Featured Excerpt: The Father She Went to Find by Carter Wilson

A road trip to find closure... or a reckless chase that could turn deadly? Enjoy an excerpt of Carter Wilson's new thriller The Father She Went to Find.


July 13, 1987

Eau Claire, Wisconsin


I remember everything.

This isn’t an exaggeration. As the few who know me would confirm, I’m not prone to hyperbole. And when I say I remember everything, I’m not talking about the events of this morning. Or yesterday. Or the whole of last week.

I remember everything since October 2, 1973.

Since the day I woke from my coma when I was seven years old.

Every meal. Every conversation. The lyrics of every song that entered my ears. Every word of every page of every book that passed beneath my gaze.

Every word of abuse.

And all the words of praise.

One of those outnumbers the other, but I’m not in the mood to report the score.

I have supreme eidetic memory combined with hyperthymesia—the ability to recall life events in great detail. It’s exceedingly rare that a person has both these things.

Lucky me.

Thing is, my abilities sometimes haunt me, but not as much as one of my profound inabilities.

I remember almost nothing of my life before October 2, 1973.

I’ve seen photos. I’ve heard stories. I’ve been told surely you remember more times than I can count—okay, that’s a lie; I’ve been told that 217 times in the past fourteen years.

But I don’t remember. And when I try to, it’s like trying to watch a movie through a crashing ocean wave.

And yet.

Every now and then, once every two years or so, I recall something of that lost period of my life. Usually, it’s a small detail, like eating vanilla soft serve under a towering oak tree in the park near my house. These sudden memories will surface in good—but not vivid—detail. And, god, how I want these rare finds to be meaningful, to be revelatory of some greater truth, but my guess is they’re just the result of an improbable synchronicity of firing synapses.

But today.

Today I had my most powerful recollection ever.

I suddenly remembered bits and pieces of a road trip I took with my father.

I was six.

We drove from Wisconsin to Los Angeles. I assume we drove back, too, but I don’t remember that.

This recollection was the first time I ever saw my father within the confines of my own mind. No photos. No old Super 8 reels. It was the father I experienced as a little girl.

This memory.

This happened today.

Right before I turn twenty-one.

Right as I expect to hear from him, his annual birthday card.

Goddamn. This could be meaningful. It’s going to be a good day.

Excerpted from The Father She Went to Find by Carter Wilson. Copyright © 2024 by Carter Wilson. Reprinted with permission from Poisoned Pen Press, an imprint of Sourcebooks. All rights reserved.

About The Father She Went to Find by Carter Wilson:

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…

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