“A nervy, soulful, genuinely surprising it-could-happen-to-you thriller — a book to make you peer over your shoulder for days afterwards.”—A.J. Finn, New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window
Winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award, The Nowhere Child is screenwriter Christian White’s internationally bestselling debut thriller of psychological suspense about a woman uncovering devastating secrets about her family—and her very identity…
Kimberly Leamy is a photography teacher in Melbourne, Australia. Twenty-six years earlier, Sammy Went, a two-year old girl vanished from her home in Manson, Kentucky. An American accountant who contacts Kim is convinced she was that child, kidnapped just after her birthday. She cannot believe the woman who raised her, a loving social worker who died of cancer four years ago, crossed international lines to steal a toddler.
On April 3rd, 1990, Jack and Molly Went’s daughter Sammy disappeared from the inside their Kentucky home. Already estranged since the girl’s birth, the couple drifted further apart as time passed. Jack did his best to raise and protect his other daughter and son while Molly found solace in her faith. The Church of the Light Within, a Pentecostal fundamentalist group who handle poisonous snakes as part of their worship, provided that faith. Without Sammy, the Wents eventually fell apart.
Now, with proof that she and Sammy are in fact the same person, Kim travels to America to reunite with a family she never knew she had. And to solve the mystery of her abduction—a mystery that will take her deep into the dark heart of religious fanaticism where she must fight for her life against those determined to save her soul…
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.