Reader reviews and comments on Descent, plus links to write your own review.

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by Tim Johnston

Descent by Tim Johnston X
Descent by Tim Johnston
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2015, 384 pages
    Dec 2015, 400 pages


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could not put it down
The reader feels the pain of each family member. I found myself holding my breath. Loved this book!
Cindy C. (Withee, WI)

Great read!
I read this book in one day because I just needed to know how it ended. And I believe there could be a sequel in there too.

The book tells the story of the members of the Courtland family and what happens when their 18 year old daughter disappears. We not only get to learn how each family member handles the loss, but how Caitlin chooses not to be a victim of her captor.

The book moves at a fast pace even though sometimes it goes backwards in time. It is still easy to follow the plot. I think what I liked best is that when I got to the end I felt hope for this family, thus the thought that a sequel might be a good read also if Tim Johnston chose to write one.
Anyone who liked Deep End of the Ocean will also like this book.
Linda J. (Ballwin, MO)

Descent by Tim Johnston
Those looking for a legitimate page turner need to look no further than "Descent," a novel with a "ripped from the headlines" feel.

The Courtland family goes to the Colorado Rockies for a vacation. One morning, their daughter, Caitlin, takes her younger brother Sean and goes for a run in the mountains. She does not return and Sean is found seriously injured, unable to give any details.
A fruitless search follows. Parents Grant and Angela stay for months while the police follow up. Finally, Angela and Sean return to their Wisconsin home while Grant stays behind, unable to leave.
Johnston tells the story of a family torn apart by tragedy in unflinching, microscopic detail.
Sean has surgery to put his leg back together, but carries the scars inside him from not being able to help his sister.

Living with her sister, Grace, Angela tries to piece her life back together, but not only does she grieve for her lost daughter, the memories of when her twin, Faith, drowned come back to compound her grief.
Grant finds a job on a ranch not far from where Caitlin disappeared, and he battles his own demons of unfaithfulness. He and Angela were trying to put their marriage back on track. Now, instead of bringing them closer, Caitlin's disappearance has pulled them apart.
Sean leaves Wisconsin and heads west, picking up jobs here and there, and winds up with his father.

Johnston does a masterful job of character development, even those who might not seem relevant at the time, but play a part, no matter how small, in the storyline. He has studied family dynamics, and more than giving readers a description of their lives and emotions, he makes them live them.
This book held my attention from the first page, and I'm hoping it is made into a film. It would be great!
Sherrie R. (Fort Worth, TX)

What a wild ride!
Since I love alpine hiking and wanted to read this story about a young girl and her brother who go for a morning run up the mountains one day. Every time I opened this book, I was immediately swept into a haunting world of dark thick forest high in the Rockies, silent dark nights, and white swirling snow. It was heart pounding to read because I was not sure what would find... but impossible to put down. LOVED IT!!!
Vicki C. (Franklin, TN)

Wow! I had an impossibly difficult time putting down this book. Not only did the plot have me hooked from the first few pages but Johnston's writing enthralled me. The Courtland family and their difficulties kept the interest level high. The experiences of each of the Courtland's was well developed and so integral to the overall story. I found the novel addictively readable and would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good read.
Steve B. (Spring, TX)

Decent's Author Is On The Ascent
I found "Descent" to be a very enjoyable read. The author is a master of prose and is able to paint a picture and to make you feel that you are actually a part of the action. He moves you back and forth between the present and the past as if you are looking into a mirror.

This book is not for the faint hearted. Parts of the story are gut wrenching and others are beautiful presentations of warmth and heroics. I look forward to reading other novels by Tim Johnston.
Kathleen S. (St Louis, MO)

I just kept reading ....
Descent is the story of the Courtland family who are vacationing in the Colorado mountains with Caitlin and her brother when she goes for a run and never returns. This story is about her abduction and the efforts to track her down, of course.

But on a deeper level, Descent is about the physical and emotional toll the abduction and its aftermath take upon the whole family; it's that descent that brings the title of this book into focus. This is a story about family ties unraveling as the years go by and about the human spirit's fight for survival at any cost.

Tim Johnston has crafted a brilliant thriller, gripping in its intensity. The writing is stunning. I strongly recommend this book to thriller lovers or book club members who want to read a page turner. I liked it because it was a page turner and I kept asking myself, "How will this end."
I look forward to other books by Johnston.
William Y. (Lynchburg, VA)

Descent by Tim Johnston: a Review
To employ the term "lyrical thriller" might seem an oxymoron, but not after you have begun reading this extraordinary novel. The lyricism comes from Johnston's poetic descriptions of the natural world. The story, set in the rugged Colorado Rockies, radiates the harsh beauty of the seasons, time of day, and ongoing weather conditions. He will remind readers of Nevada Barr at her best, and his long, elegiac sentences and shifting points of view suggest Cormac McCarthy.
The standard materials for a thriller--young woman mysteriously disappears, the resultant family fears, the seeming insolubility of the case--may ring distantly familiar, but Johnston adds elements of love and concern not often found in popular thrillers. His careful descriptions of individuals and their reactions to events lift this novel out of the ordinary.
Strongly recommended, but beware: it's a page--turner you won't want to put down.

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