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River Road

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  2,853 ratings  ·  408 reviews
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 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 bot ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published January 19th 2016 by Titan Books
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Average rating 3.53  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,853 ratings  ·  408 reviews

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Diane S ☔
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
Aug 01, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Bill Kupersmith
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’s books. ...more
Jan 21, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, 2016
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Heather *Undercover Goth Queen*
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. ...more
Loved this. Such an atmospheric mystery, full of heart and emotion as well as drama and tension.

This was predictable, boring, unnecessarily convoluted and managed to end in a nice neat bow.
Kate~Bibliophile Book Club
Jun 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 06, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Dec 13, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Mar 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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—
Crystal Hiatt
Aug 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an atmospheric Northern Gothic tale immersed in unresolved grief and guilt. The varying degrees of tragedy woven through this story in addition to the visuals of the frigid landscape make this a powerful story.

Some heavy handed issues such as the death of a child, addiction, drug trafficking and inappropriate student/professor relationships are explored. The allusions to Dante's Inferno and Homer's The Odyssey gives the story poignant insight.
Kris - My Novelesque Life
3.5 stars
Mar 01, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
“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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this on audiobook. The narrator did a nice job. I enjoyed River Road quite a bit. Working in academia and English, I felt very familiar with the departmental politics associated with higher education and the discussions that the characters had regularly throughout the novel. The characters were solid and the romance wasn’t immediately apparent. The mystery was good with some twists and the pace was quick. This was an entertaining and fast mystery/thriller with little to no filler.
Jo Scho
Sep 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars. Nan is a college professor who hits a deer on a snowy road whilst driving home. However the next day she learns that one of her students, Leia, was killed in a hit and run at the very same spot. Nan thought she has hit a deer but now starts to doubt herself. As the story unfurls it becomes clear that there is more to Leia’s death than meets the eye.

A good idea, a wonderfully evocative snowy and wintry setting, but far too slow for me. The plot dragged and I guessed the ending far far
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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 of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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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

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