Publisher: Algonquin Books
Release Date: January 22, 2019
Genre: Adult Fiction / Mystery / Thriller / Suspense
Goodreads Average: 3.81 *as of 1/24/2019*
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.
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.
MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 / 5 (3.5/5)
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.
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.
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
Praise for New York Times bestselling DESCENT
“Outstanding…The days when you had to choose between a great story and a great piece of writing? Gone.”
“The story unfolds brilliantly, always surprisingly…The magic of his prose equals the horror of Johnston’s story; each somehow enhances the other…Read this astonishing novel.”
—The Washington Post
“Johnston’s descriptive prose attains a level of visceral brio…[An] engulfing thriller-cum-western.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“This is much more than your typical thriller. Johnston has written a book that makes Gone Girl seem gimmicky…Johnston is an excellent writer. You want to set this one down so you can take a breath, and keep reading—all at the same time.”
—Alan Cheuse On NPR’s All Things Considered
“Tim Johnston’s high-wire literary thriller…will leave you gasping.”
“An original and psychologically deep thriller.”
“[A] twisty thriller about a family grappling with loss.”
—O: The Oprah Magazine
“Combining domestic drama with wilderness adventure, Johnston has created a hybrid novel that is an emotionally satisfying as it is viscerally exciting.”
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review