Release date: January 22, 2019
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Narrator: Katherine Littrell
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…
There are a rare handful of books that when listened to in audio format are taken to the next level and The Nowhere Child is most certainly one of those books. The combination of an incredibly well thought out mystery and top notch narration made this one a must listen.
While the premise itself doesn’t sound all that original I can say that I’ve never seen it handled in the way the author did. This flips back and forth between past and present; in the present Kim learns that her mom may have actually been a kidnapper, and what’s worse is that she’s been dead for years so answers are not easy to come by and in the past you follow the Wendt family in the days leading up to Sammy’s disappearance and after she’s gone. Both past and present were equally enthralling, I found myself riveted no matter what chapter I was listening to. You know just from the blurb that Kim was indeed kidnapped, so there’s no surprise as to the what, but the fun lies in the who and the why. Throw in a crazy, cult like church which never fails to intrigue me and you have a great recipe for a highly original mystery.
The narrator is Australian and I’m a sucker for an accent, but she also pulled off a really well done American drawl without sounding contrived. She was just excellent and like I said earlier, she raised the stakes with impeccable delivery and a smooth voice that was hypnotic. Highly recommended for audio fans!
The Nowhere Child in three words: Nuanced, Seamless and Tense.
Overall rating: 5/5
Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.