The Nowhere Child: Book summary and reviews of The Nowhere Child by Christian White

The Nowhere Child

by Christian White

The Nowhere Child by Christian White X
The Nowhere Child by Christian White
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  • Publishes in USA 
    Jan 22, 2019
    384 pages
    Genre: Thrillers

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Book Summary

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…

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. [An] outstanding debut. 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." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. White's tightly woven debut thriller has already won the Victorian Premier Literary Award in Australia; its arrival Stateside comes highly recommended." - Library Journal

"In this debut, the author tries to build tension, but everything from lazy writing (one person 'chortled' - who ever chortles?) to the constant back-and-forth chapters defeats that goal. By the end of all the melodramatic twists, readers will have a hard time sustaining any interest in the protagonist, her relations, or her revelations." - Kirkus

"White has written a 'returning-to-your-southern-roots' tale with a difference; Kim is exploring roots she never knew she had, and the journey is as bumpy and fraught with bewildered feelings as readers might imagine. This worthwhile story of a woman's quest for the truth will work with women's-fiction readers as well as mystery fans."- Booklist

"The Nowhere Child is the personification of a high-concept thriller, brilliantly executed. White raises the bar on psychological suspense, telling Kim Leamy's tale in a stylish voice and with a heart-pounding pace. Read page one, and you won't stop. Guaranteed." - Jeffery Deaver, New York Times bestselling author

"The Nowhere Child is compelling and intense. The alternating chapters between past and present are perfectly paced and masterfully written to maximize suspense and lead us down a path of love, hate, redemption, and - ultimately - hope. I literally could not put this book down until I turned the last page. The best debut novel I've read in years." - Allison Brennan, New York Times bestselling author of the Lucy Kincaid and Max Revere series

"The Nowhere Child is pure dynamite. The high concept premise grabbed me from the first page and refused to let me go until I finished. You may try to read it slowly, so you can savor every single word, but the story is so all-encompassing - the need to know what happens next so urgent - you'll forget all about savoring and find yourself tearing through the pages as fast as your fingers can manage. You do not want to miss this book!" - Linda Castillo, New York Times bestselling author of the Kate Burkholder series

"The Nowhere Child is a well-written thriller that avoids the clichés of the genre. The characters are interesting and believable and the book kept me reading up to the satisfying conclusion." - Phillip Margolin, New York Times bestselling author of The Third Victim

"An impressive debut novel, deftly plotted, constantly shifting and full of vivid characters." - Garry Disher, author of the Inspector Challis mysteries

"White skillfully builds an uncertain, noxious world of dysfunctional families and small-town secrets. The Nowhere Child is a gripping debut from an exceptional new talent." - Mark Brandi, Crime Writers' Association Debut Dagger Award Winning author of Wimmera

"Such a clever idea, which grips from the very first chapter." - Ragnar Jonasson, author of Snowblind

"Beautifully written, perfectly suspenseful and wonderfully dark. I could not put this book down."- Susi Holliday, author of The Deaths of December

"Packed with tension, twists and tremendous pace, it's hard to believe that this is the work of a debut author. The Nowhere Child is stunning and flawless. I can't recommend it enough." - Thomas Enger, author of Burned

"The Nowhere Child is a fabulous read, populated by such well-drawn and identifiable characters that I felt I knew them. I was desperate to know how the story unfolded. Brilliant!" - Louise Voss, author of From the Cradle

"The Nowhere Child is a well-written thriller that avoids the clichés of the genre. The characters are interesting and believable and the book kept me reading up to the satisfying conclusion." - Phillip Margolin, New York Times bestselling author of The Third Victim

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Reader Reviews

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Cloggie Downunder

A very impressive debut novel.
The Nowhere Child is the first novel by award-winning Australian author, Christian White. In early 1990, two-year-old Sammy Went is abducted from her home in Manson, Kentucky, in broad daylight. Despite extensive searches and a thorough investigation, no trace of her was ever found. Twenty-eight years later, Melbourne photography teacher, Kimberly Leamy is approached by an American man who shows her a photograph of Sammy Went. The photo shows that Sammy bears a striking resemblance to two-year-old Kim. He claims to believe that Kim is Sammy Went.

Naturally, Kim dismisses the idea: no way her now-deceased mother, Carol Leamy could ever have kidnapped a child. But the idea persists in her head; the American shows her proof, and when Kim confronts her step-father, the expected denial does not come. It’s enough to spur Kim into travelling to Kentucky, back to the town where it all happened.

As a tragic event often will, Sammy’s kidnapping fractured the already strained Went family irreparably. The town of Manson, too, felt the upheaval that such an event can cause. When Kim arrives there, her presence, and the possibility that she really is the long-lost Sammy Went, once again spreads unrest amongst certain members of the community: several had dark secrets and not everyone told all they knew back then.

White’s initial premise is a fascinating one: to imagine that you are not who you have always believed yourself to be, what emotions must that stir up? For those you have, all your life, considered family, and for those who believe you form part of their family, what a disruption of everything they know! Then, to make things even more interesting, White throws in a gay father and a mother deeply ensconced in a fundamentalist church. Plenty of twists and quite a few red herrings will keep the reader guessing right up to a very dramatic climax. A very impressive debut novel.

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Author Information

Christian White

Christian White is an internationally bestselling and award-winning Australian author and screenwriter. His debut novel, The Nowhere Child, won the 2017 Victorian Premier's Literary Award. He is currently in development with Matchbox Pictures on a new television series which he co-created, inspired by his script One Year Later, winner of the 2013 Australian Writers Guild 'Think Inside The Box' competition. His films have been shown at film festivals around the world. He lives in Melbourne with his wife and their greyhound.

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