cover image The Current

The Current

Tim Johnston. Algonquin, $27.95 (416p) ISBN 978-1-61620-677-2

At the start of this outstanding thriller from bestseller Johnston (Descent), Audrey Sutter, a student at an unnamed Southern college, asks to borrow bus money from her friend Caroline Price so she can get home to see her father, Tom, who’s dying of lung cancer in Minnesota. Instead, Caroline, a Georgia native, offers to drive Audrey the 700 miles north. A few miles from Audrey’s hometown, Caroline’s SUV plunges into the icy Black Root River, killing her; Audrey survives. Tom, the town’s former sheriff, wonders if the vehicle was pushed. The case echoes back to the death of 19-year-old Holly Burke, whose body was found in the same river a decade earlier. Tom has never forgotten the unsolved case, and Holly’s father, Gordon, still blames the ex-sheriff for not proving that a local teenager killed his daughter. 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. 100,000-copy announced first printing; 15-city author tour. Agent: Amy Berkower, Writers House. (Jan.)