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Descent: A Novel

Descent: A Novel


Descent: A Novel

ratings:
3.5/5 (86 ratings)
Length:
502 pages
8 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jan 6, 2015
ISBN:
9781616204303
Format:
Book

Description

“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.

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

“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
Publisher:
Released:
Jan 6, 2015
ISBN:
9781616204303
Format:
Book

About the author

Tim Johnston, a native of Iowa City, is the author of The Current and the New York Times bestseller Descent, as well as a young adult novel, Never So Green, and the story collection Irish Girl, winner of the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction.


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Reviews

What people think about Descent

3.7
86 ratings / 81 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (3/5)
    I picked this up for a reading group. It had been on my back burner for a long time. The premise of the story is that Caitlin and her brother Sean are exercising in the mountains alone on a family vacation. While on the mountain something bad happens and only Sean makes it down. What happened to Caitlin is the question that drives the destruction of her family. For a thriller this ended up being a lot less thrilling than I expected. The novel is populated by characters with little redeeming values making bad choices. The part that I cared the most about, what happened to Caitlin was actually the smallest part of the book. The ending was good but it took a lot of work to get there. The characters were hard to keep track of. For instance instead of calling Sean by his name he is sometimes referred to as the boy. For the first part of the book I wasn't even sure who was being talked about. While I am glad I finally got around to reading it I doubt I will remember very much about it.
  • (3/5)
    Caitlin lives to run. With a track scholarship and college just months away, life is good. But when she disappears during a family vacation, life as they knew ends for Caitlin and her brother and her parents. Her brother, badly injured and left in the mountains, shoulders some of the blame for her disappearance. Her parents blame him and each other. In the months that follow without any clues as to where she could be, the family slowly falls apart. The author has given us an interesting story, but much of the tension he wished to build could not be sustained through long narratives vacillating from past to present and to and from different groups of characters. Some serious editing and cutting of unnecessary story threads could only have improved the finished book. He gets credit for the characters and the plot, but really, I could have skipped the middle of the book and not missed much. If only the reader before me had penciled in my book, “after the prologue, skip to part IV,” I could saved that part of my life for another, more enticing book.
  • (3/5)
    During the Courtland family vacation in Colorado, 18-year-old Caitlin is kidnapped when she accepts a ride with a stranger to get help for her injured brother. The rest of the family doesn't give up on finding her but time goes by without any sighting of her. Grant, her father, stays in Colorado, while her mother, Angela, returns to Wisconsin and tries to return to her former life. The majority of the book deals with the family trying to deal with Caitlin's absence and gets a bit long. I loved the descriptions of the Rocky Mountain area.
  • (4/5)
    It has been a couple years since I have been as riveted to a book as I was to DESCENT. Problem, though: it wasn't riveting until around page 130. Caitlin was a high school track star and will now attend college on a track scholarship. But she is abducted, first. After that are descriptions of how her mother, father, and brother each go on living with this for nearly three years. Chapters are short. No problem. But the chapters also seem scattered, not chronological. Also, throughout this book Caitlin's brother, Sean, is referred to as "the boy" almost always. This is annoying. Such constant impersonal usage in seemingly personal chapters is confusing, and the repetitiousness of that phrase makes it ridiculous.About halfway through the book, though, the suspense becomes so great, DESCENT is unputdownable.For this excellent suspense, DESCENT would rate five stars. But the several uninteresting chapters in its first half and its ridiculous constant use of "the boy" downgrades it to four. Why not three? Because its second half is truly stupendous.I won this book from the publisher through librarything.com.
  • (5/5)
    I thank Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill and Netgalley.com for the advance reading of this book.

    I yearn to chat with the world and give away the secrets in the story!
    I can only say if a lover of thrilling fiction doesn't read this book it will one of the greatest losses of their reading life! I didn't put the book down. Read until I fell asleep from exhaustion and only paused long enough to make coffee in the morning before finishing it. I had to know...what happened!

    The Rocky Mountains are there with you. You feel the chill and cold; smell the trees and breath the air.

    The author's ability to create raw emotion and life into the characters is phenomenal. The story tears at your heart. No one in the story is left unexplored; some in minor detail and some in depth. All are real and you regret not having more to know about them in the end.

    I eagerly look forward to future books from this author!

    Highly recommend the book.
  • (4/5)
    Thoroughly enjoyed this book for many reason. Great characters whose stories are told through a terrible crime. I loved every character in the Courtland family. I also enjoyed the fact the ending was good, but not everything was perfect. Not a happily every after. That makes the novel so much more realistic. The setting, (Colorado Rockies) is of course stunning as well. This story could happen to anyone and that is what makes it so intriguing to read. There is good fodder here for book clubs as well. Highly recommend this book.