Tuesday, January 15, 2019

THE CURRENT by Tim Johnston

     Caroline and Audrey were on a road trip. Audrey on the way to see her father, a retired small-town Minnesota Sheriff, who was dying of cancer. And Caroline running from an embarrassing encounter with a professor and a broken relationship. But a spinout on the way sent the car through the ice of the Black Root river, leaving one girl dead and the second badly injured. The incident was reminiscent of the death of another girl ten years earlier, found in the same river. The case was never solved, and it haunted the whole town, especially Audrey’s father.  As the dying Sheriff started looking into what happened to his daughter, others started asking questions, too, about what happened years earlier to destroy not only the life of the girl found in the river, but the spirit of the town that lost her.
     The Current is more than the title of the second adult novel by Tim Johnston. It is a theme throughout the book: the current of the river, the wind, of thoughts, a tingle in the air, even in “the wings of [the doctor’s] open labcoat riding his currents.” 
     The writing had a strong, free-thought, poetic flow, pulling the reader into the story, pushing characters from the past to the present in their quest to find the truth that has eluded the town for so long, that ten years are anchored by the two deaths. 

Because life was organic and that was one kind of energy, ashes to ashes, but there was also energy between living beings, currents that traveled between them and outside of biology, and that energy could not be buried, and neither could it fade into nothing, because energy never just ended, it transformed and recycled and you felt it even if you didn’t believe in it…Whatever you called it there was a current and you were in it always and you couldn’t bury it.”

     The Current is about regrets and shame, doing the right things, or sometimes the wrong things for the right reasons. A death ten years ago that a town, a parent, a sheriff never overcame, and a recent death that could offer them all redemption. 
     Maybe the girl the current didn’t take could figure out what happened to the ones it did.

Johnston, Tim. The Current, Algonquin Books, January 22, 2019. 
ISBN: 978-1616206772

A copy of The Current was provided to The Thirty Year Itch by the publisher via NetGalley.com; no compensation was provided for this review. 

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