Distant Sons


By Tim Johnston

Formats and Prices




$25.99 CAD

By the New York Times bestselling author of Descent and The Current, an absorbing new work of literary suspense about two young working men who forge a friendship despite secrets in their past, and whose actions ignite the passions and violence of a small Wisconsin town still haunted by the unsolved disappearance of three boys in the 1970s. For readers of Peter Heller, Liz Moore, and Cormac McCarthy.

What if?
What if Sean Courtland’s old Chevy truck had broken down somewhere else? What if he’d never met Denise Givens, a waitress at a local tavern in the Wisconsin town where he lands? Or Dan Young, another young man like Sean drifting through, having fled Minnesota for reasons unknown? Instead, together Sean and Dan pick up carpentry and plumbing work for an old man named Marion Devereaux, and Sean gets drawn into the lives of Denise and her father—and of the townspeople, all haunted by the disappearance of three young boys decades ago, in the 1970s.
As the paths of these characters converge, observing them all is Detective Corinne Viegas, a woman whose drive to seek justice comes from her father's own failure to find those boys and the violence once done to her sister. And over the course of just a few weeks, an irreversible chain of events is set in motion that culminates in shattering violence, and the revelation of long-buried truths.
Evocative, gritty, with indelible characters and setting, Distant Sons is another immersive, gripping suspense novel by Johnston about how the most random intersection of lives can have consequences both devastating and beautiful.

  • "Distant Sons is a mystery about a serial killer, yes, but it’s also not that at all: It’s a heartbreaking story about family, failure, and the fallout from violence. Tim Johnston has crafted a riveting novel that takes us into struggling blue collar America, and locates the hope hidden inside devastating loss. A beautiful book."
    Janelle Brown, bestselling author of Pretty Things
  • “Tim Johnston has once again raised the bar for the literary thriller. Distant Sons is elegant and edgy, refined and complex. It excavates the truth from the darkest recesses of the past and shines a light towards the possibility of a redemptive future.”
    Ivy Pochoda, author of These Women and Sing Her Down
  • "Tim Johnston returns in dazzling form with DISTANT SONS, an intricate, haunting novel sure to resonate with fans of Dennis Lehane, Peter Heller, and James Lee Burke. Johnston's plot is tense and his pacing swift, but he's after bigger game here, with questions of identity, intentions, and legacies merging in a tale that will linger long after it is finished. He's also one of the finest prose stylists in the game, stacking polished sentences with a master's touch. Don't miss this one." 
    Michael Koryta, New York Times bestselling author of An Honest Man
  • "Tim Johnston’s Distant Sons is the kind of novel that inspires writers like me to want to step up our game. His prose is both elegant and raw, with characters so real you want to sit down and have a beer with them. Mr. Johnston is a writer with a gift, and if you haven’t had the pleasure to read him, I highly recommend picking up this book."
    Allen Eskens, bestselling author of The Life We Bury and Forsaken Country
  • "This book kept me up at night. Eerie, unsettling, and addictive."
    Ash Davidson, author of Damnation Spring
    Ash Davidson, author of Damnation Spring
  • "A gripping portrayal of how bad reputations, best intentions, and poignantly interconnected fates can haunt unmoored souls in small-town America, Distant Sons presents Tim Johnston as an heir apparent to Cormac McCarthy. Never in my decades of reading has trouble begotten trouble as dramatically--or with as much wise insight--as it does in this book." 
    Mark Wish, founding editor of Coolest American Stories, author of Necessary Deeds

On Sale
Aug 6, 2024
Page Count
416 pages
Algonquin Books

Tim Johnston

Tim Johnston

About the Author

Tim Johnston is the author of the novels DescentThe Current, the story collection Irish Girl, and the young adult novel Never So Green. He holds degrees from the University of Iowa and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is the recipient of the 2015 Iowa Author Award and currently lives in Iowa City, Iowa.

Learn more about this author