Descent: A Novel

· Sold by Algonquin Books
106 reviews

About this ebook

“Read this astonishing novel . . . The magic of his prose equals the horror of Johnston’s story.” —The Washington Post

​Don't miss DISTANT SONS, the new literary thriller from Tim Johnston, available now.

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

“A super-charged, addictive read.” —The Missourian               

“An original and psychologically deep thriller.” —Outside magazine

“Outstanding . . . The days when you had to choose between a great story and a great piece of writing? Gone.” —Esquire

“[A] dazzling debut . . . Exquisitely crafted.”  —The Dallas Morning News 

“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

Ratings and reviews

106 reviews
Jeff Bingham
September 13, 2015
The whole story comes rushing out like it was told by someone out of breath and frantically trying to warn the reader. The basic premise is presented quickly and the initial foreshadowing pretty much tells you how the story will end, but the flowing prose and dark coloring of the characters keeps you turning pages at the speed of a semi that lost its brakes coming down a steep mountain pass.
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Lizanne Whitlow
March 18, 2015
The richness of the writing will amaze you, as will the unexpected action: you won't see it coming but the clues are there. I could not put this book down and have reread it; I highly recommend this less-is-more reticent novel.
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Jill Revak
September 1, 2015
Heartbreaking and beautifully written. I couldn't put this book down, every last page sending my heart racing. A must-read!
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About the author

Tim Johnston is the author of the novels DescentThe 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.

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