Friday, January 25, 2019

The Current - Blog Tour and Review

The Current  by Tim Johnston
Publication date: January 22, 2019
Algonquin Books
Hardcover; 416 pages
Source: Publisher for an honest review

In the dead of winter, outside a small Minnesota town, state troopers pull two young women and their automobile from the icy Black Root River. One is pronounced dead at the scene, while the other, Audrey Sutter, daughter of the town’s retired sheriff, survives. What happened was no accident, and news of the crime awakens memories of another young woman who lost her life in the same river ten years prior, and whose killer may still be among them. Determined to find answers, Audrey soon realizes that she is connected to that earlier unsolved murder by more than just a river. And as she plungers deeper into her own investigation, she begins to unearth long hidden secrets and stoke the violence simmering just below the surface of her hometown.

This hauntingly beautiful novel wraps elements of the conventional thriller with emotional depth and visceral intensity, unfolding in an elegant literary narrative. When describing the novel, Johnston says, “THE CURRENT may differ from other ‘literary suspense/crime’ novels in that it does not always offer absolute certainty or resolution or justice; nor does it race toward an ultimate confrontation between protagonist and antagonist. Instead it moves in and out of time, in and out of families, building on the wounds and obsessions of characters who, while not villains themselves, do not always act nobly or even legally. The individual currents of characters barely known to each other combine through chance and history into a single current of loss, but also love.”

 “The days when you had to choose between a great story and a great piece of writing? Gone,” said Esquire of Descent, and in this much-anticipated new work, Tim Johnston’s considerable gifts as a storyteller are again on full display. Atmospheric and mesmerizing, THE CURRENT is a tour de force.

Early Praise for THE CURRENT
by Tim Johnston

“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

“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 Reviews, starred 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

The Current is a rare creature: a gripping thriller and page turner but also a masterwork of mood and language. You’ll want to go fast at the same time you’ll be compelled to savor each and every word.”
—Ivy Pochoda, author of Wonder Valley

“I would have taken a break long before 2:00 a.m. last night were it not for Johnston’s masterly ability to rummage inside the heads of his various characters, revealing the frayed fabric of small-town life in the process and showing us the stand-up grit of a handful of women and men…We need a little hyperbole if we’re going to adequately describe how much we love a Tim Johnston novel.”
—Bill Ott, Booklist

My Take:

The Current is the first book by Tim Johnston that I have read. After reading it, I will be reading Descent as well. From the book description of The Current, I thought I knew what I was getting into. I was expecting a typical thriller - which I love, please don't get me wrong! I love thrillers, mysteries, crime fiction - all of it! However, The Current is also much more than any of those. I was not expecting the depth of mood and atmosphere that I encountered. There is also such an exploration of emotions, understanding of life, people and their motivations.

I was completely drawn into the drama of the plot, but mesmerized by the descriptions of the land, the river, the nature that helps shape the people that populate the novel and the small towns where it takes place. I loved the masterful exploration of the thoughts and feelings of the characters as they work through their reactions to the events that occur in the present and the past. 

I  honestly was surprised at how complex and well written the novel was. I hadn't expected to encounter an almost poetic atmosphere in what seemed would be a typical thriller. The Current is wonderful thriller, but with depth and a wonderful exploration of the strength and determination of the characters. I definitely will be recommending it to my friends.

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.

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