Descent by Tim Johnston (4 out of 5)


If this isn’t a book club pick for those suspense lovers out there, I don’t know what is. I first heard about this book when it was out last year in hardcover; my customers kept raving. In true fashion, I didn’t listen and stayed with my debut novels. Then the postal service worker from the book store (Leonard) wouldn’t shut up about it. I hate to wait quite a few months to get it when it finally hit hardcover. Why didn’t I just buy it in hardcover? I would compare this one to a Bill Bryson travelogue about the Appalachians, but a fictional story and throw in a troubled family dynamic. So Bill Bryson meets 127 hours meets Dark Places (Gillian Flynn) and that’s what you have here. If anyone asks me for a book club pick that’ll keep them up late turning the pages and wondering what the fuck happens next, guess what? This one would be it! It didn’t get 5 stars only because there were a few parts where it lagged for me, but I sense that the author was only setting up plot points. Like landmines of whipped cream, these were just a set-up to what ultimately plays out. But as an impatient reader, I don’t often get those clues until it finishes. Regardless, an awesome thriller with a conclusion that, well, fits the plot of the book. Hard to find these days.

The Courtlands are on vacation in the scenic Rocky Mountains. What starts as a vacation- for the parents, a long-yearned for chance to repair and respark their marriage, fot Caitlin, a chance at testing out the mountains as a runner, something she has wanted to do, turns into a nightmare that no family wants to face; when Sean comes home from a run ALONE. What happened to Caitlin? What does Sean know or what is he possibly hiding? IS he hiding? Why didn’t they take more precautionary measures with their kids on vacation in a strange place? If Caitlin is alive, how hard is she fighting for her life? What part of this blame lies with circumstance, luck, and the family’s inability to cope with reality in their own lives, as well as that of the unfolding tragedy? So, so many twists and turns here that are things you don’t see coming. But it’s not all rock em, sock em over here in this book. It really does build slowly. You have the family’s story arc, and then you have Caitlin’s. One thing you will definitely have? No trouble staying up late or staying up at all reading this book. It is suspenseful and harrowing, and that end- holy shit, that end. It worked on one level, but there was a missing link there that didn’t wash with me, and that’s why I only gave it 4 stars. But for a book club pick that you can argue with? Go to this one.

~ by generationgbooks on December 15, 2015.

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