The Father She Went to Find

A Novel

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Pub Date Apr 02 2024 | Archive Date Apr 03 2024

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“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 

"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

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...

“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...

Advance Praise

"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 Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“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

"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...

Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781728293479
PRICE $16.99 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (EPUB)
Send to Kindle (EPUB)
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Average rating from 135 members

Featured Reviews

Oh my! This book is a whirlwind of eccentric and wonderful plot lines and characters! It centers around Penny as she awakens from a coma after a fall down the basement stairs when she was seven. Now she has an eidetic memory and an incredible memory for faces; she sees colors for numbers and can recall pages of written material easily. She conjures her father in her head and has "conversations" with him, especially remembering a road trip where he left messages for her in hidden coke bottles. Newly awakened she has a "treasure map" and is determined to retrace those steps and find him. And of course there are great characters--mostly misfits, loan sharks, shootings, a crooked cop, and so many odd and wonderful happenings! Like all of Wilson's books, this one keeps you on the edge of your seat and never lets you go! Gritty and fabulous!
Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC!

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Wow, this book was incredible! Penny is such a fantastic character. At seven years old, she fell down the stairs and ended up in a coma. When she awoke, she discovered that her father left while she was in the coma and also that she now has acquired savant syndrome. She sees numbers as colors, has an eidetic memory and can draw photorealistic drawings in minutes. After that she lives a sheltered life mostly at an institute for the brain. Fourteen years later, on her twenty first birthday, she leaves to try and track down her father. Her first journey into the world certainly takes an unexpected path! She meets some interesting characters and gets into quite a bit of danger along the way. There's some nice twists and turns and a shocking, emotional ending that is utterly unpredictable. I think The Father She Went To Find is going to be a big hit. It's definitely my favorite Carter Wilson novel so far. You won't want to miss this one when it comes out on April 2, 2024!

Also, I love that it took place during the 80s! Things were so much different before cell phones and the internet so it added an extra level of difficulty to her journey.

Thank you NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for the ARC!

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I truly just didn't expect this. I am blown away with how Wilson tied this story together. I Love Penny and Travis. Then the duo became a Trio and it took you through the dedication etween people who just met. You must find trust in someone. She is on a mission to find her dad who left when she was 7. And on her cross country journey Penny finds her self in some really crazy situations!
Would absolitely recommend!
*please note there are triggers that should be considered when reading*

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My goodness did I like this book! I thought it was a rollercoaster of a ride to read. I felt like I was on the ride with the characters. The mix of adventures that happen were good ones to get lost in when I couldn't sleep at night. I look forward to more from this author. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC. Five stars.

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I jumped at the chance to read a new Carter Wilson book. I was blown away by this thrilling tale of an extraordinary young woman going out into the world for the first time.

Penny is a savant due to a brain injury when she was a child. She has a photographic memory among other abilities. She's been sheltered ever since, being schooled and studied at an institute, never having to deal with real life matters.

She receives a birthday card every year from her father who disappeared while she was still in a coma. She has now turned twenty-one and his latest card is to be the last. That prompts her to finally venture out on her own to track her father down. She remembers a road trip they took together when she remembers nothing else before she was injured. He put notes in bottles in random towns so that's the path she follows.

She has to navigate an unfamiliar world and figure out how to make money. It leads to her meeting Travis. Things quickly take a turn after that. What ensues is a non-stop thrill ride. Penny has to put her genius mind and survival instinct to the test to get through the wild circumstances with which she finds herself.

What I loved about this book was how there was a lot of dialogue. It made the story flow perfectly and added to the thrills throughout. It makes the story unfold like a really good movie. There was never a dull moment. Basically what I've come to expect from a Carter Wilson novel.

Thank you Poisoned Pen Press, NetGalley and Carter Wilson for the e-ARC.

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Thank you to Netgalley for this one! I selected this one at random and i am slow glad i did. I went into it not knowing what the book was about and I ended up loving it! When Penny fell down the stairs when she was 7 something happened to her brain which made her special and she now had powers she didn't have before, however her memory of life before is now gone. Now at the age of 21 she wants to find her Farther. I loved this book and the road trip she took, it action packed and i read it so quick as to know what happened next! a great read!!

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Oh my, this book is fantastic! What a unique and creative premise for a story.

When Penny is a young girl, she falls down a flight of stairs and awakens from a coma with savant syndrome. She grows up in the Willow Brook Institute for the Brain so the doctors can study her genius mind. Penny knows of no other way of life except what goes on behind the walls of the institute and her mother’s not so loving home. So, as she turns 21, she decides to leave on her own and go search for her father, who left the family while she was in the coma. On her travels, not only does she find some true friends, she also gets into some untenable situations. Her gifted intelligence proves to be both a hindrance and an advantage in the real world.

This book has it all - well crafted characters, suspense, a few laughs and an excellent ending. My 5-star rating is a no-brainer and I highly recommend this book. Thank you, NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for the ARC.

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Wow! I can't contain my excitement about this ARC—it's hands down the most gripping one I've ever delved into! Carter Wilson worked his magic, reeling me in with characters I couldn't help but get attached to. The beginning threw me off with its calm vibe, and I even questioned if it was a thriller at first. But lo and behold, as I reached the Acknowledgment, Carter laid it all out, and suddenly it all made sense! This is pure genius. I've just stumbled upon a new favorite author, and I can't wait to explore more of his work!

I was completely blown away by the unexpected turns in the plot that had me gaping. The unfolding events sent shivers down my spine and gave me goosebumps. I couldn't help but be moved once the truth was revealed—it hit me harder than I anticipated. Experiencing the characters' emotions was so intense. Yet, amidst the emotional journey, there were parts I cherished. Surprisingly, this thriller/mystery taught me valuable lessons, proving that learning can come from the most unexpected places.

It was genuinely painful when Penny expressed, "Why do we chase things that hurt us? You ever love and hate someone at the same time?" The raw emotion from Penny resonated with me deeply, as all she ever yearned for was love from her parents.

There's also this quote I absolutely adored from the book: "Chasing control is a fool's errand. Letting go is a faster path to happiness than pretending any of us has the power to control anything." It's incredibly relatable and true. Life is full of things beyond our control, and stressing over them is futile. Letting go often leads to a faster route to happiness.

Overall, I absolutely loved this book and would recommend it to anyone who's into thrillers and mysteries. Trust me, it's sooo good! If I could rate it a thousand, I totally would. Can't wait to get my hands on the physical copy! For the first time, I actually miss characters from a book—Penny and Fia are just unforgettable. If you're on the fence about reading it, go for it! It's totally worth the time!

Thank you so much NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for the ARC!

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I am a huge Carter Wilson fan. The first book I found was The Dead Girl in 2A. I was so impressed that I immediately went and started reading his backlist, and I’ve been reading every new book as they are published.

The Father She Went to Find was amazing. Penny is a savant. She has a photographic memory and is amazingly intelligent, the result of a fall down the stairs when she was a young child. Now, at 21, she’s aware that she didn’t fall down the stairs, she was pushed. After the accident, her father disappeared from her life, but sends her a card once a year for her birthday. But she does talk to her dad, in her mind. And he answers.

At 21 her birthday card indicates this will be the last card he’s going to send and this prompts Penny to leave her home at the special school she’s been attending since her accident. She sets out to find her dad, and finds a couple of “characters“ along the way. The twists and turns that the story takes totally surprised me and I expected none of them.

Thanks to Poisoned Pen Press for this galley. All opinions are my own.

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