River Road: Carol Goodman

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Nan Lewis has had enough heart ache to last a lifetime. Losing a child is never easy. Losing them to a violent death is even worse. Nan’s Emmy was taken from her by a drunk driver. Seven years later, Nan faces an eerily similar situation.

While walking home from a party, Nan’s favorite student, Leia, is struck & killed in a hit & run. Unlike Emmy’s story though, Nan is the prime suspect. Knowing that the circumstantial evidence is piling up around her, the only thing Nan has to hold on to is the knowledge that she didn’t do it. In the court of public opinion, she’s already been convicted. Now she must fight an uphill battle to clear her name & get what’s left of her life back.

‘River Road’ crosses a number of genres. Mystery, suspense, thriller, & even a bit of romance are all twirled together to make one superb novel. Carol Goodman also hits a number of social issues with fictional characters who could definitely be real people. Alcoholism, drug addiction, social class discrimination- none of them are easy, feel-good topics. But, our author doesn’t shy away from them. Instead, she uses the good & bad to show the good & bad in everyone. No one is immune from battling them or being victimized by them.

The plot was definitely tricky to navigate at some points. Just when I thought it was over, there was another loop. It made for a darkly fun read. Our heroine, Nan, is easily likeable but just as easily detestable. In other words, she’s uncomfortably real. Readers will feel as if they have the whole book figured out and then sadly realize they don’t. Plots such as this are what keep mystery/thrillers exciting! My only complaint would be that there are a few places that got a bit wordy. Other than that, it definitely provides a surprise ending many won’t be expecting.

Carol Goodman has done a fantastic job with ‘River Road’. It’s easily a 5 star novel.

Sensitive readers: there is some strong language, sexual scenes (pretty tame by today’s standards), and minimal violence. None of that is a deal-breaker for this book because it’s not overly done.

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