Rene Denfeld - The Child Finder (Corte Madera)

Thursday, September 7, 2017 - 7:30pm

2017 Mystery Writers Conference Opening Night Event

Please note: this event is free & open to the public. Priority seating for all Mystery Writers Conference attendees.

Rene Denfeld’s exquisitely-wrought second novel, The Child Finder, is a compelling, atmospheric literary page-turner centered on Naomi, an unforgettable young woman with an extraordinary talent: locating missing children. Denfeld, whose award-winning debut, The Enchanted, was hailed as “a stunning first novel from an already accomplished writer” (Publishers Weekly), takes readers to dark places—both the remote forest primeval of the Pacific Northwest where a child has disappeared, presumed dead, and into Naomi’s own murky past, where the seeds of her singular gifts were planted. As the at-once elegant and disquieting narrative unfolds, the alternating perspectives of Naomi and a deeply imaginative child reveal its surprising truths.

Naomi has found thirty children—but not all of them alive. In her current case, she has been hired by the family of Madison Culver, who went missing three years before while her family searched for a Christmas tree in the wilds of Skookum National Forest. It seems highly unlikely that Madison survived the harsh winter terrain—unless she was abducted—and Naomi offers her parents little hope, even as she keeps it kindled in her own heart. As she scours the mysterious forest and the secrets of its reclusive denizens, Naomi is determined to find what happened to the missing girl. Though she generally only takes on one case at a time, Naomi is drawn in and takes on another—finding a baby who has vanished while in the care of its mentally-challenged mother. Both disappearances reveal hidden truths for Naomi, with her uncanny ability to inhabit her victims’ worlds.

Her own childhood experience, which she wrote about with great poignancy for the New York Times, informs this new work: “I went on to become a journalist and to adopt three kids from foster care. I took a day job, working as a death penalty investigator. I am hired by the lawyers representing men and women facing execution to examine their backgrounds in hopes of persuading a judge or jury to extend them mercy. It is the gift of my history that I can understand these people and their families. I can see their humanity even as I witness the harm they have done to others, and the harm done to them.”

Denfeld’s first novel, The Enchanted, won numerous honors, including the prestigious French Prix, an ALA Medal for Excellence in Fiction, and Book of the Year from The Oregonian. She has written for The New York Times Magazine, The Oregonian, and the Philadelphia Inquirer and is also the author of The New Victorians: A Young Woman’s Challenge to the Old Feminist Order, Kill The Body, The Head Will Fall, and All God’s Children: Inside the Dark and Violent World of Street Families. Rene lives in Portland, Oregon. 


51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925
The Child Finder Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062659057
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - September 5th, 2017

A haunting, richly atmospheric, and deeply suspenseful novel from the acclaimed author of The Enchanted about an investigator who must use her unique insights to find a missing little girl.

"Where are you, Madison Culver? Flying with the angels, a silver speck on a wing? Are you dreaming, buried under snow? Or--is it possible--you are still alive?"