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River Road

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  2,453 ratings  ·  356 reviews
From the award-winning author of The Lake of Dead Languages comes a chilling new psychological thriller about a professor accused of killing her favorite student in a hit-and-run accident.

Nan 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 h
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published January 19th 2016 by Gallery Books
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Maame Yeboah I'm not too sure, but I was able to snag mine from a thrift store!

Community Reviews

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3.53  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,453 ratings  ·  356 reviews

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Diane S ☔
Jun 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
2.5 I loved Goodman's previous books, The Lake of Dead Languages, the first book I read that put this author on my radar. She hasn't written an adult novel for several years so when I saw this one I was thrilled.

This one once again takes place at a school. Nan, whose four year old daughter had been killed by a drunk driver, is a writing teacher at the school. She also has a drinking problem. When one of her favorite students is killed by a driver who leaves her body in a ditch suspicion falls on
Bill Kupersmith
Feb 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Carol Goodman has a special place in my life as a reader, perhaps even in my spiritual life, as the author who brought me back to reading crime fiction with The Lake of Dead Languages. I’d read a lot of mysteries in my teens & 20s but while I was a professional literature teacher & scholar I read little imaginative literature for recreation. But as a school story about a Latin teacher, her 1st novel, Lake of Dead Languages, appealed to me. Since then I have read several of Carol Goodman’ ...more
Heather *Awkward Queen and Unicorn Twin*
I enjoyed this, albeit rather mildly, but I liked it better than some of her recent novels. It contains many elements readers of hers will be familiar with: winter setting, remote college, teacher-student relationships (not THAT kind), writers. However, I didn't feel it was as rich a story as she is capable of weaving.
Aug 01, 2016 rated it did not like it
at first I really liked this one but after getting a few chapters in, I realized it wasn't for me.

the narrator/main character Nan annoyed me with the stupid choices she made time after time throughout the story. it was hard for me to feel completely sorry for her because she just kept making things harder for herself. i couldn't relate to her at all. she was a very frustrating character.

even when things were blatantly out of control in her life, such as someone breaking into her house and murd
Jan 21, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016, mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Loved this. Such an atmospheric mystery, full of heart and emotion as well as drama and tension.

Kate~Bibliophile Book Club
I thoroughly enjoyed River Road. It was pacy, with questionable characters and a very good story.

We meet Nan Lewis, a teacher, who on her way home from a party hits a deer with her car. When she wakes in the morning to the news that one of her students was killed in a hit and run on the same road she instantly becomes the main suspect in the investigation.

What follows is a taut thriller, full of interesting and well written characters that pulls you in and keeps you reading. I was hooked fairly
Nancy McFarlane
Oct 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Nan Lewis was still grieving the death of her young daughter 6 years earlier, a death which she still blamed herself for. She had gone inside to write down an idea for her new novel and she didn’t see when Emmy ran into the road and was hit by a car. Nan no longer wrote but she was dedicated to the students in her creative writing classes at Acheron College. Her job was her whole life. So she was horrified when one of her favorite students was killed by a hit and run driver and even more horrifi ...more
Amber Myott
1 & 1/2 stars would be my true rating. Based on the outline on the back cover, I really thought this book would be right up my alley .... BUT .... I found the writing a little clumsy & repetitive. The main character was "unreliable " . All in all a bit of a mess. Sounds harsh but I so wanted to enjoy this book but was left lacking.
Dec 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
I so wanted to like this book. The premise sounded so good, but the storytelling and the mystery ended up being so clumsy. And the main character was so naïve.
Linda Hill
Jan 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
A no spoilers review of a really good thriller here
When Professor Nan Lewis hits what she thinks is a deer on the road on her way back from a faculty party in New York state, little does she expect a police officer at her door the following morning to tell her that one of her favourite students, Leia Dawson, has been killed in a hit and run accident and that Nan is the chief suspect. Worse still, Nan’s own daughter was previously killed in a road accident
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc, literature, unowned
I'm a huge fan of Goodman, but this book didn't sit well with me. It struck me as both completely predictable and ridiculously far-fetched at the same time, plus I knew who the killer was within 50 pages. Damn.
Mar 28, 2017 rated it liked it
River Road by Carol Goodman
3 Stars

From The Book:
Nan Lewis—a creative writing professor at a university in upstate New York—is driving home from a faculty holiday party when she hits a deer. Yet when she gets out of her car to look for it, the deer is gone. Eager to get home before 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…

The next morning, Nan is woken up by a police officer at her door with terrible news—
Kris - My Novelesque Life
Oct 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
Mar 01, 2018 rated it did not like it
This is, without exaggerating, the worst book I have ever read.

You see, I attended Bard College (the college located just outside of Red Hook on River Road- the college SUNY Acheron is clearly based off of- the ghost stories, the prison initiative, Overheard, etc). I lived in the exact area the book described for several years. Not only that, but I was also a creative writing student. You can see why I was very curious to pick up this book- curious, and hesitant. Two years before this book was p
Paul Pessolano
Nov 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
“River Road” by Carol Goodman, published by Touchstone Books.

Category – Mystery/Thriller Publication Date – January 19, 2016.

Nan Lewis is a college professor at a New York College. She is attending a faculty party and discovers that she has been denied tenure. Upset Nan leaves the party and drives home. On the way she hits a deer and follows it into the woods to determine its injuries. She cannot locate the deer and returns home.

In the morning she is awakened by the police who are impounding her
Sep 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a great page-turning suspense novel. It kept me engaged and wanting to keep reading. The only negative was that about half way through a minor character says something that is meant to be cryptic but for me it made the identity of the murderer crystal clear. I was not surprised one bit to discover that I was right. I was however surprised by the reason for the killing. Being able to guess the killer so easily took away some of the suspense but I still enjoyed the story.
4.5 stars rounded up.
I normally would not give such a high rating to this type of book, but this is a real page turner, right up to 1:30 AM when I finished it. I could not stop reading it.

As usual, Carol Goodmen writes beautifully, and skillfully crafts a complex mystery. There are some interesting red herrings and some plot twists that you may or may not see coming. I have to admit, I had my eye on the actual perpetrator for quite a while. This person did not ring true to me, my "antennae" we
Jan 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
In a snowy college town in upstate NY, on the night Nan finds out she's been denied tenure and has a bit too much to drink, she hits a deer on the drive home. The problem is, on that same night, on that same stretch of road, a college student is also ht by a car-and the police don't buy this crazy deer story.

I see that one of my Goodreads friends has read this book, and her review begins, "Although the language and descriptions were beautiful as usual, this book was not one of the author's best
Lucy Bartley
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Carol Goodman became one of my favorite authors after reading "The Lake of Dead Languages" & "The Seduction of Water". Her style, character development and suspense appeal to what I look for in a good writer. I always look for for her next book in anticipation and "River Road" fit the bill. Twists and turns in the plot had me trying to figure it out while I went along with her story. I stayed up to late two nights in a row to finish the page turner.
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: suspense
This was not the Gothic suspense I expected from the author, which was pretty disappointing. It felt like a bit of a Girl on the Train “woman with a drinking problem in peril” ripoff and I didn’t like any of the characters. I also guessed whodunit, it felt so glaringly obvious that I sped-read to be done because I knew what was coming. I love so many of her other books, I really hope the next one I read or more in her usual style!
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Goodman never disappoints

Strong female protagonists, a shroud of mystery and a setting that practically comes to life are all reasons why I love Carol Goodman’s books. While this one isn’t my favorite of hers, it kept me turning pages and I got through it pretty quickly.
Gayle Noble
Professor Nan Lewis finds herself viewed as the guilty party when a student is killed in a hit-and-run accident. Lewis is unsure, but she thinks she hit a deer during her drive home in a snowstorm, but what if it wasn't?

This was a rather average book really - not horribly bad, but not outstandingly good either. It was the usual thing of not being able to believe some of the poor decisions the MC made (she had already had an accident whilst driving in bad weather but she drives not once but twic
Apr 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Four stars: A suspenseful and exciting thriller that will keep you guessing to the end.

Nan grips the steering wheel tighter. The road is icy and it is pitch dark. She knows she should be driving slower on these icy roads, but tonight she just doesn't care anymore. Nan found out at a colleague's holiday party that she was denied tenure. This is just one more big stumble in Nan's life. She has been living in a fog, going through the motions since her daughter died a few years ago. As she rounds a
Jan 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Review posted on Library cat.

* Copy provided by the publisher in exchange of an honest review. *

„She hates that road. It took her daughter away. That blind curve is taking her life again, and again.“

Nan is a professor at the university, she teaches creative writing. After a party at the college, she goes home by car, slightly drunk. Driving in the dark, she hits a deer. She sees a deer. When she walks out of the car, the deer is nowhere to be found. She goes into the wood to look for it. Drunk
Dec 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
First off, I should start by saying that I really love Carol Goodman. I was so happy to hear she had another book being released in her "literary fiction" genre. I've read all of her stuff, but particularly like her fiction that centers around academia or literary pursuits.

This is a solid entry in her canon. I'm not giving anything away when I tell you the basics of this story: Nan, our protagonist, is dealing with the death of her 4-year-old daughter from 6 years in the past. As our story begi
Nan Lewis is a creative writing professor at a state school in upstate New York. She lives alone after the tragic death of her young daughter, Emmy--an incident which her marriage could not survive. She's recently been denied tenure by her school and is upset and agitated the university's holiday party. On her way home, she hits a deer, but cannot find the animal when she goes to check on it. Nan eventually makes it back home in a snowstorm, leaving her car at the bottom of her icy, unplowed dri ...more
Feb 07, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: incomplete
I thought River Road was going to be a good thriller, but it wasn't thrilling. Too much of the book deals with discussing drunk drivers. I hate drunk drivers, especially ones that never learn their lesson, like I seriously wish they would do the world a favor and jump off the nearest cliff.

I knew that the story would deal with Emmy's death, but hers was talked about almost as much as Leia's. For a long while it seemed liked things were going in an endless circle, and nothing was being accomplis
Feb 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nan Lewis had just left a holiday party, upset because of the news that another professor, Cressida Janowicz, had told her: that she had been denied tenure. She had had some wine, but only a couple of glasses, she was telling herself as she drove. She was okay. She would make it home safely.

She had tried to talk to Ross, the department head, but a student Leia Dawson, had been monopolizing his time.

Now, as she drove along the river, and just when she reached a particularly difficult turn, with p
Nan Lewis is driving home from a faculty holiday party at the university in upstate New York where she works after learning she has been denied tenure. Upset and tired, she's startled when she hits a deer, but even more startled when, after exiting the car, she can't locate the animal. Nan eventually gives up, instead heading home, eager to avoid the ensuing snowstorm. The next morning she is woken with the news that one of her students was hit by a car and killed – in the same location as her a ...more
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Carol Goodman is the author of The Lake of Dead Languages, The Seduction of Water, which won the Hammett Prize, and The Widow's House, which won the Mary Higgins Clark Award. She is also the co-author, with her husband Lee Slonimsky, of the Watchtower fantasy trilogy. Her work has appeared in such journals as The Greensboro Review, Literal Latte, The Midwest Quarterly, and Other Voices. After grad ...more
“I told him then that I loved him.
“Because I’ve read Jane Eyre?” he asked incredulously. “Not because I realized the voice really was yours and ran down the hill to find you?”
“Both,” I told him. “But mostly because of Jane Eyre.”
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