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The Current

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A Stunning New Novel from the Bestselling Author of Descent Tim Johnston, whose 2015 national bestseller Descent was called “astonishing” by the Washington Post and “unforgettable” by the Miami Herald, returns with another tour de force about the indelible impact of acrime on the lives of innocent people. When two young women leave their college campus in the dead of winter A Stunning New Novel from the Bestselling Author of Descent Tim Johnston, whose 2015 national bestseller Descent was called “astonishing” by the Washington Post and “unforgettable” by the Miami Herald, returns with another tour de force about the indelible impact of acrime on the lives of innocent people. When two young women leave their college campus in the dead of winter for a 700-mile drive north to Minnesota, they suddenly find themselves fighting for their lives in the icy waters of the Black Root River, just miles from home. One girl’s survival, and the other’s death—murder, actually—stun the citizens of a small Minnesota town, thawing memories of another young woman who lost her life in the same river ten years earlier, and whose killer may yet live among them. One father is forced to relive his agony while another’s greatest desire—to bring a killer to justice—is revitalized . . . and the girl who survived the icy plunge cannot escape the sense that she is connected to that earlier unsolved case by more than a river. Soon enough she’s caught up in an investigation of her own that will unearth long-hidden secrets, and stoke the violence that has long simmered just below the surface of the town. Souls frozen in time, ghosts and demons, the accused and the guilty, all stir to life in this cold northern place where memories, like treachery, run just beneath the ice, and where a young woman can come home but still not be safe. Brilliantly plotted, unrelentingly suspenseful, and beautifully realized, The Current is a gripping page-turner about how the past holds the key to the future as well as an unbreakable grip on the present.

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A Stunning New Novel from the Bestselling Author of Descent Tim Johnston, whose 2015 national bestseller Descent was called “astonishing” by the Washington Post and “unforgettable” by the Miami Herald, returns with another tour de force about the indelible impact of acrime on the lives of innocent people. When two young women leave their college campus in the dead of winter A Stunning New Novel from the Bestselling Author of Descent Tim Johnston, whose 2015 national bestseller Descent was called “astonishing” by the Washington Post and “unforgettable” by the Miami Herald, returns with another tour de force about the indelible impact of acrime on the lives of innocent people. When two young women leave their college campus in the dead of winter for a 700-mile drive north to Minnesota, they suddenly find themselves fighting for their lives in the icy waters of the Black Root River, just miles from home. One girl’s survival, and the other’s death—murder, actually—stun the citizens of a small Minnesota town, thawing memories of another young woman who lost her life in the same river ten years earlier, and whose killer may yet live among them. One father is forced to relive his agony while another’s greatest desire—to bring a killer to justice—is revitalized . . . and the girl who survived the icy plunge cannot escape the sense that she is connected to that earlier unsolved case by more than a river. Soon enough she’s caught up in an investigation of her own that will unearth long-hidden secrets, and stoke the violence that has long simmered just below the surface of the town. Souls frozen in time, ghosts and demons, the accused and the guilty, all stir to life in this cold northern place where memories, like treachery, run just beneath the ice, and where a young woman can come home but still not be safe. Brilliantly plotted, unrelentingly suspenseful, and beautifully realized, The Current is a gripping page-turner about how the past holds the key to the future as well as an unbreakable grip on the present.

30 review for The Current

  1. 5 out of 5

    Paula Kalin

    Tim Johnston has again written an outstanding literary suspense thriller! Having been introduced to the author in 2016 with, Descent, I was highly anticipating getting my hands on his next book. The Current did not disappoint! A page turning, psychological crime thriller with many twists and turns, The Current, is a dark, emotional novel filled with tension and rage, guilt and revenge, but also compassion. Two friends leave college to drive to Minnesota to visit Audrey’s father, retired sheriff To Tim Johnston has again written an outstanding literary suspense thriller! Having been introduced to the author in 2016 with, Descent, I was highly anticipating getting my hands on his next book. The Current did not disappoint! A page turning, psychological crime thriller with many twists and turns, The Current, is a dark, emotional novel filled with tension and rage, guilt and revenge, but also compassion. Two friends leave college to drive to Minnesota to visit Audrey’s father, retired sheriff Tom Sutter, as he is getting close to the end with cancer. A stop at a gas station in Iowa not far from the Minnesota border brings about an unfortunate event never expected. Hurrying to get back on the road again in the harsh, cold winter, their car goes off the side of the road and unexpectedly plungs into the Black Root River. This book brings to life the atmosphere of small town living. Ten years ago a similar accident caused the death of a young girl, Holly, by drowning in the same river. Circumstances put a young man, Danny Young, under suspicion, but he was never convicted. Filled with likable characters, Johnston shows both sides to each individual. Their kindness, but also the hidden darkness inside all. I loved the storyline centering on Wyatt, a rescued dog of Danny’s, that plays on your heartstrings throughout the book. This is a book about how people, whether they be family, neighbors, or friends, look at a person under suspicion ever if cleared, and which changes their life forever. This is about the strength of two young women under devastating circumstances. Written with beautiful prose, Tim Johnston’s book is his second to be added to my favorite book list. With so many thrillers out there, The Current, stands above them. Highly recommend. 5 out of 5 stars Thanks to Algonquin Books, Andrew, and the talented Tim Johnston for sending this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Publication Date - January 22, 2019

  2. 5 out of 5

    Susanne Strong

    4 Stars. A Taut, Tension filled Thriller that kept me on my Toes! When two girls go into the river, only one comes out, nineteen year-old Audrey Sutter. Ten years ago another girl’s life was lost to that same river: Holly Burke - her death was suspicious and though there was a suspect, he was never charged. The Sheriff at the time was Tom Sutter, Audrey Sutter’s father, he has never forgiven himself for letting the killer go free. Now, his own life hangs in the balance. Gordon Burke re-lives his 4 Stars. A Taut, Tension filled Thriller that kept me on my Toes! When two girls go into the river, only one comes out, nineteen year-old Audrey Sutter. Ten years ago another girl’s life was lost to that same river: Holly Burke - her death was suspicious and though there was a suspect, he was never charged. The Sheriff at the time was Tom Sutter, Audrey Sutter’s father, he has never forgiven himself for letting the killer go free. Now, his own life hangs in the balance. Gordon Burke re-lives his daughter’s death every single day and wants justice more than anything. Audrey Sutter remembers the feel of breaking through the ice, the woosh of the river, the insane cold against her skin and the break of bones. Most of all she remembers her best friend Caroline. Knowing she can’t get her back, she dives into the past, for her best friend, her father - the Sheriff, Gordon Burke and most of all, for that girl who was lost to so many oh so long ago. Full of intrigue, lies, secrets and suspense, “The Current” is a novel which I loved from start to finish. I highly recommend this mystery if you are looking for a novel to keep you enthralled throughout. Published on Goodreads on 2.5.19

  3. 4 out of 5

    JanB

    "Because it was only girls…in the river…it’s always been only girls.”   In a small town in Minnesota, in the depths of winter, a car with two girls goes in the river, but only one girl survives. The survivor claims they were pushed into the river. The crime is eerily similar to the death of a young girl in the river 10 years ago, a murder than was never solved. The recent death dredges up an unresolved past with long-buried griefs and suspicions. We see the poisonous effects of an unresolved murde "Because it was only girls…in the river…it’s always been only girls.”   In a small town in Minnesota, in the depths of winter, a car with two girls goes in the river, but only one girl survives. The survivor claims they were pushed into the river. The crime is eerily similar to the death of a young girl in the river 10 years ago, a murder than was never solved. The recent death dredges up an unresolved past with long-buried griefs and suspicions. We see the poisonous effects of an unresolved murder on the residents of this small town. A murder that changed their lives forever.   This is a literary, character-driven mystery, not a suspenseful whodunit. I like deep dives into character’s psyches so this style worked for me. The mood is dark and grim, and the suspicions and heartaches in this town run deep. I came to care about the characters and felt their grief and sorrow as well as their desire for resolution and vengeance. Even Wyatt, the old dog who is grieving the loss of his master and is nearing the end of his life touched my heart.   The first half of the novel was a slow build-up with setting up the characters and the backstory. It required a fair bit of attention and concentration and it took me a while to figure out who was who and what had happened. But it was worth it. In the last half, everything came together beautifully and I found myself unable to tear myself away from the pages.    I loved Johnston’s writing style. There is a strong sense of place and a depth to his prose and characters. The unrelenting cold of a Minnesota winter is nearly a character itself in this atmospheric tale and I felt chilled to the bone as I read.    “Life was organic and that was one kind of energy, ashes to ashes, but there was also energy between living beings, currents that traveled between them outside of biology, and that energy could not be buried, and neither could it fade into nothing, because energy never just ended, it transformed and recycled and you felt it even if you didn’t believe in it. Souls. Spirits. Whatever you call it there was a current and you were always in it always and you couldn’t bury it.’   Highly recommended for fans of character-driven, literary mysteries who don’t mind an ending that is not tied up neatly in a bow.  4.5 stars rounded up to 5 because of the gorgeous writing. I buddy read this with my good friend Marialyce and it led to some interesting discussions. Thanks Marialyce!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    Life is about the intrusion of the unexpected. Sun-filled, glorious days fill us with the ease of life and its gentle flow. But it is in the ravaged moments of night that brutal reality visits upon us. And with it comes the jagged scars that are deep, very very deep. Two Iowa college girls take to the road heading north in the midst of an icy Minnesota winter. One girl has home as her destination. The other girl will have quite the unplanned destination. They stop nearly out of gas at a small town Life is about the intrusion of the unexpected. Sun-filled, glorious days fill us with the ease of life and its gentle flow. But it is in the ravaged moments of night that brutal reality visits upon us. And with it comes the jagged scars that are deep, very very deep. Two Iowa college girls take to the road heading north in the midst of an icy Minnesota winter. One girl has home as her destination. The other girl will have quite the unplanned destination. They stop nearly out of gas at a small town convenience store. A simple trip to the outside restroom will place them face-to-face with some hard-boned individuals from hell. They will soon find themselves on the banks of the Lower Black Root River facing consequences that they could never have imagined. Tim Johnston presents a story that will evoke a whole range of escalating emotions. If you have read his previous book, Descent, you know where his talents lie. I simply had to give this one all the stars......the mighty 5-Star medal of honor. The storyline has a definitive ebb and flow like the aforementioned river. But it's his uncanny ability to hone his characters into believable, raw, achingly human individuals who tread the high roads of life as well as the dark, foreboding roads, too. Johnston can take unspeakable grief and give it a face. Agony and vengeance find a voice here. And not all heartbreak in life finds its way to the surface. Real people hold onto it and clutch it because it truly belongs to them alone. Pay attention to each soul that weaves a pattern throughout this story. Savor the dialogue. Prepare yourself for Old Wyatt the cripped up rescue dog. We all serve our purpose in life whether of long or short duration. Tim Johnston gives us a hand on the shoulder to remind us of that truth. I received a copy of The Current through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Algonquin Books and to the very talented Tim Johnston for the opportunity.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Fran

    Two best girlfriends were travelling by car from their Southern college to a small town in Minnesota. Caroline Price had generously volunteered to drive Audrey Sutter seven hundred miles to visit her father, Retired Sheriff Tom Sutter. Sheriff Sutter had inoperable lung cancer. A late night gas station stop in Iowa, near the Minnesota border, on a raw snowy night, turned deadly leaving Caroline missing and Audrey barely alive. The gas station, approximately two deserted miles from the highway loo Two best girlfriends were travelling by car from their Southern college to a small town in Minnesota. Caroline Price had generously volunteered to drive Audrey Sutter seven hundred miles to visit her father, Retired Sheriff Tom Sutter. Sheriff Sutter had inoperable lung cancer. A late night gas station stop in Iowa, near the Minnesota border, on a raw snowy night, turned deadly leaving Caroline missing and Audrey barely alive. The gas station, approximately two deserted miles from the highway looked desolate. Two vehicles were parked near the ladies restroom, one being a two-tone truck. A bathroom pit stop...Audrey was accosted...Caroline pepper sprayed the young men...then...Audrey and Caroline stumbled to Caroline's RAV4 and attempted to drive away. As they approached an icy trestle bridge, the car was rear ended and plunged, nose first, into the Black Root River. Audrey woke up in the hospital, Caroline was presumed dead. Who would do such a thing? Gordon Burke used to co-own Burke-Young Plumbing and Supply. A decade ago, his sixteen year old daughter, Holly was found dead in the Black Root River. A car accident...but...when still alive, she was pushed or had fallen into the river. Why did Danny Young skip work that day to go hunting? Danny seemed to be the prime suspect. No case...lack of witnesses or evidence. Immeasurable grief and loss. Sheriff Sutter never found Holly Burke's killer. Gordon Burke wondered, "What would he do for himself that he didn't do for me?' There is no longer Burke- Young Plumbing and Supply. Rachel Young, the onetime suspect's mother, is somewhat comforted by the presence of Danny's old dog, left behind by Danny. Waging an uphill battle, Audrey is determined to fight back in memory of Caroline and to jump start her stalled life journey. "The Current" by Tim Johnston is an atmospheric, psychological, emotionally packed novel. The mysterious, unsolved drownings in Black Root River were difficult to fathom, culpability difficult to unmask. Author Johnston very successfully created numerous twists and turns to mislead and pique the reader's interest. Highly recommended! Thank you Algonquin Books and Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review "The Current".

  6. 4 out of 5

    Berit☀️✨

    An atmospheric story alive with tension and emotion! Tim Johnston has written a book that I not only Red but I felt. I felt the tension in my head, I felt the emotion in my heart, and I felt the cold in my bones. There was something so real and raw about this story. It is one of those books that will stick with you long after you turn the last page! Audrey and Caroline are driving from their southern college to Audreys home in northern Minnesota. Audrey is going home to see her father who is fight An atmospheric story alive with tension and emotion! Tim Johnston has written a book that I not only Red but I felt. I felt the tension in my head, I felt the emotion in my heart, and I felt the cold in my bones. There was something so real and raw about this story. It is one of those books that will stick with you long after you turn the last page! Audrey and Caroline are driving from their southern college to Audreys home in northern Minnesota. Audrey is going home to see her father who is fighting cancer. As they approach audrey’s hometown they make a choice that will change everything... A bathroom break, an assault, an icy road, a narrow bridge, and the girls plummet into the icy river. Two girls go in, one comes out alive, and the other one is missing... but this was no accident. This tragedy dredges up a similar tragedy that happened 10 years ago... a different girl, but the same River. Audrey’s father who was sheriff at the time, headed up the investigation, but is there a connection to this current tragedy? Audrey is devastated, not only dealing with the loss of her friend, but her father’s disease. Consumed with guilt and grief Audrey investigates the past in order to come to terms with the present. This was a taut tense psychological crime thriller, that you will not be able to put down. I was riveted by every word in this book and drawn to every character. There is something so vulnerable about Audrey, yet she was so strong and smart, i really found myself rooting for her. The rest of the characters were equally compelling, there was something so true about each and every one of them. The mystery was brilliantly crafted full of twists and misdirection. I enjoyed every minute I spend with Audrey trying to figure out what happened 10 years ago, and if it was somehow related to her own tragedy. An absorbing thriller full of guilt, grief, tension, miss direction, and emotion! Absolutely recommend! 🎧🎧🎧 this audiobook was narrated by Sarah Mollo-Christiensen and she did a stellar job! This is the first book I have listened to that she narrated and she really brought these characters to life. Song Running Through My Mind Time, time time, see what's become of me While I looked around for my possibilities I was so hard to please Don't look around The leaves are brown And the sky is a hazy shade of winter Hear the Salvation Army band Down by the riverside's, there's bound to be a better ride Than what you've got planned Carry your cup in your hand And look around Leaves are brown, now And the sky is a hazy shade of winter Hang on to your hopes, my friend That's an easy thing to say But if your hopes should pass away Simply pretend that you can build them again Look around The grass is high The fields are ripe It's the springtime of my life Seasons change with the scenery Weaving time in a tapestry Won't you stop and remember me At any convenient time? https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TxrwImC... *** many thanks to Algonquin Books for my copy ***

  7. 5 out of 5

    marilyn

    Early in the book a vehicle is pushed into a river that is frozen on the surface but that has a raging current under the ice. The car contains two college girls, one who survives the river and one who doesn't. Ten years earlier another girl, the same age, died in this river, miles upstream, when someone threw her in the river after hitting her with a vehicle. The writing in this book is different and it took a few chapters for me to get used to the way the book was written but once I got the rhy Early in the book a vehicle is pushed into a river that is frozen on the surface but that has a raging current under the ice. The car contains two college girls, one who survives the river and one who doesn't. Ten years earlier another girl, the same age, died in this river, miles upstream, when someone threw her in the river after hitting her with a vehicle. The writing in this book is different and it took a few chapters for me to get used to the way the book was written but once I got the rhythm of the words, the reading became easier for me. Still, there are times when I feel like way too many words are used in describing things, especially dreams and memories. For me, that's the only place I feel the book could be improved. The characters and the dialogue are very well written and I cared about so many of the characters for that reason. There is so much emotion in the story and for good reason when a father's daughter is murdered and even though he thinks he knows who the murderer is, the person is never charged. Another father almost loses his daughter and he wants to punish the person who attacked her despite the fact that the father is dying. I really liked the twins Daniel and Marky and a highlight for me was the dog Wyatt, a dog who is loved by his human family as much as the humans love each other.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Tim Johnston, and Algonquin Books for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review. In my first exploration of Tim Johnston’s work, the novel took a journey that may literally chill the reader to the bone. On their way back from college, two young women stop for gas in the middle of winter. A simple fill-up soon turns sour when one is assaulted by two men who prey on her solitude. After fen First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Tim Johnston, and Algonquin Books for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review. In my first exploration of Tim Johnston’s work, the novel took a journey that may literally chill the reader to the bone. On their way back from college, two young women stop for gas in the middle of winter. A simple fill-up soon turns sour when one is assaulted by two men who prey on her solitude. After fending them off, the women rush to their vehicle and continue on their way, hoping the worst is behind them. Bright headlights soon creep up in the rearview mirror and the vehicle is bumped off the road, teetering on the edge of a body of water. In the moments before they lose consciousness, both women vow to get through this together. When Audrey Sutter wakes, she is in the hospital with significant injuries. Her friend was not so lucky, having perished before a passer-by called the authorities. Now, with her fractured memories (and bones), Audrey must relay what she knows to the sheriff, who tries to formulate a suspect list. Audrey’s father, Tom, is a former sheriff himself and will not stand idly by as he seeks to locate the perpetrators. However, this proves harder than it seems and leads go colder faster than the ice water in which his daughter was once submerged. With a cold case coming to the surface and the local sheriff choosing to run things at his own pace, those who sought to kill Audrey remain at large, but are they watching so that they can finish the job? Johnston weaves an interesting tale that seeks to control the reader’s experience like a strong-willed river current. With all the elements for a successful novel, I am not sure why this one missed the mark for me. Having sampled no past work by the author, I am required to let my gut and first impressions steer me. Johnston utilised many of the needed elements to craft a decent novel, including a crime and assault to open the story. However, it would seem that there was a supersaturation of information that diluted much of the delivery. Audrey Sutter, who plays at least a partial protagonist character, proves to be somewhat likeable, though I did not feel a strong connection to her. She’s young and is forced to come to terms with much loss in short order. Still, I would have liked to feel as though her fate (and finding the person/people who tried to kill her) meant more to me. The same goes for many of the other characters who crossed the pages of the book, including the retired cop Tom Sutter. Instead, many of the names and their backstories blended together to form a giant wad of narrative goop. Johnston had some great ideas amidst the various tangential storylines, something that I think might better have been developed in a series. While the central crime does recur, there are so many people with insights on different plots that the reader is forced to parse through all the discussions and keep things straight. Johnston has a strong writing style and I applaud this, but I could not find a level of comfort to pull me through this piece. Best of luck for those seeking a story with lots to offer, but too much to digest. Kudos, Mr. Johnston, for your efforts. Not my cup of tea, though the premise drew me in from the outset. Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at: http://pecheyponderings.wordpress.com/ A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...

  9. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    “The nose of the car drops over the edge of the bank and the world pitches, and their own weight rolls forward through their bodies as at the top of a roller coaster just before the drop – the deep human fear of falling, the plunging heart, and there’s no stopping it and no getting out and nothing to do but hold on. And down they go, fast and easy in the snow, toboggan-smooth, hand in hand, their grips so tight, the grips of girls much younger, girls who will not be separated, their faces forwar “The nose of the car drops over the edge of the bank and the world pitches, and their own weight rolls forward through their bodies as at the top of a roller coaster just before the drop – the deep human fear of falling, the plunging heart, and there’s no stopping it and no getting out and nothing to do but hold on. And down they go, fast and easy in the snow, toboggan-smooth, hand in hand, their grips so tight, the grips of girls much younger, girls who will not be separated, their faces forward, watching the surface of the river, the black glistening ice as it rushes up toward them, larger and larger, until there’s nothing in the windshield but the ice, dark and wide as an ocean and they are going to it, they are going to strike it nose-first with the car and they can imagine that, the sudden ending of forward motion as the car meets the plane of the ice, but after that they cannot imagine, they have never been here before and there is no way to know what will happen next except to go through it…” - Tim Johnston,The Current On their way to Minnesota, two college girls end up in the Black Root River. One girl drowns. The other girl, Audrey Sutter, is pulled from the frigid, icy waters alive. How they ended up in the river is one mystery. There will be more. When I read Tim Johnston’s Descent back in 2016, it blew me away. It was a surprisingly good hybrid thriller, part Iowa Writers’ Workshop, part James Patterson. The story it told, of the abduction of a young woman, is quite familiar, both in fiction and in real life. The way Johnston told it, though, was unique. He wrote beautifully, with an impeccable sense of place. And he wrote perceptively, with a keen eye for characterizations. He was interested in bigger things, and showed that in the sensitive way he examined how the loss of a loved one leaves an aching hole in one’s heart. Johnston brings those same talents and sensitivities to bear on a story that, on first blush, also seems quite common. The Current is a novel about a small town, and big secrets, and an old murder. All ground that has been tilled before. Yet Johnston makes it all seem incredibly fresh. It is as though a chef from a Michelin-starred restaurant walked into an Applebee’s and started preparing dinner. The main character is Audrey, whose dying father happens to be the former sheriff of her small community. As she starts to investigate the events that led to her near-death experience, she stumbles upon clues that will reopen a decades-old murder that also ended with a girl in the Black Root River. Audrey is a complex protagonist, stubborn and inquisitive, filled in equal measure with courage and half-baked ideas. She follows on the heels of Descent’s Caitlin Courtland, a woman who has been victimized but refuses to be a victim. In that sense, The Current feels very of-the-moment. (Both Caitlin and Audrey are less violent though just-as-determined versions of the forty-years-later version of Laurie Strode in the updated Halloween). Audrey, though, is only one of many figures who capture Johnston’s roving eye. The Current is told from a limited third-person perspective, shifting from Audrey to her father, the ex-Sheriff Sutter, to the dead girl’s father, Gordon Burke, and to the onetime suspect’s mother, Rachel. These people, and more, are finely wrought, drawn with indelible details. Johnston creates these men and women with incredible precision. In just a scene or two, often a quiet scene, he can make these people come alive. Johnston’s efficiency and ease in crafting his characters puts me in mind of Stewart O’Nan. The Current is a genre thriller done with true literary flare. Johnston writes gorgeously, his prose leaping off the page. Always, though, the prose is in service to the story. The structure of his sentences, his choice of words, the cadences and rhythms, all add to the mood. Speaking of mood, this novel has it. The Current is dark and grim and relentlessly focused on its themes of grief and loss, of past mistakes, and of the twists and currents of fate. Along with the mood Johnston provides plenty of atmospherics. The descriptions of the river, the forests, the cold, are almost tactile. Meltwater ran across the roads in streams and hissed under the tires and you could put the window down and smell the earth and you knew the winter wasn’t forever after all and the land would be green again, the river would flow again, and from the bridges you could see the slabs of ice jutting into the air, and if you pulled over and stood on the bank you could see the slabs moving and grinding against each other like icebergs, like ships, all in a tight puzzle-work of pieces and all of it moving together foot by foot downriver, cracking and popping and grinding as the river below swelled with the thaw and pushed and surged and would not be stopped. Complimenting the wonderfully descriptive writing is Johnston’s stylized dialogue, the characters’ speech patterns imbued with a weariness of past sorrows that reminded me of Cormac McCarthy in No Country For Old Men. There is, for example, a moment when Gordon Burke, father of the murdered Holly Burke, talks to Sheriff Sutter about the newest fatality of the Black Root River: “That man down in Georgia,” Gordon said, “that girl’s father? Hell, he ain't even the same man anymore, Sheriff. He’s already some other man.” The Current is suspenseful and well-plotted, meaning that your natural inclination is to read it as fast as you can. That’s probably the novel’s biggest downside. As the momentum hurries you along, you forget to stop and enjoy the craftsmanship. More pertinently, you might miss some of the clues strewn along the way. When I finished, I definitely had to flip back through the pages to make sure I caught everything. The ending here is absolutely mesmerizing. There are two central riddles that require solving. One is the murder of Holly Burke. The other involves the death of Audrey’s friend. In stunning fashion, Johnston delivers two conclusions, one that is fit for the standard potboiler, while the other attempts to wrap its arms around the cosmos. That’s super vague, I know, but I can’t say any more without ruining it. I will say, though, that the last page, the very last page, struck me with a force that stunned me, left me gaping, slack-jawed in bed. It tied things together in a way that I had not foreseen, with a power that is hard to describe. I wish that I could tell you more about it. I wish that we could get together, crack open a bottle of Sutter Home chardonnay, pour some over ice, and have a half-buzzed book club discussion about it. Barring that, you will have to read this for yourselves, on your own. And you should. The Current is smart and sharp and deep and sad. It is easy to read, hard to forget, and thoroughly entertaining. (I received an advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review).

  10. 5 out of 5

    Marialyce

    4.5 so well written stars Ten years ago a young girl went into the freezing cold river. She was murdered and a family, a father, and a small town reeled from the shock, a loss of life that sent currents through lives that were never to be the same again. The murderer was never found. Yes, there was a suspect, a young man, whose family was devastated and as the young man is let go, he runs away. He runs from a family, a twin brother, and a mother who loved him. He runs from a dog, whose devotion 4.5 so well written stars Ten years ago a young girl went into the freezing cold river. She was murdered and a family, a father, and a small town reeled from the shock, a loss of life that sent currents through lives that were never to be the same again. The murderer was never found. Yes, there was a suspect, a young man, whose family was devastated and as the young man is let go, he runs away. He runs from a family, a twin brother, and a mother who loved him. He runs from a dog, whose devotion never wavers. He runs from a town that has already decided he is guilty and will never forgive him. Now, ten years later two young women go into the lake and only one comes out alive. The tragedy brings back once again the hurt, the devastation, the sadness experienced by the people who were involved in the first tragedy. Is the same killer back? As this current murder brings up the former one, the people once again reflect and find themselves caught up in both tragedies. Will there be answers and will the murderer be caught and receive his just desserts? This was a an amazingly well written book, one that led the reader slowly, ever so slowly to its conclusion. We are given clues, but more importantly we are given characters that evoke sadness, compassion, and pity. We see lives ruined, families torn apart, grief and mourning for years the lives that were lost and yes, there was more than one life lost. The author makes you believe and think about loss, think about the repercussions that reverberate for a lifetime for those who lost a loved one and those who walk with an aura of suspicion surrounding them. There are no easy answers and just like in life itself, the author provides us with instances that make you think, make you wonder, and make you understand that life is not something tied up in a neat little package. Life is a series of hurt, of being buffeted, and agonized over the way in which life has treated you. Kudos to you, Mr Johnston for writing what I consider as a thinking person's book. This book made me feel the hurt and pain, made me feel the cold of the lake and its environs, make me feel the current that ran not only through the lake but also through a town and its people. This book managed to bring about some wonderful discussions between my book buddy, Jan and I, and isn't that what a prodigious book does? We heartily recommend this one.

  11. 4 out of 5

    karen

    reviewing for LA review of books, pub date TBD.

  12. 4 out of 5

    DeAnn

    5 "treacherous river current" stars to this one I was utterly captivated by the writing in this book. The story was very compelling, and the suspense built throughout the book, but I wouldn’t characterize it as your typical thriller. The book opens with two college friends on a road trip to Minnesota when things take a terrible turn. The rest of the book deals with the aftermath and the connections to a similar crime ten years ago. Small town life is explored, secrets unearthed, and old suspicious 5 "treacherous river current" stars to this one I was utterly captivated by the writing in this book. The story was very compelling, and the suspense built throughout the book, but I wouldn’t characterize it as your typical thriller. The book opens with two college friends on a road trip to Minnesota when things take a terrible turn. The rest of the book deals with the aftermath and the connections to a similar crime ten years ago. Small town life is explored, secrets unearthed, and old suspicious aroused. Themes of grief and unresolved tension fill the small town. The characters are achingly real. The main character is Audrey, who has returned home full of guilt and facing an uncertain future. She is the daughter of the dying former sheriff who regrets never solving the case from ten years ago. There is the grieving father and the young man that everyone thinks committed the crime ten years ago, yet he was never charged. We can’t forget the beloved dog in the mix, too. There are a few unresolved points at the end of the book, which makes me wonder about an interesting sequel in the future. Or, perhaps, like in real-life, some things are never resolved. I highly recommend this one, I predict that it will be a favorite read of mine for 2019. This is a fantastic read! The writing is top-notch, the story is chilling, and I even had a dream about it!! A few passages I liked: He walked around to the driver’s side of the truck, the night so still and cold there was only the sound of his boots on the packed snow, the sound of his own breath, but then, under these sounds and far off, he heard a tinny jangling, a faint rattling that was the sound of a dog running somewhere and he turned back toward the yard, toward the fields beyond. But there was no dog, no dark shape moving fast over the white. There was only the snow and the farm light and the dark, unmoving shadows on the snow. He pointed to the trees as they walked and seemed to give them their names: Jack pine. Black spruce. Balsam fir. Hemlock. White pine. He told her his old grandad was a logger from the old days and knew everything there was to know about trees. Signed up when he was fourteen and worked every job there was, you name it: Chokerman, chaser, high climber, Faller. Bucker. “Funny thing is, I do believe a tree was the most beautiful thing in the world to that old man. When he looked at one, he saw a hundred things all at once. Logging put clothes on his kids backs, food on their plates. That’s all there was to it.” Early thoughts: *update: Tim Johnston was funny and engaging in person, comparing the craft of writing to carpentry. Lucky for us, carpentry gives him time to think of the next book! I finished this one just in time for my event today. I will write my review after gathering my thoughts and hearing what Tim Johnston has to say.

  13. 4 out of 5

    J.K. Grice

    Ever since I was 10 years old I have spent countless hours in the company of rivers. I have fished them, canoed them, floated them, boated them, and waded them. I have been submerged under their surfaces, sometimes by choice and sometimes not. There are times in high water when a river can be frightening, incredibly powerful, and awe inspiring. Then there are other months when the water is so low, it doesn't even appear to be flowing, as if the entire riverbed is one big puddle, left behind by s Ever since I was 10 years old I have spent countless hours in the company of rivers. I have fished them, canoed them, floated them, boated them, and waded them. I have been submerged under their surfaces, sometimes by choice and sometimes not. There are times in high water when a river can be frightening, incredibly powerful, and awe inspiring. Then there are other months when the water is so low, it doesn't even appear to be flowing, as if the entire riverbed is one big puddle, left behind by some long forgotten rain. When I started taking my son to rivers at the age of 3, I told him one important rule that we never forget around them. I said, "The river is the boss." And with every trip we took to our rivers, I would ask him that rule, and he would repeat it to me. It was our mantra of safety, of insuring that we would have fun together and make it back home together. Because in a river, the current is always there. The higher the water, of course the more violent the force and pull of that current. CURRENT is defined as "the part of a body of water moving continuously in a definite direction." CURRENT can also be defined as "a tendency or course of events that is usually the result of an interplay of forces." In Tim Johnston's brilliant second novel, both of these definitions are deftly realized. Like Tim Johnston, I grew up in Iowa and we both know about small towns and small town people. I think what I appreciated most about THE CURRENT were the rich characters and the striking prose. Johnston has such a powerful use of language where images become so vivd and tactile, that you can actually feel or taste or smell exactly what he is talking about. He definitely pulls at all of your senses, and he says a lot with simple, clean, strong writing. Johnston is honest and you believe everything he's telling you on this fascinating journey through the final winter months, in Iowa and Minnesota. THE CURRENT is a true literary mystery and a first rate thriller. It's also about the courage people discover in themselves and others as their lives progress and intertwine. A course of events; an interplay of forces. Aubrey Sutter, Ed Moran, Danny Young, Gordon Burke, and all of the other players here will remain in my mind for some time to come. Very well done, Mr. Johnston! "A man really never knows himself, Ed" he said. He thinks he does, but he doesn't. There's something in him that goes deeper than anything in his raising or beliefs or his badge or whatever the hell he lives by. And once he reaches that place, well. Right and wrong are just words." ~Sheriff Tom Sutter

  14. 4 out of 5

    ABookwormWithWine

    ⭐⭐⭐💫 / 5 rounded up. Well, I did not like The Current by Tim Johnston as much as I liked his novel Descent, but it was still a captivating read that pulls at your heartstrings. What it's about: 2 college students, Caroline Price and Audrey Sutter, are on a road trip from their college campus in Georgia to Minnesota so Audrey can see her dying father. It is the dead of winter, and Caroline's car ends up going into the river, with only one of them making it out alive. Years earlier another girl wa ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 / 5 rounded up. Well, I did not like The Current by Tim Johnston as much as I liked his novel Descent, but it was still a captivating read that pulls at your heartstrings. What it's about: 2 college students, Caroline Price and Audrey Sutter, are on a road trip from their college campus in Georgia to Minnesota so Audrey can see her dying father. It is the dead of winter, and Caroline's car ends up going into the river, with only one of them making it out alive. Years earlier another girl was pulled from the river, and Audrey's sheriff father never did arrest anyone for it. Could these deaths be related? One father is desperate to find out. I wouldn't really call this book a thriller, but it is definitely a very emotional mystery. I ended up being hooked from the very beginning, and was very intrigued by the writing voice Johnston went with. Like I said at the beginning of my review, The Current is an emotional novel that makes you think about father/daughter bonds, and how far family will go to protect each other. The different perspectives that Johnston chose to use made a small town in Minnesota seem even smaller, and also causes you to think about how crime effects a small town and the people in it. The Current is a thinker of a book that is a slow-burn mystery with lots of focus on the characters. Final Thought: There is a lot of soul to the books that Johnston writes, and they always make me think about things that I normally wouldn't focus on in a mystery. [book:The Current|36387759 is a lot more than your standard mystery novel, and I would recommend to people that like lots of depth to their novels. Both character wise, and plot wise. Just keep in mind that a thriller it is not, but the mystery will surprise you, and the ending seemed to come out of nowhere for me. Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an advance review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Yenidogan Ozmekik

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A captivating, perfectly written and definitely not a typical thriller book. It’s so much better. You have to give your full attention for catching jumps in time. The story telling was brilliant and characters are depicted so realistically. It may be a little shorter but I still enjoy every page of it. There are some unresolved points at the end and that make me wonder if a new sequel may come. I think I need to read more books of Tim Johnston. I’m glad to find a new thriller writer!!!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Well I find myself thinking of The Current and it is like a force of something powerful that reminds me of sitting in high school English reading something that is supposed to be profound about mankind or nature or life or maybe all three but all I was thinking about having to work later and how long could this book be would it ever end and how could so many words that were supposed to mean something be so tired? The Current reads just like that word salad. It is trying to be deep but it's so bus Well I find myself thinking of The Current and it is like a force of something powerful that reminds me of sitting in high school English reading something that is supposed to be profound about mankind or nature or life or maybe all three but all I was thinking about having to work later and how long could this book be would it ever end and how could so many words that were supposed to mean something be so tired? The Current reads just like that word salad. It is trying to be deep but it's so busy filling in every space with thoughts that aren't half as clever as the words it wraps them in that it forgets things like character development and plot. The Current is a meandering ride to nowhere.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Audrey Sutter and Caroline Price drive 700 miles to Minnesota from their southern college in order for Audrey to be with her Dad who is dying of lung cancer. They stop at a dodgy gas station, and encounter two ‘good-old-boys’ that want to toy with them. Fast thinking allows them to escape, but they end up driving too fast and slipping on the icy road next to the frozen Black Root River. And then a vehicle comes up behind them and nudges their RAV4 onto the ice. The ice breaks and the current take Audrey Sutter and Caroline Price drive 700 miles to Minnesota from their southern college in order for Audrey to be with her Dad who is dying of lung cancer. They stop at a dodgy gas station, and encounter two ‘good-old-boys’ that want to toy with them. Fast thinking allows them to escape, but they end up driving too fast and slipping on the icy road next to the frozen Black Root River. And then a vehicle comes up behind them and nudges their RAV4 onto the ice. The ice breaks and the current takes the girls away—one dies and one lives. But more than that, the frozen shards of ice pierce the small town’s memory of another death that happened ten years previously. The murder of teenager Holly Burke still haunts the community. Gordon Burke, Holly’s father, seems paralyzed with grief. Danny Young was accused of the crime, but lack of evidence kept him from being charged. No matter, he lives his life like a doomed man in exile. His twin brother and mother hope that he will eventually return home. In the meantime they care for his beloved dog Wyatt. And Audrey’s dad? He was the sheriff that conducted the initial investigation and replays the cold case repeatedly in his mind trying to find answers. Johnston imbues this story with heavy atmospherics—the brittle cold of Minnesota, the smells of the river, and even the taste of oily, grease-encrusted fingers. But his forte is developing characters that are believable as they ache with unspeakable grief. This is an emotionally packed novel where secrets seek to pull them under and drown them. The predator is counting on those secrets being kept. Audrey Sutter is breaking that ‘ice’ with all of her questions. Could that put her in danger? You bet. Not all of Johnston’s story is temporal. Audrey meets ghosts in the river when she falls through the ice. Marky, Danny Young’s twin, has knowledge of his brother through dreams. Johnston even adds a spiritual conclusion to his temporal one. Highly recommend this ‘literary’ murder/mystery.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

    Tim Johnston has written an excellent novel, the kind of book that's timely without being repetitive, and horrifying without being repellent. The Current is the kind of book that sucks you in and holds you in place until it's finished with you - I read it in one sitting - and it's not until you realise you haven't moved in hours that you notice the grip it's taken on you. It's the kind of fiction that feels like a snapshot of reality; characters and places so real and so perfectly written that y Tim Johnston has written an excellent novel, the kind of book that's timely without being repetitive, and horrifying without being repellent. The Current is the kind of book that sucks you in and holds you in place until it's finished with you - I read it in one sitting - and it's not until you realise you haven't moved in hours that you notice the grip it's taken on you. It's the kind of fiction that feels like a snapshot of reality; characters and places so real and so perfectly written that you'll remember them as people, rather than part of a book you read once. At the heart of the book are two incidents, separated from each other by a decade. But the unresolved past never did like to lie quietly, and when two college girls have an accident that sends their car into a frozen river, it's not only the ice that breaks but the silence that held a community in stasis for so long. Though I usually find myself suspicious of books with so many glowing reviews, this one really lives up to the hype. This one will be with me for some time.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Chandra Claypool (wherethereadergrows)

    From the very first page, I could tell this was going to be an atmospheric read. There's country/small town and big city books. A lot of what we read in the mystery/thriller genre is based in larger cities such as London and New York. Then we get ones like this that are catered to that small town feel. A more intimate setting where people know each other and their families for decades and the sting is sharper and the reveal or overall coming is told in a more subtle, concise way that still leave From the very first page, I could tell this was going to be an atmospheric read. There's country/small town and big city books. A lot of what we read in the mystery/thriller genre is based in larger cities such as London and New York. Then we get ones like this that are catered to that small town feel. A more intimate setting where people know each other and their families for decades and the sting is sharper and the reveal or overall coming is told in a more subtle, concise way that still leaves a mark. That is what this story did for me. This book transverses from past to present and could be a little confusing at the beginning. I'm a big believer in using quotation marks for dialogue and the author doesn't for the past conversations but does for the present. It didn't quite bother me in this book as it has in others because at least there was a pattern to it - I think some of you know what I mean. The way this was written was absolutely beautiful. I enjoyed this style a lot - at times it felt (to me) like that narrator from the movie 300 telling me the story.. but then my mind is a strange place. 🤣 I felt great compassion for the characters - Johnston really brings out their raw emotions and makes you feel each and every one of them. From the girls and their skin crawling encounters, to the men and women who have lost their children. I'm a tad confused at the ending and would have like a little closure on one particular part... however, this is an extraordinary book. Absolutely solid in the somber feel from page one to the very last. This book gave me a little bit of Reconstruction Amelia and Good as Gone feels but I couldn't tell you exactly why. Sometimes a book just reminds you of another one and they could have absolutely nothing in common but evoke a feeling. Atmospheric, Emotional and Raw. Thank you to Algonquin Books for this copy.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I went into this one blindly only knowing reviewers were saying "it's better than his first." I haven't read his first but the second was very, very good. I only give it 4 stars because I'm a reader who likes complete closure and you don't get that in this book. The book grabbed me from the beginning but I did not know this was a suspense/crime novel until later as the plot developed. It is very well written and I enjoyed the pace. Highly recommend.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    When I read Tim Johnston’s prior book, The Descent, I was in awe of his talent. How could an author create a psychological thriller in such a carefully structured and literary way? His latest book, The Current, proves that his debut book was no fluke. If possible, it’s even better than his first book. Once I began it, I didn’t want to come up for air. The plot, in a nutshell: college roommates Caroline and Audrey take a road trip to visit Audrey’s father, a sheriff with terminal cancer. A car acc When I read Tim Johnston’s prior book, The Descent, I was in awe of his talent. How could an author create a psychological thriller in such a carefully structured and literary way? His latest book, The Current, proves that his debut book was no fluke. If possible, it’s even better than his first book. Once I began it, I didn’t want to come up for air. The plot, in a nutshell: college roommates Caroline and Audrey take a road trip to visit Audrey’s father, a sheriff with terminal cancer. A car accident at the book’s beginning leaves the girls submerged in an icy current, fighting for their lives. Audrey must reconcile what happened to them (was it an accident?), since the circumstances are quite similar to another accident that occurred years ago. There is so much to recommend the book that I barely know where to start. The dialog is pitch perfect and the characters leap off the pages. Tim Johnston is not interested as much in “whodunit” as he is in uncovering what loss means to those affected by it and how their lives play out. Take this prose, inspiring the book’s title: “…You are just in the current and the current is forever and you are not alone, you are never alone in the current and the current itself is…is what?” Is love.” It is love, the author suggests, that is the one thing with the power to save us. Whether that love is between a damaged Audrey and her dying father, a destroyed man whose daughter was similarly killed years ago and cares for Audrey, or even an aging dog who brought together a family in despair with a son who was wrongfully suspected, love will see us to the other side. It’s a beautiful message and this is a haunting and masterfully crafted novel.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Perry

    A cadaverously cryogenic, criminal suspense novel, deftly structured, though it can be difficult to catch the flow for the first 100 pages as it switches between 6/7 characters since the shifts happen mainly from ruminations of a character to those of another with sparser dialogue in the book's first half. I suspect most readers hit high gear by a third of the way through. Once I got there, I found it hard to put the novel aside for the comfort of sleep. Grade A Prime 4.5 star feed for my thrice- A cadaverously cryogenic, criminal suspense novel, deftly structured, though it can be difficult to catch the flow for the first 100 pages as it switches between 6/7 characters since the shifts happen mainly from ruminations of a character to those of another with sparser dialogue in the book's first half. I suspect most readers hit high gear by a third of the way through. Once I got there, I found it hard to put the novel aside for the comfort of sleep. Grade A Prime 4.5 star feed for my thrice-yearly need for the speedy crime read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    switterbug (Betsey)

    Readers counting on a fast-paced, plot-driven linear mystery that sprints to a neatly tied and blood-soaked bow will be sorely disappointed. However, if you like your crime dramas literary and lush, with contoured characters, atmospheric prose, and penetrating themes, then you’ve come to the right book. Ten years ago, in a small Minnesota town, nineteen-year-old Holly Burke was found dead in the cold current of the Black Root River. The now retired sheriff, Tom Sutter, failed to close the case d Readers counting on a fast-paced, plot-driven linear mystery that sprints to a neatly tied and blood-soaked bow will be sorely disappointed. However, if you like your crime dramas literary and lush, with contoured characters, atmospheric prose, and penetrating themes, then you’ve come to the right book. Ten years ago, in a small Minnesota town, nineteen-year-old Holly Burke was found dead in the cold current of the Black Root River. The now retired sheriff, Tom Sutter, failed to close the case due to insufficient evidence on his main suspect, Danny Young, which angered Holly’s father, Gordon, and left him resentful on top of his depression. Now, in the dead of winter, Sutter’s daughter, Audrey, and her friend, Caroline, are driving from a southern college to Audrey’s house, when the car they are in is forcibly propelled into the same icy river, this time across the border in Iowa. Audrey survives, but not without survivor’s guilt, PTSD, and a broken arm, among other injuries. While her terminally ill father stands by (but gets involved), his former deputy, Moran, is now the Iowan sheriff investigating this case, legally requiring Tom to take a back seat and relinquish control of solving the crime. But of course he just can’t easily do that This new case that eerily parallels the previous one inflames icy memories in a community weighted with unresolved grief, never quite thawed. It affects three different families and reconnects them in powerful and unexpected ways. Both Gordon and now Tom are shot through with guilt due to their failure to protect their daughters from danger, albeit ten years apart. Danny Young was compelled to leave town a decade ago and abandon his twin brother, Marky, who has special needs. Their mother, Rachel, had a personal and professional bond with Gordon that was permanently severed when Holly died. Danny’s inconclusive guilt and indeterminate innocence preys on all involved. As Audrey gets her strength back, she refuses to stand passively by, and her grit and guts to participate in finding the perpetrator(s) generate stunning, personal intersections that cross red lines and drive the plot. Themes of grief, guilt, secrets, and lies pervade the text and threaten to undo a community, or hopefully heal those in need. Between the ennui of stalled conflicts, the provocation of awakened animosities, and a courageous collaboration of the seemingly mismatched, a current is forged as strong as the Black Root River itself and rallies a new resolve. But don’t ask for all your questions to be answered succinctly. As Johnston demonstrated in DESCENT, he is a master of the elegiac and the atmospheric, the haunting and the harrowing, spectacles and subtleties. As a reader, you’ll sink your teeth into his prose. He leaves a lot to chew on in his melancholy and emboldened narrative. There’s just the right bits of levity, too, in the sharp wit and dialogue. This is a book to savor, to be patient with in its languid current. “On and on under the ice, in the strange light, your fingertips slipping along the underside of the ice and the girls coming and going like the curious creatures they are, the moon following, and it’s two minutes or it’s two hours or it’s ten years…ten years and ten thousand years all the same thing to the world and only one creature in all its history ever keeping track, ever thinking of such a thing as time—ever desiring it or fearing it or losing it, and that was why you’d come home in the first place, because you were running out of time…”

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Woodbury

    If you read DESCENT, you know that Tim Johnston writes anti-thrillers, crime novels that are purposely slow. A mystery may be solved but sometimes it seems that that is secondary to a larger goal. If you use the term "literary fiction," this is certainly a "literary" mystery, with prose worth paying attention to. THE CURRENT starts fast and then becomes very slow, especially because it considers the way a new crime brings an old one to the surface, which means you have twice as much backstory to If you read DESCENT, you know that Tim Johnston writes anti-thrillers, crime novels that are purposely slow. A mystery may be solved but sometimes it seems that that is secondary to a larger goal. If you use the term "literary fiction," this is certainly a "literary" mystery, with prose worth paying attention to. THE CURRENT starts fast and then becomes very slow, especially because it considers the way a new crime brings an old one to the surface, which means you have twice as much backstory to consider and a lot of moving through time. It took me a long time to feel like I had a solid handle on both stories and could tell when we were in the present and when we were in the past. But if you're willing to invest the time and be patient with it, it's a rewarding story that ends up having way more twists and turns than you'd expect. I like Tim Johnston and I like his books, but I do think this one could stand to be 100 pages shorter. Ultimately there's more thrills and plot here than in DESCENT but there's also more work to do to get to those rewards.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

    3.5 stars which could have been a full 4 stars with a good edit. But rounded down for the length, not only of the whole novel, but of description that repeats and multi, multi overlaps of pivotal events and opinions by taking the route of continually switching both time periods and "eyes". That only works to a top notch degree when you have less characters than this novel and far fewer locale place switches and movement description copy. But the plot was excellent. Nearly 5 star and absolutely n 3.5 stars which could have been a full 4 stars with a good edit. But rounded down for the length, not only of the whole novel, but of description that repeats and multi, multi overlaps of pivotal events and opinions by taking the route of continually switching both time periods and "eyes". That only works to a top notch degree when you have less characters than this novel and far fewer locale place switches and movement description copy. But the plot was excellent. Nearly 5 star and absolutely not one of those "outlier" and "it could never happen this way" in 1000 years kind of dysfunction fare. This one was one that felt actual- and not all that uncommon when police forces and town's composites themselves have such "in-knowledge" to one another and are NOT of "lost in the crowd" sizes. Minnesota was more than fine. And the original two girls characterized 4 star plus. Most of the male prime characters were well set too- you knew them. So the plot was essentially also a strong personality study all around too. Which is 4 star, at least. But my prime enjoyment problem was in the writing for style of sentence structures. This author knows how to write a long, long, long gerund heavy (playing, planning, fishing, running, climbing, going, thinking, moving) run-on sentence to intuit a feeling of breathless tension (like running so hard you have no time to take a breath kind of speed) which reflects a stream of consciousness marathon. And that's one of my pet peeves in all of print. Always has been too as long as I can remember loving words. Others seem to ADORE it. Faulkner paragraph length sentences which hold so much description that? Well, it's me I'm sure, but I don't and can't hold the cognition of the entire all the way to the end for it to give me any other sense but irritation. So many of these starting chapters to each Part (book is divided into Parts)- I found myself rereading two or three times before I could at all context the "he" or the "they" or the "water" or that particular "ice" to where and what and how and who. And then would "catch up" to the right characters or place not less than 2 pages later. Readers may like that feature. I just don't. Yes, I know that is part of an unreliable narrator or "void" prone to knowing mystery or who-dun-it fare. But it's form, done as this one was to such length and convolutions over more than 10 years of time? It just took the buzz out of the story for me, almost completely. It did for Danny and Marky especially. Overlong descriptions of feelings and effusive kinds of "panting of suffering" or "obsessive imagination hysterics" always do that for me. They become separate melodramas beyond a sensibility that makes any practical application or sense to the story line itself, IMHO. There were a few scenes in here that were absolutely well done. Especially the gas station, hand over the mouth, backscratcher "attack" one. From the ending I surmise that there will be a sequel. If you are caught up in Audrey's story, you will want to read it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    This author is a pro. Just my kind of suspense: realistic, gripping, and literary with a beautiful incorporation of nature. The 1st chapter is the only slow bit, but what a meaningful, gutsy way to kick it off, one I haven't seen done before. A rare added bonus: this novel is WELL EDITED! I'll be first in line for his next one.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jerrie (redwritinghood)

    Just ok overall. The main issue I had with this book was the padding. In quite a few places there was writing that just wasn’t needed for the story. Had the writing been tighter, it may have been a better book. Audio narration also so-so.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Quinn Sullivan

    This book was lacking something for me. It was a mystery but it never really seemed to take off or really get resolved. I felt like I was left with so many loose ends by the end of it. And the constant inner monologue back and forth from past to present was draining to read. Not my favorite unfortunately.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Thanks to the publisher, via Netgalley, for an advance e-galley for review. Marketing this book as a thriller is going to do this book a disservice. It's a solid literary fiction book, but thriller it is not, and readers going into this story expecting the suspense of a thriller are going to be disappointed (I'm not generally prepared for literary fiction style structure when I am reading a thriller). About 2/3 of the way through this book I finally became pretty invested in the story and found t Thanks to the publisher, via Netgalley, for an advance e-galley for review. Marketing this book as a thriller is going to do this book a disservice. It's a solid literary fiction book, but thriller it is not, and readers going into this story expecting the suspense of a thriller are going to be disappointed (I'm not generally prepared for literary fiction style structure when I am reading a thriller). About 2/3 of the way through this book I finally became pretty invested in the story and found that the pacing was more like a traditional mystery vs. literary fiction, and the last third of the book was a fairly quick read. However, readers who have a better relationship with DNF'ing books might not make it that far, so I'd be cautious in who I recommended this to and how I talked about the book. Excellent setting and sense of place and intriguing, interwoven and complicated characters were this story's backbone.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Judy Collins

    Review Coming! TOP BOOKS OF 2019.

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