“Rene Denfeld reminds us that storytelling remains one of the most powerful means we have of confronting our darkest human impulses, and sometimes overcoming them.”—Washington Post
From the bestselling author of The Child Finder and The Enchanted, a compelling and poignant story of sibling bonds, monsters masquerading as caretakers, terrifying secrets, and the power of love to right even the most egregious wrongs.
Twenty years ago, a nine-year-old boy was swept away by powerful waves on a remote Oregon beach, his body lost to the sea. Only a stone memorial remains to mark his tragic death.
For most of her life, Amanda Dufresne had no idea she had an older brother named Dennis Owens, or that he had died. Adopted as a baby, she learned about him while looking into her late birth mother, and is curious to know more about this lost sibling. A solitary young woman, Amanda has always felt distanced from the world around her. Her brain works differently from others, leaving her feeling set apart. Her one true companion is the orphaned polar bear she cares for working at the zoo. By getting to know her birth family, she hopes to understand more about herself.
Retired police officer Larry Palmer is a widower with nothing but time and in need of a purpose. He offers to help Amanda find answers. The search leads to shocking and heartbreaking discoveries. Dennis Owen had been a forgotten foster child abandoned to a home for disturbed boys off the coast. As Amanda and Larry dig deeper into the past, the two stumble upon decades of cruelty and hidden crimes—including a barbaric treatment still used today.
Told in Rene Denfeld’s inimitable style, Sleeping Giants is an enthralling and heartbreaking novel that burrows deep in the heart and will leave no reader untouched.
Rene Denfeld is a bestselling author, licensed investigator, and foster mother. She is the author of the novels The Butterfly Girl, The Child Finder and The Enchanted. Her novels have won numerous awards including a French Prix, and The New York Times named her a 2017 hero of the year. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
Rene Denfeld is a remarkable novelist. In cool, bewitching prose Sleeping Giants explores how we hurt one another, how we try to heal and asks what families are made of. The tenacity of the beautifully drawn characters and the glimpses of hope in the darkness make it impossible to look away from this heartrending and enthralling story. — Gilly Macmillan, New York Times bestselling author of The Nanny
"Rene Denfeld is one of the handful of living writers I most admire, and Sleeping Giants may be her masterpiece. Haunting, frightening and moving in equal measure, her new novel is a sublime page turner, evoking beauty and terror in the same moment. I read it in an afternoon, enthralled, and am still under its spell." — Elizabeth Hand, author of A Haunting on the Hill and Generation Loss.
"Sleeping Giants is a literary page-turner, at once an absorbing mystery and a deeply moving unraveling of past wrongs. Rene Denfeld’s new book is as grave, compelling, and powerful as the sneaker waves that haunt its landscape." — Flynn Berry, New York Times bestselling author of Northern Spy
"Rene Denfeld keeps writing books I have to read in one sitting because I can’t stop. Like her previous books, Sleeping Giants has the pace and excitement of a thriller but the compassion and generosity that can otherwise seems so antithetical to the genre as it enters into the lives of an adopted and an institutionalized child and those of other people who are somehow stranded, bereft or disconnected. Plot and characters come together in a gripping finale." — Rebecca Solnit
"As in her remarkable novel, The Child Finder, which I recommend to everyone, Rene Denfeld’s Sleeping Giants expertly marries a taut, immersive suspense narrative, with a clear-eyed and deeply humanitarian look at the complex repercussions of childhood trauma. Denfeld has a powerful way of imbuing harrowing situations and subject matter with unexpected lyricism, and truly affecting, sensitively-drawn characters. There’s no one quite like her in publishing today." — Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife and When the Stars Go Dark