The Nowhere Child
‘Her name is Sammy Went. This photo was taken on her second birthday. Three days later she was gone.’On a break between teaching photography classes, Kim Leamy is approached by a stranger investigating the disappearance of a little girl from her Kentucky home twenty-eight years earlier. He believes she is that girl.At first Kim brushes it off, but when she scratches the surface of her family background in Australia, questions arise that aren’t easily answered. To find the truth, she must travel to Sammy’s home of Manson, Kentucky, and into a dark past. As the mystery unravels and the town’s secrets are revealed, this superb novel builds towards a tense, terrifying, and entirely unexpected climax.Inspired by Gillian Flynn’s frenetic suspense and Stephen King’s masterful world-building, The Nowhere Child is a combustible tale of trauma, cult, conspiracy and memory. It is the remarkable debut of Christian White, an exhilarating new Australian talent attracting worldwide attention.

The Nowhere Child Details

TitleThe Nowhere Child
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 26th, 2018
PublisherAffirm Press
ISBN-139781925584523
Rating
GenreMystery, Fiction, Crime

The Nowhere Child Review

  • Brenda
    January 1, 1970
    Two-year-old Sammy Went lived with her mother and father, sister Emma and brother Stuart – three days after her second birthday, Sammy vanished. Even with the dedicated search which went for weeks; the police called from areas surrounding the small town of Manson, Kentucky; Sammy was never seen again – the case was never solved.Twenty-eight years later, in Melbourne, Australia, Kim Leamy was enjoying a break from her classes when a stranger approached her. In that instant Kim’s life changed and Two-year-old Sammy Went lived with her mother and father, sister Emma and brother Stuart – three days after her second birthday, Sammy vanished. Even with the dedicated search which went for weeks; the police called from areas surrounding the small town of Manson, Kentucky; Sammy was never seen again – the case was never solved.Twenty-eight years later, in Melbourne, Australia, Kim Leamy was enjoying a break from her classes when a stranger approached her. In that instant Kim’s life changed and everything she’d believed about herself and her family were shattered. Questions she asked of her step-father couldn’t be answered to Kim’s satisfaction; her mother had passed away four years previously, so Kim couldn’t ask her anything. So Kim decided on the only thing she could think of – she boarded a plane for the United States, and Manson in Kentucky, hoping for answers.But the past was a dark place with many secrets. Perhaps it would be better if Kim went back to Australia – forgot the last few weeks? But she couldn’t. Kim knew there was something; she knew she needed to know to be able to find a measure of peace once again…Well wow! I didn’t see THAT twist coming!!! The Nowhere Child is Aussie author Christian White’s debut novel and absolutely ticks all the boxes of a psychological thriller! With its chapters alternating between "then" and "now", The Nowhere Child is littered with a cult, evil, innocence and a harrowing loss. Well-written characters and an intriguing plot make this exceptional read one I highly recommend – and I’ll be looking out for White’s next novel.With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my digital ARC to read and review.
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  •  Li'l Owl
    January 1, 1970
    A sensational, terrifying psychological thriller! A stunning debut!! He stared at me with a pinched, curious expression. 'I'm here because I believe you're... connected to all this.''Connected to the abduction of a two-year-old girl?' I laughed. 'Don't tell me you came all the way from the States to accuse me of kidnap?''You misunderstand,' he said. 'This little girl disappeared on April 3rd, 1990. She's been missing for twenty-eight years. I don't think you kidnapped Sammy Went. I think you are A sensational, terrifying psychological thriller! A stunning debut!! He stared at me with a pinched, curious expression. 'I'm here because I believe you're... connected to all this.''Connected to the abduction of a two-year-old girl?' I laughed. 'Don't tell me you came all the way from the States to accuse me of kidnap?''You misunderstand,' he said. 'This little girl disappeared on April 3rd, 1990. She's been missing for twenty-eight years. I don't think you kidnapped Sammy Went. I think you are Sammy Went.'******The Nowhere Child by Christian White is an exciting, terrifying psychological thriller! It caught my attention right from the start and had me quickly turning the pages non stop all the way to the shocking conclusion!  Following a surprise visit from a man with a seemingly absurd possibility, Kim's world begins to crumble. As the pieces of what happened twenty-years ago start falling into place, the pace of the thrill kicks into a higher gear and I couldn't read the words on the pages fast enough!! As the conclusion to the story approaches, the terrifying events had my adrenaline flowing full force! Still, despite my shaking hands and shallow breathing, I continued on. What happened next left me completely stunned! If this is what Christian White turns out in his debut novel, I can't wait to see what he has in store for us next! ******Warning! If you have Ophidiophobia, a fear of snakes.... DO NOT READ THIS BOOK.
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  • Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    *https://mrsbbookreviews.wordpress.com4.5 starsThe Nowhere Child, the debut novel written by new Australian writer Christian White, appeared to be the perfect choice to help me fulfil my book bingo 2018 challenge with the square, ‘a prize winning book’. In 2017, The Nowhere Child (with the working title Decay Theory) collected the coveted Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript. This is good news for author Christian White, who has since gained a publishing deal and will *https://mrsbbookreviews.wordpress.com4.5 starsThe Nowhere Child, the debut novel written by new Australian writer Christian White, appeared to be the perfect choice to help me fulfil my book bingo 2018 challenge with the square, ‘a prize winning book’. In 2017, The Nowhere Child (with the working title Decay Theory) collected the coveted Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript. This is good news for author Christian White, who has since gained a publishing deal and will see his book published in 15 other countries. It is what every new author dreams of and I can see why success has come to Christian White, his first novel is pretty amazing.‘Who took Sammy Went?’ is the addictive tagline of The Nowhere Child. The Nowhere Child introduces the character of Kim Leamy, an ordinary woman from Melbourne, who spends her time teaching photography classes. One day Kim’s world is rocked by the revelation of a stranger who comes into her life. This stranger has come all the way to Melbourne, from Kentucky in the US. He is convinced that Kim is actually Sammy Went, a little girl who was tragically taken from her home based in Manson, Kentucky, over twenty eight years ago and has not been seen since. The concept seems utterly unfathomable to Kim to begin with, then, as Kim starts to delve into her own family history in Australia, cracks begin to show. Kim feels compelled to seek the truth to her background and decides to make the trek to the other side of the world, to Kentucky. In the small town of Manson, Kim begins to excavate Sammy’s dark past and in the process, some very surprising secrets are revealed. Christian White’s addictive first novel ties together a complex family drama with religion, old wounds, collusion and recollection.Christian White proves that yes he is new on the writer’s block, but he should not be overlooked. I do anticipate great things ahead for this fresh new talent. The Nowhere Child is an original novel that takes a standard kidnapping story somewhere else. This book quite literally blew me away! Unexpected is the best singular word I can use to describe this compelling new title.What initially presents itself as kidnapping crime mystery novel morphs into something much, much more. I was absorbed in Kim come Sammy’s journey from the very start of this novel, until the closing moments. White has the skills to draw you into his novel and I enjoyed the wild ride. I liked the structure of The Nowhere Child, it alternates between the present day and almost thirty years ago. It is a clever way to draw readers in. It also worked well to heighten the creepy mystery element of the book.White is skilled in recreating his two different settings for his readership. In The Nowhere Child, we are presented with two vastly different locales in which the action of the novel is based. White takes his time to illuminate present day Melbourne, along with an assured setting description of Manson, Kentucky. Both these locations seem to bounce off each other in just the right way, so what remains is a highly evocative composition of place. I felt like I was situated in the here and now at many points of this book with Kim/Sammy, as well as the other characters of this novel.The character study of Kim/Sammy was everything I would expect and more from a book of this nature. The book is centrally about Kim and her journey to discover her roots and that’s what we get, all wrapped up in a finely tuned package. Although I am slightly older than Kim, I could still place myself in her predicament and consider how I would personally respond to being placed in her situation. It was heartbreaking, perplexing and scary. White taps into our human fears and our gut instincts with this line of his novel. The periphery characters are well rendered in The Nowhere Child and there is a sense that each has a vital role to play in the overall proceedings of the novel. There were a few times in the past storyline where I was confused by who was who and what part they had to play in Sammy’s disappearance. This is a minor glitch only and may be more about my concentration level at the time of reading this novel.Now a short discussion onto the very different direction White took with this novel. The Nowhere Child represents a kidnapping tale and it is about Kim retracing her steps to uncover the clues to help her understand her past. But there is a significant direction shift in The Nowhere Child and it involves cults and organised religions. I have read a book earlier this year, another thriller based on kidnapping, that explored the role of religious organisations in the abduction of a young girl. White handled this aspect with a completely different angle, he includes some very enlightening information on a particular religious order that uses snakes as part of their practices. It was utterly terrifying, so if you have a fear of snakes in any form, be warned! However, I will say that White performs well in this aspect of his novel, it comes across as well researched and completely plausible.When we reach the end of the line with Kim/Sammy, it is hard not to reflect on what a hard road travelled this journey has been. It is a fraught path, filled with moments of confusion, earth shattering revelations, despair, betrayal and eventual semblance. The Nowhere Child was a quick read (two sittings) which I encourage crime/thriller enthusiasts to put to the top of their readings lists.
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  • Charlotte Annelise
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 starsI was initially interested in reading The Nowhere Child because it won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. It has a great premise that immediately made me want to know more. The concept of someone coming to you saying that you could be a missing child from another country is very creepy yet interesting.  The main character is Kim, the woman who has been told that she is really Sammy Went. I found her character to be sympathetic; however, the other characters that are introduced beco 2.5 starsI was initially interested in reading The Nowhere Child because it won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. It has a great premise that immediately made me want to know more. The concept of someone coming to you saying that you could be a missing child from another country is very creepy yet interesting.  The main character is Kim, the woman who has been told that she is really Sammy Went. I found her character to be sympathetic; however, the other characters that are introduced become a bit more interesting. Although this is the case, I preferred reading the novel from Kim's perspective. There were a lot of characters in the parts set in the past, which, at times, made it difficult to read. Kim was fleshed out well and I connected with her internal struggles about her family because they really made sense. This novel is set in both Australia and the United States. This was really cool and I enjoyed reading from both locations. I could easily get a sense that each place had diverse cultures, making it obvious about where we were reading. The two different countries is a great strength that the novel has because it makes the fact that Kim was from a diverse place (Australia) more mysterious. The characters treat her like what she is, a foreigner, and this shows how out of touch she is about life in Manson. Another aspect of the book that I thought was fascinating was the cult that is present in the small town of Manson. It provided an unsettling quality to the book, as I am sure that everyone is creeped out by cults. The cult in Manson involves snakes, and it is something that the Went family have different opinions on. Something weak about the novel was its writing. It didn't pull me in, even though the premise was really great. I also felt like the plot twist was both unsurprising and unrealistic. I guessed it halfway through. It wasn't overly shocking and there were plenty of hints that gave it away. There was also one aspect of the big reveal that I couldn't really wrap my head around, but I guess it is possible. The readers also never quite question whether Kim is Sammy or not - we basically find out straight away.  The Nowhere Child has a unique premise, but the story is let down by its underwhelming plot twist. I would still recommend it to those who like a good mystery that include two cool settings. Thank you to Affirm Press for the advanced reader copy that I received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Vanessa
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars! I thoroughly enjoyed this story, much more than I thought I would. The alternating of the past and present stories set in both Melbourne and the US were equally as engaging and the way the author threaded them together was quite amazing. The ending was well executed and I was literally taken by surprise. The author did a great job of moving the story forward at a decent pace to keep you wanting more. I almost forgot the author was male as he did get his female characters down pat. To 4.5 stars! I thoroughly enjoyed this story, much more than I thought I would. The alternating of the past and present stories set in both Melbourne and the US were equally as engaging and the way the author threaded them together was quite amazing. The ending was well executed and I was literally taken by surprise. The author did a great job of moving the story forward at a decent pace to keep you wanting more. I almost forgot the author was male as he did get his female characters down pat. To find out this book is Christian White’s debut is impressive and he will definitely be a name to look out for in future.Thanks to NetGalley and Hatchette Australia for my review copy.
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  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    ‘Her name is Sammy Went. This photo was taken on her second birthday. Three days later she was gone.’Kidnapping and abductions of children happen more than we would like to think about. But while crimes such as murder are dime a dozen in fiction, after reading this gripping and taut family thriller I can only wonder why we don't have more books with child disappearances as it's main theme.Kim Leary has a content life working as a photography teacher in Melbourne and with a loving family, everyth ‘Her name is Sammy Went. This photo was taken on her second birthday. Three days later she was gone.’Kidnapping and abductions of children happen more than we would like to think about. But while crimes such as murder are dime a dozen in fiction, after reading this gripping and taut family thriller I can only wonder why we don't have more books with child disappearances as it's main theme.Kim Leary has a content life working as a photography teacher in Melbourne and with a loving family, everything seems well. But when she is approached by an American man during a break in class she will have the wind completely knocked out of her when he tells her about a two-year-old child who went missing in Manson, Kentucky, twenty-eight years ago. The man is convinced Kim is, in fact, the child Sally Went, and after another meeting identifies himself as her older brother Stuart.This rocks Kim to her core as after confronting her disbelieving younger sister Amy and her father Dean, who with his wife now passed does not deny her abduction but doesn't say by who and why. This is not good enough for Kim as she makes the conscious decision to go to America for answers. What she will discover is a family at breaking point thanks to her mother Molly's attending the Church of the Light Within that is controversial with its use of Rattle Snakes and rituals it performs to the rid the devil from children. Manson is a small town dominated by suspicion and mistrust and Kim's family will be caught in the middle of religious faith and those that fight against it.Often while reading I thought to myself if this was me in that situation what would I do. Would I want to go all in trying to find the truth knowing full well I will never be the same person again, or will I choose to ignore, not wanting to rock the boat of my life the way it is? Kim's reactions to what is a complicated and tragic set of events are believable for what they are even if I am not sure I would come to the same conclusions she did. Overall it is not hard to see why this debut novel was the winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Best Unpublished Manuscript. Not only is it intriguing with its storyline, but one that comes with a great twist at the end and is well worth reading for anyone after a thriller with a difference.
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  • Kate Horton
    January 1, 1970
    There are certain times when it is seriously cool to be a bookseller, and getting advanced copies of books you know are going to really get people excited is one of them. That's certainly the case with The Nowhere Child. A thoroughly enjoyable and accessible read, this was a great page turner that had me happily ignoring the family to finish it in under 24 hours - that doesn't happen too often nowadays! I'm sure the film adaptation won't be far away. I felt Christian very successfully crafted bo There are certain times when it is seriously cool to be a bookseller, and getting advanced copies of books you know are going to really get people excited is one of them. That's certainly the case with The Nowhere Child. A thoroughly enjoyable and accessible read, this was a great page turner that had me happily ignoring the family to finish it in under 24 hours - that doesn't happen too often nowadays! I'm sure the film adaptation won't be far away. I felt Christian very successfully crafted both the Australian and American places and voices, with the dual timeline, alternating narrative used to great effect to build suspense slowly but surely to the very satisfying conclusion. I know quite a few readers who enjoyed The Dry, but weren't thrilled with the ending. I don't think that will be an issue here. I really liked Christian's writing style, which is quite stripped back and unfussy, but still able to paint highly evocative scenes and characters. A fantastic and absorbing read and sure to be a very big hit come middle of the year.
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  • Jacki (Julia Flyte)
    January 1, 1970
    The premise of this book was really interesting. A young woman living in Australia gets tapped on the shoulder one day by a man who believes that is his younger sister, who was abducted from their home in small town Kentucky at the age of two. Kim's immediate reaction is pretty much the same as anyone's would be - this is nonsense, I know my parents, I know how I grew up. Although she does have to admit that the oldest photo she has of herself, aged about two, looks uncannily like the photo of t The premise of this book was really interesting. A young woman living in Australia gets tapped on the shoulder one day by a man who believes that is his younger sister, who was abducted from their home in small town Kentucky at the age of two. Kim's immediate reaction is pretty much the same as anyone's would be - this is nonsense, I know my parents, I know how I grew up. Although she does have to admit that the oldest photo she has of herself, aged about two, looks uncannily like the photo of the missing child. From here the story unfolds in alternating chapters. One storyline takes us back to the day of that baby Sammy was abducted and follows the police investigation. The other storyline follows Kim as she travels to Kentucky to meet Sammy's family and find out for herself whether this is where she came from.The book starts well but the story is quite drawn out and ultimately gets a bit too silly. I read it on holiday and it's a fine, undemanding holiday read, but not a lot more.I must say though: the author's note at the end is lovely. Don't skip it!
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  • Jeanette Lewis
    January 1, 1970
    What a fabulous read I was hooked from the beginning to end and to add to my delight Aussie humour came filtering through (sometimes a mystery to those from other countries). The story crosses over two time zones, two countries and two completely different ways of life. All the elements are there, suspense, love, hate, murder and to top it off a bit of weird religious fundamentals. Kim on the whole has a pretty ordinary life with a close knit family who together are still trying to recover from What a fabulous read I was hooked from the beginning to end and to add to my delight Aussie humour came filtering through (sometimes a mystery to those from other countries). The story crosses over two time zones, two countries and two completely different ways of life. All the elements are there, suspense, love, hate, murder and to top it off a bit of weird religious fundamentals. Kim on the whole has a pretty ordinary life with a close knit family who together are still trying to recover from the death of their mother. That is until one day a stranger from another country turns Kim’s world upside down telling her that he believes she isn’t who she thinks she is and that he knows her real identity, that of a small child called Sammy who disappeared from the family home from the other side of the world, a small town in USA! Patrick becomes Dean, who isn’t Kim’s father and unlawful as his role has been, is Sammy’s/Kim’s protector. His personality seems to change when Patrick than the thoughtful and delightfully eccentric philosophical Dean, a personality probably developed over the course of reinventing himself.
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  • Bridget
    January 1, 1970
    I'm so enjoying Australian fiction at the moment, my list of books seem to be littered with the Aussies this year. I liked this one too. It is such a cool concept, you open your door one day and discover that you were kidnapped as a child and that you have a whole family who have been grieving your loss for many years, 28 years! Kim is a great character, I loved the way she thinks as she unravels the past. I loved the way she deals with all the new people in her life all of whom are invested in I'm so enjoying Australian fiction at the moment, my list of books seem to be littered with the Aussies this year. I liked this one too. It is such a cool concept, you open your door one day and discover that you were kidnapped as a child and that you have a whole family who have been grieving your loss for many years, 28 years! Kim is a great character, I loved the way she thinks as she unravels the past. I loved the way she deals with all the new people in her life all of whom are invested in her because of what happened to her when she was a 2 year old named Sammy Went who just disappeared one afternoon. This book is a story of tragedy and lies, so many people were damaged in the fallout of Sammy going missing. Lives were lost and an entire small town was caught up in the search for her. But on the other side of the globe Sammy was called Kim and was having a lovely childhood. The book is the story of the investigation of how this came to pass and the story of those involved. It is such an accessible book, a fast paced and interesting book. I read most of it on a couple of flights where it was the perfect companion. The ending however kept me up reading until 1.30am. I needed to get it finished, it was exciting, exhilarating and I just could not put it down. It is a really good mystery and I liked it enormously.
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  • Jennifer (JC-S)
    January 1, 1970
    ‘Mind if I join you?’Kim Leamy is a photography teacher in Melbourne, Australia. She’s taking a break between classes when she’s approached by a stranger. He shows her a photograph:‘Her name is Sammy Went. This photo was taken on her second birthday. Three days later she was gone.’He says that he is investigating the disappearance of Sammy Went from her home in Kentucky twenty-eight years earlier. He believes that Kim is Sammy. Kim believes that he is mistaken, but when she starts looking into h ‘Mind if I join you?’Kim Leamy is a photography teacher in Melbourne, Australia. She’s taking a break between classes when she’s approached by a stranger. He shows her a photograph:‘Her name is Sammy Went. This photo was taken on her second birthday. Three days later she was gone.’He says that he is investigating the disappearance of Sammy Went from her home in Kentucky twenty-eight years earlier. He believes that Kim is Sammy. Kim believes that he is mistaken, but when she starts looking into her family background she finds that some questions can’t be easily answered. Kim has happy memories of her childhood with loving parents. But she can find no photographs of herself as a baby. Curious and in search of the truth, Kim travels to Manson, Kentucky to find out more about Sammy. What she discovers is a twisted mess of secrets, of conspiracy, involving a religious cult.While some aspects of this story are predictable, there are a few twists which I did not expect. Those twists kept me turning the pages and kept me in suspense until very close to the end of the novel. This is Mr White’s debut novel. I hope that it is the first of many.Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Hachette Australia for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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  • David Linwood
    January 1, 1970
    Folks, mark this one as the let down of the year...So this won the same prize as Jane Harpers The Dry and I suppose the publisher wants to replicate the same sort of buzz... the thing is The Dry was well written and this quite frankly isn't.I try to read with a pen and underline any lines that strike me or stand out. I recommend books that I have marked up a lot because it means that I was interested enough, or the writing was good enough to illicit a strong response. My notes could be anything Folks, mark this one as the let down of the year...So this won the same prize as Jane Harpers The Dry and I suppose the publisher wants to replicate the same sort of buzz... the thing is The Dry was well written and this quite frankly isn't.I try to read with a pen and underline any lines that strike me or stand out. I recommend books that I have marked up a lot because it means that I was interested enough, or the writing was good enough to illicit a strong response. My notes could be anything from a sharp description to a perfectly formed sentence. This is the first book I have ever read without using the pen once. The story probably isn't terrible but I was so distracted by how poor the writing was we are talking accidental rhyme, telling and not showing, the high crime of tautology. It's just so badly written. It's like it was written as a high school assignment then an editor has tried to polish it up because the story is solid - well folks, it turns out that for this most reader(s) good writing is as important as a good story.I wanted to like this book but alas it's not to be.
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  • Keiran Rogers
    January 1, 1970
    OK I'm going to start off the reviews on this one - but note we are publishing it.A couple of years back I read The Dry by Jane Harper at manuscript stage and loved loved loved it. It had won The Victorian Premier's Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript and was subsequently hot property with all the publishers fighting for it. The book was a real page turner, with really vivid descriptions of the dry, dusty, rural Australian landscape. The only issue with it was some implausibility in the OK I'm going to start off the reviews on this one - but note we are publishing it.A couple of years back I read The Dry by Jane Harper at manuscript stage and loved loved loved it. It had won The Victorian Premier's Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript and was subsequently hot property with all the publishers fighting for it. The book was a real page turner, with really vivid descriptions of the dry, dusty, rural Australian landscape. The only issue with it was some implausibility in the plot. So when Christian White came along with The Nowhere Child (then called Decay Theory), we signed it off the 2017 Victorian Premiers Literary Award shortlist, as it had all the great elements of The Dry but with a stronger plot and the most impressively depicted characters. Have a read of it (out July 2018) - you won't be disappointed.
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    In Melbourne, 30 year old photography teacher Kim Leamy is approached by a stranger who shows her a photo of a young girl, with deep blue eyes and a mop of shaggy black hair. 28 years ago two-year-old Sammy Went disappeared from her family home in Manson, Kentucky in the US. No trace of her was ever found but there was always the thought that she was abducted - not killed as originally feared. This stranger believes that Kim is Sammy, and THE NOWHERE CHILD is the story of what happened to Sammy In Melbourne, 30 year old photography teacher Kim Leamy is approached by a stranger who shows her a photo of a young girl, with deep blue eyes and a mop of shaggy black hair. 28 years ago two-year-old Sammy Went disappeared from her family home in Manson, Kentucky in the US. No trace of her was ever found but there was always the thought that she was abducted - not killed as originally feared. This stranger believes that Kim is Sammy, and THE NOWHERE CHILD is the story of what happened to Sammy Went, what it did to her family, and what the accusation will now do to Kim Leamy, her much loved stepfather Dean and her half-sister. It's worth noting that THE NOWHERE CHILD was the 2017 recipient The Victorian Premier's Unpublished Manuscript Award. Then named DECAY THEORY for reasons which are explained in the book, this is proving to be an award worth following very closely, past recipients including THE ROSIE PROJECT by Graeme Simsion, FOREIGN SOIL by Maxine Beneba Clarke, FEVER OF ANIMALS by Miles Allinson, THE DRY by Jane Harper and AUSTRALIA DAY by Melanie Cheng.Back to THE NOWHERE CHILD though, and there's something in this stranger's story that triggers a response in Kim. Although her mother died four years ago, there is something in her stepfather's reaction that bothers her. There's something in the story that this American tells that bothers her, and there's more that he brings to the table that sends her to America and the truth. It will come as no surprise to many readers that White has a background in cinematic writing as whilst this is really a character driven thriller, there's something visual about the settings, and the way that the focus is constantly pulled forward, through a rapidly twisting and turning plot, with even the expected revelations handled elegantly, never once letting the reader relax and assume too much.Taking Kim from Australia and a safe, and known family life; into the world of a conflicted and torn apart other family, where there are secrets upon secrets, built into small town prejudice, driving by a seriously bizarre Pentecostal sect called the Church of the Light Within whose members handle rattlesnakes, believing that their connection with God comes from dancing with, handling, and even being bitten by the snakes. The plot effectively carries two timelines - the present and Kim's search for the truth, and the events around Sammy's abduction - the effect it had on the Went family, the parents and the two remaining children, and on the small town of Manson Kentucky, already struggling with divisions between the majority sect followers and outsiders - some of whom, like Sammy's family, have moved away from the sect - hating what they do and what they stand for.The final twists and turns, when they arrive work, and even if you have guessed at the possible outcome, are still moving, sad and uplifting all at the same time. THE NOWHERE CHILD is pointed commentary on fundamentalism of all persuasions, and a good reminder that the past doesn't always go quietly.https://www.austcrimefiction.org/revi...
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  • Kathy
    January 1, 1970
    What an impressive debut from Christian White! Thoroughly enjoyed this book set in Now and Then timeline which we follow until all the secrets are revealed. And I didn’t guess the ending which was even better! Kim, living in Australia going about her normal life and one day her life is turned upside down when a man approaches her saying she is his long lost sister who was abducted from the US over 20 years before. I loved all the characters in this book and highly recommend this fantastic read w What an impressive debut from Christian White! Thoroughly enjoyed this book set in Now and Then timeline which we follow until all the secrets are revealed. And I didn’t guess the ending which was even better! Kim, living in Australia going about her normal life and one day her life is turned upside down when a man approaches her saying she is his long lost sister who was abducted from the US over 20 years before. I loved all the characters in this book and highly recommend this fantastic read which you will not be able to put down until you find out the truth!
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  • Hastings75
    January 1, 1970
    Best new author book I have read this year.Story is awesome and the ending is not a let down!Great recommendation from Redhead Rambles.👍
  • Kat
    January 1, 1970
    The winner of the 2017 Victorian Premier’s Literary Prize for an unpublished manuscript, The Nowhere Child is a thrilling debut. It demands you keep turning the page, to continue finding the missing pieces to the puzzle presented in this labyrinth of a novel, with clues in the past & present. Travelling from Melbourne to Kentucky USA, this exhilarating book will definitely keep you guessing until the final shocking reveal. Can you figure out who took Sammy Went?
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  • Nathan
    January 1, 1970
    Buy this book the morning it comes out from a reputable, or entirely disreputable, bookseller and disregard all other commitments. This is a spectacular novel that heralds a crisp, concise and sharp writer with talent to spare. Thank you for the ARC. Getting in on the ground floor is an exciting moment that never gets old.
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  • Tracey Allen at Carpe Librum
    January 1, 1970
    The Nowhere Child is a terrific debut by Australian author Christian White. Sammy Went was abducted from her home in Kentucky 28 years ago. Kim is living in Melbourne and is approached by a man investigating the disappearance who has reason to believe Kim is that girl. This isn't a spoiler, it's in the blurb.Kim doubts her late mother was a kidnapper, but soon embarks on a personal journey in an attempt to find out and get to the bottom of the mystery.Unfolding in dual timeframes, The Nowhere Ch The Nowhere Child is a terrific debut by Australian author Christian White. Sammy Went was abducted from her home in Kentucky 28 years ago. Kim is living in Melbourne and is approached by a man investigating the disappearance who has reason to believe Kim is that girl. This isn't a spoiler, it's in the blurb.Kim doubts her late mother was a kidnapper, but soon embarks on a personal journey in an attempt to find out and get to the bottom of the mystery.Unfolding in dual timeframes, The Nowhere Child is a novel about family, love and identity and takes Kim right into the heart of a religious cult in order to get her answers.The byline for this mystery novel is 'Who took Sammy Went?' and I worried that the surname of this main character (Went) was going to be an irritant in the novel, but this concern was quickly allayed.Kim's journey for the truth made for compelling reading and The Nowhere Child by Christian White is recommended for crime and thriller readers.* Copy courtesy of Affirm Press *
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  • Bree T
    January 1, 1970
    This book was incredible.The Nowhere Child is the 2017 Victorian Premier’s award winner for an unpublished manuscript. Previous winners of this award have become very successful bestsellers and this one has every chance of doing the same. It’s so compelling tapping into a fascination with unsolved mysteries and cold cases and combining that with a literary style.The book is split into two timelines. The first is the present day where Kim Leamy, a thirty year old woman living and working in Melbo This book was incredible.The Nowhere Child is the 2017 Victorian Premier’s award winner for an unpublished manuscript. Previous winners of this award have become very successful bestsellers and this one has every chance of doing the same. It’s so compelling tapping into a fascination with unsolved mysteries and cold cases and combining that with a literary style.The book is split into two timelines. The first is the present day where Kim Leamy, a thirty year old woman living and working in Melbourne is approached by a complete stranger and tells her that he believes she is Sammy Went, who went missing as a 2yo in rural America some 28 years ago. The book also delves back in time to during Sammy’s disappearance, revolving around the day or two leading up to it and then the aftermath. When the stranger first approaches Kim, it’s easy for the reader to dismiss his claims, just as she does. After all, who would expect that a woman on the other side of the world would be some long lost child from rural America? If what she’s being told is true then Kim would have to question everything she’s ever known about herself, about her identity and also about her mother.But faced with some evidence and a few cryptic comments from her stepfather, Kim needs to find out the truth and so the story moves across the ocean to America and the isolated town where the Went family lived. This is a really intriguing mix of small town prejudice and secrets, a powerful religious sect and the mystery of how could a little girl just vanish into thin air? The police had no leads, there was never a body and nobody saw anything. Sammy simply was there….and then she wasn’t. And for her family, nothing was ever the same again.This book was addictive. It tapped into one of my worst fears – that something would happen to one of my children like this. I remember when William Tyrell disappeared like it was yesterday. He’s the same age as my youngest son and it happened close to where my parents live just before we were about to visit them. Nothing stirs the population quite so much like a missing child. Sammy Went goes missing prior to the internet’s existence but it seems that everyone has a theory but nothing to support any of it. Was it her mother who didn’t seem to be coping after her birth? Was it her father, who definitely seems to have something to hide and a vaguest of alibis? Was it an opportunist who saw a chance to snatch a tiny girl for their own satisfaction? And if Sammy Went is now Kim Leamy, how on earth did she end up in Melbourne, Australia?This book just gives you so many questions as you get further into it. White takes the time to flesh out the characters of Sammy’s family nicely in the flashbacks, showcasing snapshots into the marriage of her parents and the struggle within the family where one member was deeply into religion and the others were not. I’ve not heard much about the religious groups that use snake handling as part of their church services but I did a bit of reading after I finished this book to add to what had been included here. And to be honest, the rattlers weren’t the creepiest part of the church in this book. Christian White does a fantastic job of really amping up the tension surrounding the practices and devotions of the church that Sammy’s parents are both involved and not involved in.I was hooked on this story from the very first page and I think it’s one of my favourite books of the year so far. It kept me guessing the whole way through, about so many different facets of the story. I really love the writing, which is so evocative. This whole book has the most amazing atmosphere, I’ve never been to America and but I felt like I was right there, a part of this community when Sammy Went disappeared.Highly recommend this one.***A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for the purpose of an honest review***
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  • Carol - Reading Writing and Riesling
    January 1, 1970
    My View:Fabulous read! Debut novelists and their novels are often a risk; you don’t know anything about their writing, good, bad or indifferent. You often do not know any one else who has read the book to get a personal recommendation. You open the page totally without any expectations other than hoping that this will indeed be a great read, become your next must read author.Take a risk! There is so much talent waiting for you to discover. I have just added Christian White to my “must read autho My View:Fabulous read! Debut novelists and their novels are often a risk; you don’t know anything about their writing, good, bad or indifferent. You often do not know any one else who has read the book to get a personal recommendation. You open the page totally without any expectations other than hoping that this will indeed be a great read, become your next must read author.Take a risk! There is so much talent waiting for you to discover. I have just added Christian White to my “must read authors” list. Christian has written a book that is subtle yet thought provoking. He has a written a book that is intriguing, engaging and demands to be read in one sitting. Listen to those demands; clear your calendar, turn off the TV and immerse yourself in this stunning narrative. You will thank me for the recommendation, I have just lessened your risk.PS I predict awards for this book.
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  • Heidi
    January 1, 1970
    How would you feel if you found out that everything you believed about your family was a lie? Shocked? Confused? Betrayed? Perhaps all of those, and more. When a stranger turns up on Kim Leamy’s doorstep in Melbourne, telling her that he has reason to believe that she might be Sammy Went, a little girl who disappeared at the age of two from her home in Manson, Kentucky, never to be seen again, she dismisses it as a bad joke at first. However, her mother has recently passed away, and there are so How would you feel if you found out that everything you believed about your family was a lie? Shocked? Confused? Betrayed? Perhaps all of those, and more. When a stranger turns up on Kim Leamy’s doorstep in Melbourne, telling her that he has reason to believe that she might be Sammy Went, a little girl who disappeared at the age of two from her home in Manson, Kentucky, never to be seen again, she dismisses it as a bad joke at first. However, her mother has recently passed away, and there are some niggling questions about her childhood Kim cannot answer. As evidence mounts, Kim knows that there is only one way to find out – to go to America herself and retrace Sammy’s last steps. Am I the only one that finds skeletons in family closets simply irresistible? As soon as I heard the premise of this novel, I knew that I had to read it. Perhaps because my own mother died when I was a child, and there are so many questions I will now never know the answer to. So I fully “got” Kim’s confusion and frustration, and her need to find out the truth – as shocking as it may turn out to be. Because what can be more confronting than finding out that your parents may not be who they have claimed to be, and that you may have a whole other family in another country – a family who gave you up for dead twenty-eight years ago! White doesn’t leave it at that, he also throws in some interesting plot twists and settings that added something unique to this story. The “then” and “now” timeline lets us explore the events that led to little Sammy’s disappearance, and finally give us the answer to Kim’s many questions – though they may not be what you had expected.I admit that despite its intriguing premise, I had a few issues with being able to connect to the characters, which made me feel a little less invested in the mystery than I had hoped. A couple of POVs felt unnecessary to me, stalling the story and distracting from the main narrative, although other readers may disagree. Personally, I found I wished for a bit more suspense, as all the right foundations had been laid and were there for the taking, but never totally paid off for me and I felt my interest waning a few times as the story digressed from its main focus. That said, The Nowhere Child was a quick and entertaining read that kept me turning the pages, and although it did not raise goosebumps, the final denouement was satisfying and held a few surprises in store. All in all it should appeal to lovers of mysteries that are based around dysfunctional family dynamics, and those readers who like a somewhat unusual setting (you will know what I mean when you read it). The Nowhere Child is White’s debut novel, and I look forward to reading more from this author in future – with his self-professed passion for true crime podcasts, there may be some more interesting stories coming our way soon!Thank you to Netgalley and Hachette Australia for the free electronic copy of this novel and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review. *blog* *facebook* *instagram*
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  • the.four.readers
    January 1, 1970
    Two year old Sammy Went is missing.Someone has taken her. But who?Was it her mother, Molly, a convert to the cultish church of the Light Within?Was it her father, Jack, a man with a secret in his heart and a violent temper?Was it her sister, Emma, who added Sammy’s name to the kill list on wall of the dilapidated grist mill? Was it the shadow man, lurking in the woods where he had no reason to be?Was it the Eckles family, led by drunken matriarch Ava and her unpredictable sons Patrick and Travis Two year old Sammy Went is missing.Someone has taken her. But who?Was it her mother, Molly, a convert to the cultish church of the Light Within?Was it her father, Jack, a man with a secret in his heart and a violent temper?Was it her sister, Emma, who added Sammy’s name to the kill list on wall of the dilapidated grist mill? Was it the shadow man, lurking in the woods where he had no reason to be?Was it the Eckles family, led by drunken matriarch Ava and her unpredictable sons Patrick and Travis? I was gripped by this tense and terrifying mystery as it moved between Melbourne and Kentucky to uncover the secrets of the past and reveal their consequences on the present. Christian White won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Best Unpublished Manuscript in 2017 for this debut novel.Watch for this one on shelves June 26, 2018, published by @affirmpressThank you to @netgalley and @hachetteaus for the opportunity to read an advance copy of The Nowhere Child.
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  • Tara
    January 1, 1970
    This was an interesting read, flipping back and forth between then and now while you try to work out exactly what happened. Kim, now 28 has discovered that she most likely is the girl Sammy who went missing when she was two years old, 26 years earlier. She heads back to the USA to try to understand what happened.I did enjoy the book and was surprised more than once with the twists although I did find I was speed reading through parts of the book because I didn't find it relevant to the story or This was an interesting read, flipping back and forth between then and now while you try to work out exactly what happened. Kim, now 28 has discovered that she most likely is the girl Sammy who went missing when she was two years old, 26 years earlier. She heads back to the USA to try to understand what happened.I did enjoy the book and was surprised more than once with the twists although I did find I was speed reading through parts of the book because I didn't find it relevant to the story or to solving the mystery.The ending was great though and I was thoroughly satisfied with the outcome and finding out exactly what had happened 26 years earlier.Thanks to Hachette Australia for the ARC via NetGalley.
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  • Brianna Monique
    January 1, 1970
    This book follows Kim, as she is approached by a man, who insists she is the kidnapped child; Sammy Went. It follows Kim as she explores the possibility of being Sammy Went, the book also follows, characters from when the kidnapping took place 28 years ago. This book was well-paced and I loved all the twists thrown in, I also really enjoyed the whole aspect of the church (cult) that Sammy's mum, Molly attends and learning about snake handlers. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who This book follows Kim, as she is approached by a man, who insists she is the kidnapped child; Sammy Went. It follows Kim as she explores the possibility of being Sammy Went, the book also follows, characters from when the kidnapping took place 28 years ago. This book was well-paced and I loved all the twists thrown in, I also really enjoyed the whole aspect of the church (cult) that Sammy's mum, Molly attends and learning about snake handlers. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys thrillers.
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  • Pamela Tickner
    January 1, 1970
    4 1/2 stars. I only chose this book because of the great reviews, and it lived up to all expectations. One of the better debut novels I have read. Both male and female characters are well developed and I felt a connection and invested interest in many of them even the support cast, I was so sad when Sheriff Ellis missed his date! A clever story told from two times and two countries that connect in the most unexpected way. I liked that you could follow the clues and make sense of the crime and m 4 1/2 stars. I only chose this book because of the great reviews, and it lived up to all expectations. One of the better debut novels I have read. Both male and female characters are well developed and I felt a connection and invested interest in many of them even the support cast, I was so sad when Sheriff Ellis missed his date! A clever story told from two times and two countries that connect in the most unexpected way. I liked that you could follow the clues and make sense of the crime and mystery that followed.
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  • Ali Berg
    January 1, 1970
    Wow! What an incredible book by this talented debut author. I devoured it in a weekend, because I could not put it down. It was incredibly captivating, raw, beautifully written and emotional. Do yourself a favour and read this book!
  • Suzie
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. Great story, and it had me guessing all the way to the end.
  • Aimee
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this! Im not a super big crime/thriller reader but the plot of this seemed really interesting so I picked it up. It was more of a lighter crime but really enjoyable and fast paced. It had me guessing until the end and although some of the twists were predictable they were woven into the story so well that I wasn’t annoyed by it! The characters were really developed throughout and I liked that it swapped between the present in Kims perspective the the past when Sammy went missing I really enjoyed this! Im not a super big crime/thriller reader but the plot of this seemed really interesting so I picked it up. It was more of a lighter crime but really enjoyable and fast paced. It had me guessing until the end and although some of the twists were predictable they were woven into the story so well that I wasn’t annoyed by it! The characters were really developed throughout and I liked that it swapped between the present in Kims perspective the the past when Sammy went missing through all the different people involveds perspectives!
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  • Michelle Harris
    January 1, 1970
    Hooked from the start. An interesting read around a missing 2 year old, a religious cult, marriage secrets and insecure children. Possibly a one sitting read, alternating between the “now” and “then” chapters. Great debut book
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