River Road

A Novel

River Road

From the award-winning author of The Lake of Dead Languages comes a “gripping read with emotion-charged twists and turns” (Tess Gerritsen) about a professor accused of killing her student in a hit-and-run accident.

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—one of her students, Leia Dawson, was killed in a hit-and-run on River Road the night before, and because of the damage to her car, Nan is a suspect. In the days following the accident, Nan finds herself shunned by the same community that rallied around her when her own daughter was killed in an eerily similar accident six years prior. When Nan begins finding disturbing tokens that recall the her daughter’s death, Nan suspects that the two accidents are connected.

As she digs further, she discovers that everyone around her, including Leia, has been hiding secrets. But can she uncover them, clear her name, and figure out who really killed Leia before her life is destroyed for ever?
This Edition:
9781501109911 Trade Paperback $16.00 Touchstone January 03, 2017
Other US Editions:
9781501109904 Hardcover $25.00 Touchstone January 19, 2016
9781501109928 eBook $11.99 Touchstone January 19, 2016
9781442395923 Unabridged Audio Download $23.99 Simon & Schuster Audio January 19, 2016
Retailers for Trade Paperback:
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for River Road includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Carol Goodman. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Nan Lewis’s life has been on a downward spiral ever since her daughter, Emmy, was killed in a hit-and-run drunk driving accident on River Road six years ago. She’s recently been denied tenure at the upstate New York university where she teaches creative writing then Nan accidentally hits a deer driving home from a faculty holiday party on River Road. Or was it a deer? The next morning she learns that one of her favorite students, Leia Dawson, was also killed in a hit-and-run on the same road and Nan’s car has significant damage. As her community turns against her, Nan must uncover who exactly killed Leia and how she’s connected to this tragic event.

Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. Early in the novel Nan says “That kind of woman would have a drink right now after the ordeal of that interrogation in the police station, but I never drank in the daytime and never before class" (page 37). How does Nan’s denial fa see more

About the Author

Carol Goodman
© Jennifer Mays

Carol Goodman

Carol Goodman is the critically acclaimed author of fourteen novels, including The Lake of Dead Languages and The Seduction of Water, which won the 2003 Hammett Prize. Her books have been translated into sixteen languages. She lives in the Hudson Valley with her family, and teaches creative writing at the New School and SUNY New Paltz. Visit her at CarolGoodman.com.


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