I really loved Johnston's previous novel, Descent, so I mean it as an enormous compliment when I say that this book blows that one out of the water. The Current is a gorgeous, heartrending punch to the gut, and I loved every page. Recommended By Emily F., Powells.com
Wow! Really, that's what I said (out loud) when I turned the final page. Johnston's second outing is even better than the first. Two girls go into the river and under the ice. One comes out alive, and that survival revives small town secrets, wounds, and betrayals. The story is thoroughly engrossing, but even more compelling are the beautifully written portraits of the pain of forgiveness, the double-edged consequences of revenge, and the sheer, breathtaking majesty of the human abilities to face loss with courage and survival with love. Recommended By Kathi K., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
One of Entertainment Weekly’s Most Anticipated Books of 2019
Tim Johnston, whose breakout debut Descent was called “astonishing,” “dazzling,” and “unforgettable” by critics, returns with The Current, a tour de force about the indelible impact of a crime on the lives of innocent people.
In the dead of winter, outside a small Minnesota town, state troopers pull two young women and their car from the icy Black Root River. One is found downriver, drowned, while the other is found at the scene — half frozen but alive.
What happened was no accident, and news of the crime awakens the community’s memories of another young woman who lost her life in the same river ten years earlier, and whose killer may still live among them.
Determined to find answers, the surviving young woman soon realizes that she’s connected to the earlier unsolved case by more than just a river, and the deeper she plunges into her own investigation, the closer she comes to dangerous truths, and to the violence that simmers just below the surface of her hometown.
Grief, suspicion, the innocent and the guilty — all stir to life in this cold northern town where a young woman can come home, but still not be safe. Brilliantly plotted and unrelentingly propulsive, The Current is a beautifully realized story about the fragility of life, the power of the past, and the need, always, to fight back.
“The Current is a haunting story... Johnston masterfully describes people, their grief, their guilt, and loneliness. He brings out both the brutal and loving sides of human nature. It is a real treat for those who love thrillers.” The Washington Book Review
“[An] outstanding thriller... Johnston imbues each character with believable motives. The nuanced plot delves deep into how a community — and surviving relatives — deal with the aftermath of a death.” Publishers Weekly, starred review
“This novel is careful layer upon careful layer, as deceptively thick yet brutally delicate as winter ice itself. Johnston's descriptions of people, places, grief, and loneliness are subtle and evocative; the minor plot about an aging dog becomes a rending portrait of the ravages of love. Indeed, for all its harsh observations about human nature, this novel has at its heart a strong belief that love, for all the pain it brings, is the one thing that truly saves us. An apt title that functions as a beautiful metaphor for all the secrets and emotions roiling beneath the surface of every human life.” Kirkus (starred review)
“Tim Johnston’s second novel, The Current, is even better than his first, which is saying something. He’s a terrific writer and definitely a name to watch.” Dennis Lehane, author of Since We Fell
“Johnston dazzled with his breakout thriller, Descent; his follow-up is a more ambitious page-turner, unpacking how a shocking murder impacts the denizens of a small Minnesota town as they weather suspicion, guilt, and grief.” Entertainment Weekly (The 50 Most Anticipated Books of 2019)
About the Author
Tim Johnston, a native of Iowa City, is the author of The Current and the New York Times bestseller Descent, as well as a young adult novel, Never So Green, and the story collection Irish Girl, winner of the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction.