'Her name is Sammy Went. This photo was taken on her second birthday. Three days later she was gone.'
On a break between teaching photography classes in Melbourne, Kim Leamy is approached by a stranger investigating the disappearance of a little girl from her Kentucky home twenty-eight years earlier. He believes Kim is that girl.
At first she brushes it off, but when Kim scratches the surface of her family history in Australia, questions arise that aren't easily answered. To find the truth, she must travel to Sammy's home of Manson, Kentucky, and into a dark past. As the mystery of Sammy's disappearance unravels and the town's secrets are revealed, this superb novel builds towards an electrifying climax.
Inspired by Gillian Flynn's frenetic suspense and Stephen King's masterful world-building, The Nowhere Child is a combustible tale of trauma, cult, conspiracy and memory. It is the remarkable debut of Christian White, an exhilarating new Australian talent.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
This fast-moving domestic thriller immediately stands out from the pack. Christian White’s audacious debut novel centres on the decades-old disappearance of a young girl in small-town Kentucky…who may or may not be a photography instructor named Kim Leamy in present-day Australia. White frames that clever hook with a noir tapestry of family drama that spans two eras and two continents. For all the book’s lean momentum, its backstories are remarkably fleshed-out, especially the portrait of a dwindling Pentecostal sect that revolves around snake-handling.
At the start of White's outstanding debut, American James Finn approaches Kim Leamy while she's taking a between-class break at the Melbourne, Australia, school where she teaches photography. Finn claims that Kim is Sammy Went, a child kidnapped from her Kentucky home at the age of two in 1990. Of course, Kim's initial reaction is that he's talking nonsense. As far as she knows, her family has always lived in Australia, and she has a birth certificate. But Finn who soon admits he's Sammy's elder brother, Stuart has reams of convincing documentation gleaned from decades of searching, including DNA proof. Kim/Sammy's first-person narrative as she and Stuart attempt to unearth details of her abduction alternates with a third-person omniscient account of the kidnapping and subsequent investigation. By juxtaposing past and present, the author keeps the tension high. The impatient may be tempted to skip ahead, but they shouldn't. Thriller fans will want to savor every crumb of evidence and catch every clue. White is definitely a writer to watch. Agents: Jennifer Naughton and Candice Thom, RGM.
Hard to put down
Binge read this over a weekend. Easy and enjoyable read.
Couldn’t put it down
I haven’t enjoyed a book this much in years. I couldn’t put it down and managed to finish it in a day. Highly recommend!
I read this within 3 days as I could not put it down. Absolutely great read and so many twists and turns.