Naomi Cottle

Created by Rene Denfeld

“Hope was a beautiful thing, Naomi thought.”
The Child Finder

Egnigmatic, peculiar NAOMI COTTLE is a young private investigator with an almost supernatural knack for finding lost children. She’s a determined and dogged detective, singlemindedly obsessive and willing to spend years on a case, if necessary, sleeping on friend’s or client’s couches or in her car, crossing back and forth across the country. Whatever it takes.

She made her debut in the intense and disturbing The Child Finder (2017), but by its sequel, The Butterfly Girl (2019),she’s made a promise to herself that she’s not taking on any more cases until she finds her own younger sister, who disappeared years ago. But it may be the hardest case of all — she has no picture of her sister, and doesn’t even know her name. All she has is fuzzy memories of a running through a strawberry field at night, afraid for her life.

Naomi and her sister, you see, were once lost children themselves.

It’s complicated.

But Naomi’s quest is interrupted often — despite her best efforts, she’s tortured by the thought of children in danger, in a haunting and gut-wrenching series (two books so far) by Rene Denfield, that fully captures the relentless emotional toil looking for the lost can take on those who give a damn. Although, personally, I could do without the often overwritten and overwrought, if convenient, dream sequences…

And Denfeld ought to know. She’s a licensed private investigator living in Portland, Oregon, and served as the Chief Investigator at a public defender’s officeworking hundreds of cases. She was awarded the Break The Silence Award in Washington, DC in 2017 for her social justice work, and was also named a hero of the year by the New York Times. She’s also an award-winning author of several fiction and nonfiction books. Her dark fantasy novel, The Enchanted (2014), received the Prix du Premier Roman Étranger in France, and her work on cognitively impaired parents for the New York Times Magazine is considered seminal in the field. She has written for many esteemed publications, including the New York Times Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Oregonian.

By the way, America, Rene is a man’s name…



  • “It’s Deliverance encased in ice… Denfeld’s novel is indeed loaded with suspense, its resonance comes from its surprising tilt towards storytelling restraint, a rarity in this typical crackling genre. Elegiac, informative and disquieting… The novel gallops to a suitably heart-racing finish.”
    — New York Times Book Review onThe Child Finder
  • “Intense…. Innovative… Heartbreaking, surprising…. The conclusion will leave readers breathless.”
    — Publishers Weekly on The Child Finder
  • “…a heartbreaking, finger-gnawing, yet ultimately hopeful novel.”
    — Margaret Atwood on The Butterfly Girl


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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