Descent

Descent

Book - 2015
Average Rating:
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Workman Press.

A Breakout NEW YORK TIMES Bestseller

A USA Today Bestseller

An Indie National Bestseller

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

“The story unfolds brilliantly, always surprisingly . . . The magic of his prose equals the horror of Johnston’s story; each somehow enhances the other . . . Read this astonishing novel.” —The Washington Post

“Tim Johnston’s high-wire literary thriller . . . will leave you gasping.” —Vanity Fair


“A riveting literary thriller of the can’t-stop-turning-the-page, stay-up-all-night variety.” —Alice LaPlante, author of A Circle of Wives

The Rocky Mountains have cast their spell over the Courtlands, a young family from the plains taking a last summer vacation before their daughter begins college. For eighteen-year-old Caitlin, the mountains loom as the ultimate test of her runner’s heart, while her parents hope that so much beauty, so much grandeur, will somehow repair a damaged marriage. 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, as suddenly this family find themselves living the kind of nightmare they’ve only read about in headlines or seen on TV.

As their world comes undone, the Courtlands are drawn into a vortex of dread and recrimination. Why weren’t they more careful? What has happened to their daughter? Is she alive? Will they ever know? Caitlin’s disappearance, all the more devastating for its mystery, is the beginning of the family’s harrowing journey down increasingly divergent and solitary paths until all that continues to bind them together are the questions they can never bring themselves to ask: At what point does a family stop searching? At what point will a girl stop fighting for her life?

Written with a precision that captures every emotion, every moment of fear, as each member of the family searches for answers, Descent is a perfectly crafted thriller that races like an avalanche toward its heart-pounding conclusion, and heralds the arrival of a master storyteller.



Baker & Taylor
When eighteen-year-old Caitlin Courtland disappears while out for a morning run, her parents embark on a harrowing journey down increasingly divergent and solitary paths where they must answer some difficult questions to find the truth.

Baker
& Taylor

"Descent, the story of a family undone by the disappearance of a daughter who went out for a morning run and didn't come back, marks the adult fiction debut of a remarkable young writer. Stunning in its emotional impact, Descent is a compulsively readable page-turner with a strong literary sensibility. The girl's vanishing--on a sunny, late-summer vacation morning--all the more devastating for its mystery, is the beginning the family's harrowing journey down increasingly divergent and solitary paths, until all that continues to bind them to each other are the questions they can never bring themselves to ask: At what point does a family stop searching? At what point does a girl stop fighting for her life? In the weeks and months that follow, hope leads todisillusionment, and each of them--father, mother, son--withdraws into emotional isolation, individually assessing the blame and assuming the responsibility for their collective loss. Haunting and unforgettable, Descent is a novel that will grab the reader's heart and mind, and will linger there long after the last page is turned" --
When their daughter disappears while out for a morning run during a late-summer vacation in the Rocky Mountains, her parents embark on a harrowing journey down increasingly divergent and solitary paths where they must answer some difficult questions to find the truth. 35,000 first printing.

Publisher: Chapel Hill : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, NC 2015
Edition: First Edition
ISBN: 9781616203047
1616203048
Branch Call Number: Fiction Johnston
Characteristics: 374 pages ; 24 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

Johnston's debut novel involves the disappearance of a daughter who went running and never returned. When does a family stop searching?


From the critics


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m
MamaLovesBooks
Feb 07, 2017

Read this book. It had me reading deep into the night to find out how it ended. The next morning, I had to recap it to my friend and loan it out to another friend. This is a book that was lent to me and I am determined to lend it out over and over again. Not only is the story gripping, but the author's craft - symbolism, metaphor, and foreshadowing, make it a magical work of literature rarely found in a mystery novel (anymore). Just read it and prepare to finish the last 70+ pages in one night.

l
luvmybookywooks
Feb 06, 2017

Although a little hard to follow at the beginning because of multiple timelines, I made myself slow down and enjoy the wonderful writing of Mr. Johnston.

n
ninigirl
Apr 15, 2016

Good read. It could happen to anyone. Enjoyed the scary parts:) Good thriller.

t
tonyalockman
Feb 13, 2016

When I first read the jacket description I wondered if I should even be reading this book, but it was a good and interesting book and so I kept on until the end. But I really wish I would have left this one alone. Left me feeling too sad.

m
mjk236sb
Feb 10, 2016

Really enjoyed this book - extremely well written. Looks at the family and their reaction to losing their daughter to what they do not know. The never give up looking for her and missing her. This book has an ending you never saw coming. Engrossing until the end.

c
claireswazey
Jan 17, 2016

Engrossing and horrifying thriller.

cathyf3 Jan 05, 2016

A typical family outing, that goes so wrong. Their daughter is going off to college, so they take a family vacation to Colorado. The first day Caitlyn goes for a jog with her younger brother. Then a truck comes down and grabs her and hits her brother. Caitlyn is gone.
Her brother survives, but the family never gives up in finding her. The ending is chilling.

a
anfieldfan
Aug 17, 2015

Really enjoyed this book; look forward to more by this author.

c
cknightkc
Jul 18, 2015

DESCENT has been referred to as a "literary thriller", & I couldn't agree more. The author's prose & description of place (the Rocky Mountains) are spot on. Characters are multi-dimensional. Much of this novel is devoted to the impact of a girl's tragic abduction & disappearance on the lives of her family & various inhabitants of a small Colorado community. If you expect a fast-paced thriller, you'll be disappointed, however the final 100 pages are particularly intense with a surprising twist at the end.

s
sammythe1dog
May 29, 2015

I agree with kwehner1987. Had to stop reading after about 100 pages. The story jumps everywhere and goes nowhere.

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