and cannot move on until they know what happened to Madison and whether or not she’s still alive.

Madison Culver is a five-year-old girl. Her parents say she likes reading, writing, and going for nature walks. She was excited to get a Christmas tree. 

As Naomi begins to search, her own past comes into light and readers learn that Naomi was once a lost child too. The book flips back and forth between Naomi’s past and the present search for Madison and also another case, a missing baby.

In the dream it was night and she was again a naked child running across a dark field. She was ageless, shedding her name and false self the way she had shed her clothes. The fields were wet and black and sticky. her feet were churning, her naked knees rising, and she could feel the wind in her hair, on her cheek, and around her helpless, clutching hands. 

It took me forever to get into this book and I just couldn’t get used to the format and writing. When I first started reading it, I thought it was going to be so awesome. I liked all of the characters, but I wasn’t sure about how I felt about the story switching back to Naomi’s past.  Learning about Naomi’s foster mom and the love she instilled in her after she’d been found was heartwarming and fills you with hope, but I just couldn’t connect with it, and for some odd reason it felt out of place and seemed like the details were lacking. I felt the same with her relationship with Jerome. I liked the interaction between Naomi, Detective Winfield, and Ranger Dave, but it felt a tad underdeveloped to me as well, although I still enjoyed it.

As the story continued, I found it moving and even poetic. This book was definitely haunting and hard to read at times, but for me, this wasn’t a thriller until page 240. At that point, it was a race to the end. I’m really hoping for a second book to see if Naomi will solve her own mysteries and I’m definitely looking forward to reading more from this author.

I did enjoy this and my rating on it is 4 stars.


Find this book on Amazon and Goodreads

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (September 5, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062659057
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062659057

About the Author:

Rene Denfeld


Rene Denfeld is the bestselling author of THE ENCHANTED and THE CHILD FINDER. Her lyrical fiction has won numerous awards including the prestigious French Prix, an ALA Medal for Excellence and an IMPAC listing. In addition to writing, Rene works as a licensed investigator. She has worked hundreds of cases, including missing persons, and was the Chief Investigator at the public defender’s office. The child of a difficult history herself, Rene has dedicated her life to helping others. She has been a foster-adoptive parent for 20 years, and is the happy mother to three children she adopted from foster care. -Goodreads

Find Rene Denfeld @

Amazon | Goodreads | Website

Some other books by this author:

Thanks for reading my review of The Child Finder. Have you read this book or do you plan to? What do you think about this author?

14 thoughts on “The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld – Book Review

  1. David R. Dowdy

    Perspectives on detectives doing their work is interesting! Also, great premise for a story as detectives must put themselves inside the victim and perpetrator to solve the crime.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve also come across this book quite a lot but I am not sure the slow start is for me… page 240 for the thriller to kick in seems a bit too much work for me at the moment and I know I sound horrible saying this… then again, I realize that if this is going to be a series, one can’t give away all the secrets straight away 🙂 Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

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