RIVER ROAD by Carol Goodman


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A series of deaths on a snowy road plunges a college professor into the middle of a mystery.

Nan Lewis experienced an upsetting event—she was denied tenure—and she’d been drinking when she left a colleague’s Christmas party only to hit a deer in the same spot where her small daughter was killed by a drunk driver years ago. Nan got out of the car to search for the deer but found nothing, so she drove her damaged car home. Later, the police detective who investigated her daughter’s hit-and-run tells her that one of her prize students, Leia Dawson, a brilliant writer with a remarkable career ahead of her, was found dead in the snow at the same scene. The officer, Sgt. McAffrey, tells her that police need to examine her car to determine whether or not she hit Leia. Nan does have a drinking problem; even she admits that. The woman who hit Emmy, Hannah Mulder, was caught and punished, but nothing prepared Nan for the news of Leia’s death or the implication that she had something to do with it. And she’s not the only suspect: Ross, a professor with whom she’d had a relationship after her daughter’s death, is also in police cross hairs. Goodman, a creative writing teacher and prolific novelist, has produced an uninspired story that hinges on a string of coincidences, a main character who isn’t very interesting, and a romance that seems wedged into the story by force instead of naturally developing. Add to that a not-very-hard-to-spot baddie, despite copious red herrings littering the pages, and there’s very little that’s thrilling about this effort.

A tired plot and the cliché of a heroine who does exactly what the police have asked her not to do make this a thin read.

Pub Date: Jan. 19th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-5011-0990-4
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Touchstone/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2015


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