Essays & Interviews


“Johnston has a poet’s eye for the majestic and forbidding nature of the Rockies, and a sociologist’s understanding of how people act under pressure. He also has a knack for creating characters that the reader will come to care about, no matter how flawed they are. Combining domestic drama with wilderness adventure, Johnston has created a hybrid novel that is as emotionally satisfying as it is viscerally exciting.”

Publishers Weekly, starred review

What Indie Booksellers Are Saying: (see Booksellers’ Praise Sheet)

“A pretty good measure of how involved I am with a book is the level of irritation I feel when something interrupts my reading.  I’ve ignored my husband twice and then nearly bitten his head off this afternoon while reading the second half of Descent. It is, indeed, that rara avis: a truly literary thriller. It’s taut and tense in all the right places, and filled with heartbreakingly quotidian scenes in between as life goes on. This is a page turner of the highest order, and Tim Johnston is an author who has my full attention.” –Emily Crowe, The Odyssey Bookshop, S. Hadley, MA

“This stunning novel reads like Gillian Flynn meets John Irving. I absolutely loved it—it’s my favorite book of the year so far.” –Susanna Hermans, Oblong Books and Music, Millerton, NY

“I love taking the train from Mystic to New York or Boston as I can read, in the quiet car so no one can talk to me and I don’t talk to anyone. Recently, on my way to NYC with a few books, like six, and the first book I pulled out was Descent by Tim Johnston. The description was chilling, provocative, and something I was just dying to read. Mesmerized after the first few pages, I didn’t stop until I reached Penn Station. Johnston captures each detail with exquisite style and prose. He gets it and in his writing transcribes the feelings of the characters so well that you feel the movement, the stomp through the deep snow on a seeking trail, the claustrophobia and the descent into emotional darkness. Each character plays a role that is so well carved, so well matched with the others, that you follow them through this story with held breaths, rapture and the hope for goodness. They don’t leave you very quickly either; you think about them, and the daughter, for days. Coming in January 2015, put Descent on your list. It will be a staff pick of mine for sure.” –Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

“It wasn’t until I finally put Tim Johnston’s Descent down did I realize how fast my heart was racing. There’s no doubt about it: Johnston has the stuff and Descent proves it.” –Emily Adams, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

“I think Algonquin has a smash hit on their hands with Tim Johnston’s Descent. It’s beautifully written and so evocative of that part of the country and its landscape. This one will be staying with me for a long while. And I’m already casting the film.” –Dana Brigham, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA

Descent stuff online (reviews, interviews, Tim’s writings)

Tim on writing his new novel Descent (The Algonquin Reader)