River Road by Carol Goodman

imageNan Lewis—a creative writing professor at a state university in upstate New York—is driving home from a faculty holiday party after finding out she’s been denied tenure. On her way, she hits a deer, but when she gets out of her car to look for it, the deer is nowhere to be found. Eager to get home and out of the oncoming snowstorm, Nan is forced to leave her car at the bottom of her snowy driveway to wait out the longest night of the year—and the lowest point of her life…

The next morning, Nan is woken up by a police officer at her door with terrible news—one of her students, Leia Dawson, was killed in a hit-and-run on River Road the night before. And because of the damage to her car, Nan is a suspect. In the days following the accident, Nan finds herself shunned by the same community that rallied around her when her own daughter was killed in an eerily similar accident six years prior. When Nan begins finding disturbing tokens that recall the death of Nan’s own daughter, Nan suspects that the two accidents are connected.

As she begins to dig further, she discovers that everyone around her, including Leia, is hiding secrets. But can she uncover them, clear her name, and figure out who really killed Leia before her reputation is destroyed for good? (less)

My thoughts:

Struggling since the death of her daughter and the collapse of her marriage Nan has concentrated on the only thing she has left, her career at the local university. She has a good relationship with her students and the staff. When they turn against her after the accident she is devastated. She is adamant that it was a deer she had hit and not Leia but starts to question her own innocence after remarks made about her drinking. But is not just her who suspicion falls on and when a series of sinister and upsetting events occur she is determined to get answers.
I did guess at who the culprit was but this did not stop me enjoying the novel. It is much more than a whodunnit. It’s also about bereavement, addiction, control and learning to trust. I liked the style of writing very much. At times its claustrophobic, possibly due to the snow but also the isolation, paranoia and level of intimidation that Nan experienced.
A well written, very atmospheric introduction to Carol Goodman who I had heard of but never read before.
Thanks to Titan Books for the copy received for review.

3 Replies to “River Road by Carol Goodman”

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