cover image The Nowhere Child

The Nowhere Child

Christian White. Minotaur, $26.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-29371-8

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. (Jan.)