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“I started this book Friday night and was sorry I’d made any other plans for the weekend. This novel isn’t out until January, which is driving me crazy because I just want people to READ IT. It’s about a family whose daughter goes missing in the Colorado Rockies, just before she’s about to begin college. The story itself is gripping, the characters well developed and walking around my head as we speak, but what really sends this book over the top is Johnston’s command of language. Every sentence is vital. It feels as if every next word may be the one that finds this missing girl. I’m absolutely rapt. He has a terrific talent for communicating the ticks of each moment, the way a ponytail swings, the way a porch in the mountains smells in the middle of the night. I find myself sucking in my breath and reading sentences over again for their rhythm, their lift, their startling beauty. I’m a fool for this book. Put it on your radar now. January can’t get here soon enough.”
— Julie W.
January 2015 Indie Next List
“Descent is a gripping, utterly engrossing account of a girl's disappearance in the Rocky Mountains. The aftermath of this tragedy is told in alternating voices: the injured brother at the scene of the accident when she left with a stranger to get help; the mother who has been hospitalized and stunned into breathtaking grief; the father who has been unable to leave the small town where the family was vacationing when his daughter disappeared -- and most stunning of all, through the words of the victim herself. A real page-turner with a brilliantly conceived climax!”
— Kelly Estep, Carmichael's Bookstore, Louisville, KY
“Read this astonishing novel . . . The magic of his prose equals the horror of Johnston’s story.” —The Washington Post
The Rocky Mountains have cast their spell over the Courtlands, who are taking a family vacation before their daughter leaves for college. But when Caitlin and her younger brother, Sean, go out for an early morning run and only Sean returns, the mountains become as terrifying as they are majestic.
Written with a precision that captures every emotion, every moment of fear, as each member of the family searches for answers, Descent races like an avalanche toward its heart-pounding conclusion.
“A compelling thriller that is both creepy and literary . . . Descent is not just a mystery. It is an emotional story of evil, fear, acceptance and irony.”—The Denver Post
“What makes the novel unforgettable is its sense of character, its deliberate, unadorned prose and Johnston’s unflinching exploration of human endurance, physical and psychological.” —Miami Herald
“Incredibly powerful, richly atmospheric.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
“[An] engulfing thriller-cum-western.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Brilliant . . . As gripping as any Everest expedition.” —Peter Heller, author of The Dog Stars
About the Author
Tim Johnston is the author of the novels Descent, The Current, the story collection Irish Girl, and the young adult novel Never So Green. He holds degrees from the University of Iowa and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is the recipient of the 2015 Iowa Author Award and currently lives in Iowa City, Iowa.