cover image Reef Road

Reef Road

Deborah Royce Goodrich. Post Hill, $27 (272p) ISBN 978-1-63758-496-5

The discovery of a severed hand washed ashore on the Florida barrier island of Palm Beach propels this tightly constructed psychological thriller from Royce (Ruby Falls). Linda Alonso, who lives on Palm Beach, fears the hand may be a clue to the recent disappearance of her husband and their two small children. Another resident affected by this grisly find is a reclusive writer who identifies herself as Noelle, the name of a 12-year-old girl whose murder 75 years earlier obsesses her. Linda is more than the distraught wife and mother she seems to be, and Noelle’s obsession is rooted in a grim truth that has been buried for nearly a century. The stakes increase as the Covid pandemic forces the two into lockdown. A deadly cat-and-mouse game ensues, but who is the predator and who the prey? Royce keeps the plot twists coming as she vividly depicts the uncertainty and mistrust generated by the pandemic, which drives both Linda and Noelle inexorably toward madness. Readers should be prepared for some disturbing scenes. This is an expertly paced thrill ride. Agent: Beth Davey, Davey Literary and Media. (Jan.)