Descent: A Novel

Descent: A Novel

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“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.

“If you enjoy vivid writing, intelligent plots, and gnawing your knuckles, you will love Descent.” —Susan Isaacs, author of Goldberg Variations

"Lyrical and hypnotic, Descent is a pulse-pounding thriller of the first order. But it’s also a gorgeously written, thought-provoking, and haunting novel about family, survival, and the power of a single choice. You’ll be in Johnston’s unrelenting narrative grip until the final page, and his story will stay with you long after it’s done. A truly captivating read.” —Lisa Unger, author of In the Blood



    Tim Johnston








    Algonquin Books


    Algonquin Books










    Algonquin Books


    Algonquin Books

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