Carol Goodman’s mysteries cannot come fast enough for me, and her latest – River Road – has all the plot twists and Gothic flavor of her earlier books – The Seduction of Water and The Lake of Dead Languages. Goodman once again mixes grief and revenge with office politics and murder. Her mystery thriller brought back memories of the politics and secrets of academia, most notably the English department.
Nan Lewis, an English professor up for tenure at a state college in upstate New York, hits a deer on her way home from the department Christmas party. The next day, Nan learns from the police that her favorite student, Leia Dawson, has been killed the night before on that same road. The site is the same bend in the road where, years earlier, Nan’s 4-year-old daughter, Emmy, had been killed by a hit-and-run driver. Nan becomes the main suspect in the death of her student, but the investigation quickly spreads to include students and other professors in a tale full of unreliable narrators and red herrings.
As mysterious clues appear linking her daughter’s and her student’s death, a handsome police chief comes to Nan’s rescue more than once – adding an inevitable romantic storyline to the fast-paced killer pursuit. The unforgiving cold weather adds to the drama, as well as Nan’s guilt over her daughter’s death.
A quick and satisfying read, River Road joins Goodman’s prolific output of books with murder, ghosts, and secrets.
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