Descent by Tim Johnston
The Courtland family takes their annual family vacation in the Rocky Mountains at their 18-year-old daughter Caitlin’s suggestion. She is an avid runner and wants to train in the high altitude. One morning she and her brother Sean leave early in the morning: Caitlin in her running shoes, Sean on his bike. Disaster strikes. While on a backwoods road (more like a dirt track) a vehicle comes hurtling out of the woods and strikes Sean on his bike. Sean is very badly injured. The driver of the vehicle offers Caitlin a ride down the mountain to get help since their cell phones don’t work up there. Caitlin accepts the ride and disappears.
This is a thriller told in many parts following the four members of the family as we learn about family dynamics, the abduction and the aftermath. It is slow in starting but the build is needed, you really get to know and care for these broken people. And the ending! Wow. It is heartbreaking, gruesome, cheer-worthy and believable all at once.
This book has been compared to TheLovely Bones, but I don’t know why. We do get Caitlin’s point of view a little over mid-way through the book but she isn’t looking down at her family and how their lives are going on without her. Yes, we do see how her disappearance destroys the lives of her mother (addiction and separation from reality), her brother (his guilt and physical injuries) and her father (who stays behind in Colorado, refusing to stop searching) but the element that is at the forefront of my mind when someone compares a book to The Lovely Bones is absent.
One more thing, this is the first thriller I would not recommend on audiobook. I don’t know if it was the pacing of one of the narrator’s voice or if I just didn’t like the voice, but I listened to two discs and found my mind wandering. Thankfully I had the print book out as well and switched over to it and found myself devouring the book wanting to know what happened next.