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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Father She Went To Find

Narrator: Gina Rogers

Dreamscape Media

ISBN: 9781728293479

Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press

Publication Date: 04/02/2024

Format: Paperback, e-book & audio

My Rating: 5 Stars (ARC)

A road trip to find closure… or a reckless chase that could turn deadly?

Penny has never met anyone smarter than her. That's par for the course when you're a savant--one of less than one hundred in the world. But despite her photographic memory and super-powered intellect, there's one mystery Penny's never been able to solve: why did her father leave when she was in a coma at age seven, and where is he now?

On Penny's twenty-first birthday, she receives a card in the mail from him, just as she has every year since he left. But this birthday card is different. For the first time ever, there's a return address. And a goodbye.

Penny doesn't know the world beyond her mother's house and the special school she's attended since her unusual abilities revealed themselves, but the mystery of her father's disappearance becomes her new obsession. For the first time ever she decides to leave home, to break free of everything that has kept her safe, and use her gifts to answer the questions that have always eluded her. What Penny doesn't realize is she might not be able to outsmart a world far more complicated and dangerous than she'd ever imagined...

My Review

Master storyteller Carter Wilson returns following The New Neighbor with his latest intriguing coming-of-age complex mystery thriller—THE FATHER SHE WENT TO FIND. An exceptional, emotionally wrought tale of a young girl who sets out on a road trip to uncover the secrets of her past and find her father.

Fabulous—Like no other book you will read!

Set in the 1980s in Wisconsin. Penny Bly just turned 21 and received her annual birthday card from her father. Has he been traveling all over the world? However, this card will be the last by his note and the only one with a return postage stamp. She has received a card yearly since childhood—since he left.

Penny had a tragic accident falling down a flight of stairs when she was only seven years old. She was in a coma and experienced a brain injury.

She became a savant and can remember everything. She has the uncanny ability to remember details, see numbers as colors, and more. She has a brilliant mind. She remembers almost nothing of her life before October 1973. Every now and then, she recalls something of that lost period of her life with small details.

Her father left her after the accident, and she has not seen him since he left her and her mom. Her mom was unable to take care of her. She studied at an academy devoted to those with brilliant minds, and they also studied her.

She feels like she is at a turning point. She remembers bits and pieces of a road trip she took with her father when she was six.

At age 21, her mentor, Dr. Brock, is leaving the school, and she decides this is the perfect time to venture out into the world and out of her comfort zone. The doctor says she has abandonment issues. She has an acute fear of desperation and cannot seem to find hope for a good outcome.

She processes the information and holds all the pain inside, talking to her father. The one who left fourteen years earlier. How deceiving memories can be.

It is time to find her father! The man who left her. Why? She has always wondered. She needs answers. She has no address, only a postmark. Penny sets out on a road trip to find her father as well as the clues they buried all the years ago in their final moments. She needs closure and possesses a strong need to face her fear of abandonment.

She and Travis, a starving artist she met at the mall (funny story)—two artistic minds begin to travel to California (where the last card came from) with a woman named Fia and they run into all sorts of problems, danger, and adventures. She soon learns she is out of her element and may be getting in over her head in this complicated world she has been sheltered from. She is intelligent but not worldly (street smart).

Will Penny find answers to what she seeks —happiness over or through tragedy?

Carter Wilson is a gifted, dynamic, creative writer whose stories are compelling, intriguing, and thought-provoking. From action, suspense, and mystery, THE FATHER SHE WENT TO FIND is unique, emotional, and intensely psychological, with opposing forces of joy and happiness, despair, fear, abandonment, and the unknown. Penny possesses a fierce drive to understand her past.

As we find in the story, Penny is an interesting character—intelligent and bright, book smart but not street smart. The story is told in first-person narrative, giving the reader a full view into her thoughts.

A vast long-time fan of the author, THE FATHER SHE WENT TO FIND is a memorable and incredible road trip journey—Beautifully written, unpredictable, immersive, absorbing with well-developed characters, and a fascinating heroine to root for. It's a heartbreaking family drama, a wild ride, and a thriller with lots of heart.

I hope we see Penny again. I loved it, and it would be a great Father's Day novel and book club pick. Discussion questions included. I also enjoyed the Author's notes and inspiration. The novel would make a noteworthy movie.

AUDIOBOOK: I enjoyed reading the e-book and listening to the audiobook, narrated by Gina Rogers, delivering a superb performance— making the characters come alive!

Fans of DJ Palmer and Freida McFadden will enjoy!

Thanks to Poisoned Pen Press, NetGalley, and Dreamscape Media for an advanced reading and listening review copy.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 5 Stars

Pub Date: April 2, 2024


"Buckle up. Watch out. And don't try to predict anything! The supremely talented Carter Wilson has crafted a uniquely unpredictable and absolutely immersive story starring one of the most fascinating characters you'll ever meet. A Beautiful Mind takes a life-and-death road trip in this battle of wits, maze of psychological suspense, and heartbreaking family drama. I was riveted to every page."

—Hank Phillippi Ryan, USA Today bestselling author of One Wrong Word

"The Father She Went to Find is a blast! I loved Penny Bly, the genius who can remember every line of every book she's ever read and the details of each meal she's ever had. Not to mention, she has an amazing talent for creating portraits that reveal the inner nature of the person being drawn. Her journey across the country to find her missing father kept me reading throughout the night. A thriller with heart, amazing characters, and plot twists I didn't see coming. A true page-turner, this book is a winner from one of our best crime novelists. I can't recommend this great book enough!"

—David Heska Wanbli Weiden, award-winning author of Winter Counts

"In his latest page-turning and deeply psychological novel, Carter Wilson has deftly crafted one of the most compelling and unique characters you'll read this year! I was glued to every word.

—Wendy Walker, Bestselling author of What Remains

"Carter Wilson has done it again. The Father She Went to Find is off like a shot from page one, and it doesn't let up. A road trip story with dizzying twists and turns, featuring a unique protagonist you won't soon forget, this book will keep you up until you reach the last page!"

—Andrew DeYoung, author of The Temps and The Day He Never Came Home

"Wilson punches up Penny's anything-can-happen adventures with a deadpan first-person narrative that pares its cast of characters to the absolute minimum and relies on sentences and paragraphs and chapters as short, and about as reassuring, as hiccups. Fasten your seat belt. This is one wild ride." — Kirkus (Starred Review)

"It's hard not to root for this unusual heroine in Wilson's wonderfully original, offbeat story." — Booklist

“Penny is a fascinating character who’s full of extremes: off-the-charts intelligent but completely clueless when it comes to the real world; desperate for love but pushing everyone away; longing for safety but causing mayhem with her single-minded pursuit of a plan-less goal. Get ready for a wild ride and a WHOA ending.”

—First Clue

About the Author

Photo Credit: Iliana Wilson

Carter Wilson is the USA Today bestselling author of nine critically acclaimed, standalone psychological thrillers, as well as numerous short stories. He is an ITW Thriller Award finalist, a five-time winner of the Colorado Book Award, and his works have been optioned for television and film. Carter lives in Erie, Colorado in a Victorian house that is spooky but isn’t haunted…yet.

Check out my Fun #AuthorElevatorSeries

Chat with Carter Wilson where we go behind the scenes of THE NEW NEIGHBOR and this talented author!







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