Books by Tim



• Winner of Midland Authors 2020 Adult Fiction Award

• A Saturday Evening Post “10 Best Winter Reads”

• A February 2019 Indie Next List Pick

• One of Entertainment Weekly‘s 50 Most Anticipated       Books of 2019

• A Washington Post Favorite Audio Book

• A Washington Independent Review Favorite 51                 Books of 2019

• A New York Public Library Best of 2019

• An Amazon Best of 2019

• A Powell’s Books Best of 2019 So Far



— Entertainment Weekly (The 50 Most Anticipated Books of 2019)

“[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)

“This novel is careful layer upon careful layer, as deceptively thick yet brutally delicate as winter ice itself . . . 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)

“Sarah Mollo-Christensen delivers    . . . a masterly performance of a first-rate thriller, one which completely dissolves the barrier between story and listener.”            — Washington Post  [PDF]

“Tim Johnston’s Descent, a complex missing-person thriller set in the shadowy wilderness of the Rocky Mountains, was one of 2015’s most pleasant surprises. His follow-up, The Current, is equally, if not more, impressive . . . as methodical as Johnston is at unwrapping his carefully plotted story, readers will churn through The Current‘s 400 pages—a paradox that only the most accomplished mystery writers ever achieve. The only complaint is that we might have to wait another three years for his next one.”  — Amazon Book Review (Best Book of the Month)

“Tim Johnston has given us the gold standard of lush narrative description—captivating, mesmerizing, stunning. It’s doubtful you’ll ever read a more beautifully written book than The Current.”  — The New York Journal of Books

The Current is . . . about everything that is left in a mystery’s wake — the fathers and daughters, mothers and sons facing the tormenting questions surrounding their dead or disappeared loved ones. It is an examination of the way tragedies divide but can also offer the opportunity to bring people together.”  — Los Angeles Review of Books

“Pick up Tim Johnston’s suspenseful novel The Current and you risk finding yourself glued to your chair, eyes to the pages, no thought of attending to daily obligations. Johnston’s elegant, cinematic style takes us into the characters’ lives and history, problems and concerns. The book examines that horrifying moment when everything changes, the before and after when love, friendship, hopes and trust turn into dread, guilt, blame and grief.”  — Minneapolis Star Tribune

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

“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

“Tim Johnston’s gripping second novel is much more than a skillfully constructed, beautifully written whodunit. It’s a subtle and lyrical acclamation of the heart and spirit of small-town America.”  — Washington Independent Review of Books

“An involving and layered thriller . . . Johnston’s prose is so lyrical you want to stop and read it again.”   — The Missourian

“Along with his poetic style, the author’s acknowledgement of the complicated nuances inherent in friendship, family and love, especially the love of a parent for a child, elevate this tale to literary fiction.”      — The Columbus Dispatch

“Gripping as it is, Johnston’s masterful novel is worth lingering over—it soars above the constraints of a traditional thriller and pulls you deep into the secrets of a grief-stricken town.”  — People Magazine

“Delivers a riveting mystery surrounding grief and murder wrapped in a tight package of character and prose. Johnston builds a memorable cast of characters around a poignant case, full of heart.”  — The Emory Wheel

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

“Tim Johnston is the best thing to come along in crime fiction in years. With Descent and The Current he has already established himself as one of the best writers in the game, with an original voice that calls to mind the likes of Cormac McCarthy and Dennis Lehane but is entirely his own. With its beautiful prose, deeply emotional storytelling, and craftsman’s eye for detail, The Current made me want to read slower, and write better.”  — Michael Koryta, New York Times bestselling author of How It Happened

“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

The Current is moody, layered crime fiction at its finest; you’ll be tempted to tear through the pages, but, slow down. The lyrical language is worth lingering over.”  — The Augusta Chronicle

“With unhurried ease The Current carries us along, mirroring that fatal river, as clear as winter ice on the surface while beneath flowing darkly into the past.”        — Barnes & Noble Review

“Johnston . . . displays an impressive literary arsenal, especially his finesse in capturing the operations of his characters’ minds . . . The Current is a mystery with the spinal cord of a bildungsroman, and it asks a disturbing question: who gets to grow up, and who stays in the icy river, frozen forever at nineteen?”  —


Questions for discussion

Go to the audiobook page

Watch the 20-sec video

Watch “9 Chilling Mysteries & Thrillers” on Ezvid Wiki 

Listen to an excerpt

See the full hardback book jacket

See the full paperback book jacket

Read an excerpt from Chapter One of The Current  

Read an excerpt of The Current on [PDF]

New York Times Ad

Bookseller’s Praise Sheet

Profile in Cedar Rapids Gazette  [PDF]

2019 Hardback Tour Sheet

2019 Booktour pics

The Current Online — Collected Links