ISBN 10: 1616203048 / ISBN 13: 9781616203047
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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.

From the Back Cover: “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.
 
“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

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