If you’re in the mood for a psychological thriller, RIVER ROAD, fits the bill.
Carol Goodman is a creative writing teacher. She knows what it’s like be in a close-knit community of teachers and students. She knows upstate New York. Her sense of place is amazing.
When asked where she got the idea for RIVER ROAD she says that she was driving home from a weekend trip to Boston with her husband in January 2013. She hit a deer. She was alarmed because when she stopped the car to find the deer, it had disappeared. Her husband calmed her telling her he thought the deer must certainly be okay, but Carol could not forget the ominous sound of the “thump” as the animal hit the car.
Then a week later two students nearby were killed in a hit and run. Hence the seed for the story.
The main character is Nan. She’s a middle-aged writing teacher in a small college town. Nan’s young daughter was killed by a drunken hit and run driver years ago. Now it’s coming back to haunt her. Nan is finding herself more and more inclined to drink too much alcohol. It soothes her. But when she realizes she’s actually blacked out in the woods on a cold and snowy night, she knows she’s in trouble. She thinks she’s hit a deer. But really? Was it a deer? Or was it her favorite student whose body was found buried in the snow? Who would throw Nan under the bus?
I like a good mystery. For some reason I tend to enjoy them more in the winter. Last year’s GIRL ON THE TRAIN was my go-to mystery. RIVER ROAD is no GIRL ON THE TRAIN, but it’s well-written, fast paced. and filled with strong characters. It also deals with writing: why we write and how.
This is a great novel to curl up with a hot cup of tea with. And just try to figure it out.
I received my finished hard copy from Touchstone, a division of Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review. Thanks so much.