- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 11 hours and 31 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books
- Audible.com Release Date: January 6, 2015
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00QL8X3G8
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Descent Audiobook – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
Caitlin and Sean go for an early morning run/bike ride in the mountains. A few hours later, Grant gets a phone call from the county sheriff that Sean has been found badly injured on the side of a road, probably hit by a car, and Caitlin is nowhere to be found. All too quickly the idyllic vacation turns into a family's worst nightmare—what could have happened to Caitlin? Where is she? Is she alive? Will they ever see her again?
Descent follows Grant, Angela, and Sean as they try to make sense of Caitlin's disappearance. Already deeply affected by another tragedy earlier in her life, Angela's grasp on reality becomes ever more tenuous, and she tries to reconcile her feelings for her husband and her son. Grant and Sean each try to deal with their feelings of guilt and anger in very different ways, while navigating the tension that has grown between them.
I felt as if this was, in essence, two books in one. There was the exploration of family dynamics in the wake of a cataclysmic event, and then the tension-filled, heart-pounding conclusion. Tim Johnston is a terrific writer, and his use of language and imagery was almost poetic at times. I could have done with less introspection, because while I understand it was necessary to show just how vastly each individual was affected, I felt as if the same things happened over and over again. But once the action and suspense ratchets up, despite containing elements you've seen many times before, the book stepped itself up a notch or two.
This is a well-written book that definitely gets your heart pounding at the end. But the quiet moments in the book are just as powerful, and prove Johnston's strengths as a writer.
Cue the dramatic event a few chapters in and then you follow a family as it tries to pick up the pieces. Mom goes nuts. Dad continues a search for the daughter long after authorities have given up hope. Younger brother goes AWOL. Lifetime movie comparisons abound.
The main problem I had with this book was that the dialogue was like pulling teeth. For some reason that I’m sure has a concrete literary concept behind it, as the author is an actual creative writing professor, all the characters act like they’re deaf.
I wish I was kidding. Imagine pages of this:
“What do you think we should do?”
“I said, what do you think we should do?”
“I don’t know, you’re the one calling the shots. What do you think we should do?”
“Well if I knew I wouldn’t be asking you, would I?”
To be clear, this is not an excerpt from the book, but it is EXACTLY how I felt when I was reading some of the dialogue. Maybe it was a device to emphasize how distracted the characters were in the midst of everything or to make the conversations feel more natural. For me it just didn’t work.
Then the book seems to have a problem with the story it’s trying to tell. We saw the characters as a family and we saw their individual stories of heartache and pain. Then [spoiler alert] we saw Caitlin. It was like the book couldn’t decide if it was going to be an action story of a heroine getting herself to safety or following the lives of a family in the aftermath of tragedy. Instead it tried to be both and neither one came away feeling very strong.
Now all that being said, this guy can write. The language and descriptions he gave are honestly reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy. Like seriously, that good. The story kept my attention even when the plot seemed to get bogged down in tangent adventures that had no bearing on the story. The unraveling of the mystery of Caitlin’s disappearance was discovered in such a way that it hurt to think this was the best trail the author took to get us to the climax. Think of solving a crime like Scooby-Doo, not Sherlock Holmes.
To the author’s credit he was trying to approach a beaten-like-a-dead-horse category of child-goes-missing, family-falls-apart genre and was able to do something unique.
It’s worth a read, especially if you can ever find it for under $5. Which is what I would have liked to have paid after I read it.