Tim Johnston teaches in the creative-writing program at the University of Memphis, but he didn’t expect his second novel, Descent, to hit The New York Times bestseller list when it was published in January. Fortunately, this has proven to be strong year for literary thrillers—along with books from writers like M.O. Walsh and David Joy, Descent merges lyrical prose and complex emotional development into a propulsive, page-turning mystery.
The story opens with the Courtland family’s summer vacation to the Rocky Mountains. While there the daughter, Kaitlyn, goes missing while training for her freshman season on the track team at the University of Wisconsin. Her younger brother, Sean, is with her when she disappears on a mountain trail, but when he’s found unconscious and injured at the scene, he can’t remember what happened.
Earlier this year, Johnston sat for an interview about the book, which is being released this week in paperback. To download the podcast, click here. To read a text excerpt of the interview, click here. To listen online, click the play button below:
Stephen Usery is the producer of Book Talk, an author-interview program that airs daily on WYPL FM 89.3 from the Memphis Public Library. Usery also produces Mysterypod, an independent podcast focused on mysteries, thrillers, and crime novels. He lives in Memphis.