Cover Image: Reef Road

Reef Road

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Member Reviews

This book is told from two perspectives. The wife and the writer. It’s not immediately clear how the two stories are connected. In fact, for me it didn’t even begin to hint at a connection until almost halfway through. 

The second half of the book is like opening an advent calendar. Each door ‘chapter’ revealed a little piece of the puzzle and genuinely kept me hooked right up until the end. 

This is the first book I’ve read where the pandemic has featured as quite an important concept in the storyline. It was an interesting way of weaving a story around the global pandemic. 

I really enjoyed this book and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to anyone who enjoys a thriller/mystery read.
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Reef Road is an interesting view of a murder or murders mysteries from two protagonists that eventually meld t together to become one dynamic many-faceted plot. The novel keeps you in suspense until the even more surprising ending. I enjoyed the Net Galley preview.
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The lives of two women are set to a collision course, one that has started about 4 decades earlier. The story is being told by "The Wife" or Linda. She seems to have it all: a beautiful house on Reef Road on Palm Beach, a successful husband and two wonderful children. Her life is in stark contrast with "The Writer", who shares a secluded life with her old dog writing about crime, trying unsuccessfully to evade a dark inheritance. Her mother was the best friend of a 12 year old girl that was brutally murdered in her own home. The unsolved mystery has marked not only her mother, but has had a ripple effect on the next generations, that last up till today without ever losing force.

  Even though this is a character study of the two woman, at its core it is cleverly showing the magnitude a violent act can have through multiple generations. Apart from the victim, there are so many more people whose lives are tragically affected, certainly when such a heinous act remains a mystery and the perpetrator remains unknown and thus unpunished. 

  The first half of the book is rather slow as one would expect when thoroughly detailing the human nature and the history of the two protagonists. And quite unexpectedly, halfway through the writer drops a bombshell and the story takes a completely different turn. Just when Covid hits and lockdowns starts, this is also when the action takes place and it is very cleverly done. Both womens' actions are being done covertly, under the hushed tones of confinement and it gives this Floridian noir a very oppressive atmosphere. 

   It is cleverly written and I will certainly look for the previous books of this author as I do like her writing style very much. A sincere thanks to NetGalley, Post Hill Press and the author for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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If revenge is a dish best served cold, it doesn’t get much colder than in Reef Road. Years after the event, two women must face how an unsolved murder has impacted their lives. Linda has direct ties to the possible murderer while Noelle’s peripheral connection to the victim. Great psychological study of how the actions of others can change the course of our own lives.
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I read Ruby Falls earlier this year and absolutely loved it, so I knew I had to check out Reef Road as well! This suspenseful novel explores the legacy of generational trauma / violence and asks readers to challenge their own assumptions about human nature and the choices we make.

Welcome to the Sunshine State in the early days of the pandemic. Linda is a restless housewife who has become increasingly unhappy in her marriage. Her husband Miguel is controlling and favors the gender roles of a conservative marriage, so Linda is the primary caretaker of their children, while Miguel gets to be the “fun Dad” who swoops in for bedtime stories and playtimes. Just as Linda is beginning to feel like their marriage is unsustainable, a visitor appears and destabilizes the delicate balance of their unhappy suburban existence. And where roiling family dynamics meet the chaos of the pandemic, Linda sees an opportunity to change her future.

But as Linda is looking to the future, her friend and confidant is looking to the past - where a childhood defined by grief, trauma, fear, and dysfunction has never really stayed in the past. Just like Linda, her friend also sees an opportunity to heal old wounds with the unusual circumstances of the pandemic, setting them both on a fateful path that intersects in explosive, unexpected ways.

I was especially drawn to this book after reading the premise, which described a grown woman whose upbringing was defined by proximity to a violent crime - the murder of her mother’s childhood best friend. I can relate to this. When I was an infant, my mother’s best friend was brutally and publicly murdered by a stranger in broad daylight. I don’t remember my mom’s friend, but I know what it is to be raised by someone who is shattered by grief and gripped by fear. It darkens many corners of childhood innocence and frames many experiences in shades of uncertainty and trepidation. I don’t pretend to know the pain and grief of my mother’s loss, but I know how proximity to trauma creates its own scars - and frenzies a need to protect the ones you love.

The women in Reef Road carry deep emotional scars - some of which are unexamined and others are probed too often. Sometimes the truth is a balm for these scars, and sometimes it reopens the wounds. As the plot winds its way through a thicket of truth and lies, there are interludes of reflection on criminal psychology, crime statistics, and many nods to true crime events that will both satisfy and disturb readers. I especially love the way the author explores the notion of victimhood and the hierarchy of fallout based on proximity to the victim.

Ultimately, Reef Road is a book that examines choices and circumstances, which is probably what all violent events could be reduced to - an opportunity and a chosen action. And some circumstances, like the pandemic, are unprecedented in our lifetime and do not yield neat and tidy options for everyone. Especially for Linda and her friend. This was a very quick and compelling story that suspense fans and true crime lovers will want to read. And if you’re a fan of Rebecca and gothic fiction, definitely check out Ruby Falls as well!
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Reef Road by Deborah Goodrich Royce was an unsettling story based on actual events. The back-and-forth of two narrators made the book difficult to understand and follow; however, the story was compelling to read.  

Thank you to NetGalley and Permuted Press for the opportunity to read this ARC.
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A super cool novel that reads like a true crime story and is actually inspired by true events!

In Palm Beach Florida, a hand washes ashore. It's the middle of an international pandemic and a lone wolf writer becomes obsessed and a woman who claimed that her husband has disappeared becomes incredibly anxious. What does this hand mean to them both?

This unique novel switches between the 2020 pandemic and the past loss of novelist's mothers friend. You become deeply involved in both stories and turn the pages quickly to find out what really transpired. Although, like you, I am tired of the pandemic, the mentions of covid protocol just made the story more real, rather than detract. 

If you fancy yourself a crime solver, or just want a truly unique mystery thriller, Reef Road is a fantastic ride and definitely for you!  #ReefRoad #DeborahGoodrichRoyce  #Posthillpress #Simon&Schuster #netGalley
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This book was interesting. It kept me interested to where I wanted to continue and find out what happened but I didn't necessarily enjoy it. I struggled with the dual POV's especially the writer's chapters. They did not flow with the story.

This book definitely kept me entertained though!
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I enjoyed the contemporary setting during the pandemic and the narration from two points of view, however I struggled to engage with the historical story of Noelle, the murdered best friend of the mother of one of the narrators (the Writer). Something about it just didn’t grab my attention, I found it overly dominant and repetitive, which was perhaps intended to convey the narrator’s obesession.
I found Linda (the Wife)’s chapters gradually more gripping, and for a while I was hooked, but this tailed off again before the ending. If you like endings where all is resolved, you won’t be a fan of this one.
Enjoyable enough but it didn’t quite do it for me..
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This book started off great for me but...

First, there is the writer pov, which became annoying very fast. It felt like half of it was her going over the same thing again and again, and the other half was some weird stream of consciousness I couldn't care less about. Some of the stuff she talked about was pretty interesting. The constant quotes were a bit too much, though.

Linda's pov, on the other hand, was much more interesting, and I actually liked her character. The vagueness of her narration was interesting to read. Even though you know it's obvious she's guilty of something, you can't really tell of what exactly until things start being revealed, and it kept me on the edge of my seat.

Now onto the ending, some of the characters' motivations were never revealed and only half guessed at, which was a bit frustrating. Honestly, the entire "karma" sentiment on the writer's part was also weird to me, I couldn't tell what the author's intention was. I feel like we were supposed to dislike her, but at the same time, everything turned out well for her which was pretty unsatisfying to me. I guess maybe that could've been the point but I don't know. 

It did keep me entertained, though! But I think it would've been much more interesting if the entire thing had been written from Linda's pov alone.

Thank you to Post Hill Press and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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Linda and Noelle, two female residents of Palm Beach, FL find themselves to be deeply rooted beyond their shared zip code. When a washed up limb surfaces on the shore, questions arise of its owner and origin.

In short, I was completely enthralled by this story. Weaving a complex narrative inspired by current events of 2020, murders, personal histories, cultural phenomenons and the ramifications of nations at war, Reef Road was a joy to read. Cleverly constructed with cosmopolitan storylines and grim detailing that is bound to enchant true crime enthusiasts and strike history buffs' fancy.

Elements and tropes to be enjoyed:
Multiple POVs
Shuffled timelines
Multi-generational mysteries and traumas unraveled
Sophisticated diction
The inner psyche of the characters through their POVs, particularly The Writer MC and her craft
An ending that provides equal amounts of closure and pathways for the imagination to run
Transcends socio-economic lines, providing relevance for a myriad of readers
Based on a true story close to the author’s heart 

Simply put, folks aren’t always as they seem and this is a must-read!

4.75 stars

Thank you NetGalley, Post Hill Press and Deborah Goodrich Royce for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review!
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5 star read for me! I loved this book so much, I could not put it down. I found the structure really unique (a bit confusing to begin with then it all pieced together quickly). Loved the character development of the writer, not giving her name until further into the book and by that point I'd started to feel a bit suspicious of her as the narrator which was just genius. Definitely a book that kept me guessing and I enjoyed every minute! A fantastic thriller I'd recommend to everyone!
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This book had light suspense, intrigue, low action and a bit of a who done it! The storyline was interesting and flowed nicely, it was a decent read just not one of my all time favorite! Thank you netgalley and the publisher for sharing this book with me!
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A sublime novel told with a historical timeline and a modern one. 

This is truly writing you can luxuriate in, with well written characters, history, a sub plot story around the Argentine conflict and a really important take on the impact of an act of violence.

A modern classic.
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Superbly written. A dark psychological thriller that had me entirely engaged from page one. It’s about an unsolved murder from decades past and an author who strives to uncover the truth. A wife who’s own lies and betrayals get twisted beyond recovery. But how is it all linked? 
I couldn’t get enough of this story, it’s written so well I felt like i was right there alongside the author, desperately trying to figure out what had happened on that terrible night many years ago.
This was the first book I’ve read from this author and will definitely be looking up her other ones. 
Highly recommended.
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Although this book started out slowly for me as I tried to figure out how the storylines would come together, I couldn't put it down once they did!  Royce tells a great story that will hook you right until the end.
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4 stars 
In May 2020 two  brothers illegally enter Reef Road beach, clutching their surfboards where they discover a severed hand washed up on the shore. They are watched but fail to notice a middle-aged woman, a lonely writer who is obsessed with the unsolved murder of her mother‘s best friend in 1948, Noelle Huber. At the the start of the pandemic the writers life collides with a mother whose husband has disappeared with their two young children. This story, told from the point of view of the writer and the wife is inspired by true crime and looks at how the impact of crime goes way beyond those that are most immediately involved.

This is a clever and exceptionally well written novel which constantly has you questioning the things you learn. It takes you on quite a journey with the psychological aspect of Noelle’s murder on both the writer and her mother being very well conveyed. These two become very isolated and lonely as one of consequences. There are some other very powerful elements too as part of the storyline has its roots in Argentina and that takes us into its murky recent history such as the children of The Disappeared. 

For a long time you cannot see quite where the story is going but it’s so compelling that you read on. The pace initially isn’t fast but it certainly speeds up as the storyline progresses as there are a number of shocks in store especially in the life of the mother which takes a very dark turn. The last part demonstrates the old adage of best laid plans of mice and men which are frequently interrupted by things that cannot be controlled and that also individuals should have been able to foresee situations that may arise and thus prevent the rupture of their plans. The Pandemic, an example of the uncontrollable, is used very effectively in the background and adds to the growing tension. Worlds implode and an avenging angel descends and although the ending is very apt and realistic it maybe could’ve packed a slightly bigger punch.

There’s a lot to praise here, I love the way it’s written it’s clever and witty with some creative descriptions.  There is excellent use of literature and other quotes to ram home some points more forcefully. My one little negative is sometimes the writer‘s narrative rambles on a bit and is a tad repetitive especially on the impact of Noelle Huber on her life. 

However it’s a book I’d still recommend and which richly deserves a four star rating.

With thanks to NetGalley and especially to Post Hill Press for the much appreciated arc in return for an honest review.
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Thank you so much for the access to read this book early!

I really really enjoyed the concept of this book - the two perspectives that intertwined more and more as the novel went on was really awesome to read through. 

The twists and revelations were also absolutely fantastic and I had a great time pausing to try and predict what was coming next (only to be proven wrong!) I loved the idea of The Writer writing the true-crime story of The Wife - definitely an original and fresh idea. 

I was absolutely enthralled once the two stories started to come together more and I could not put it down. 

I will say though that the ending feels a bit flat? It doesn’t feel satisfying after getting so into the personal lives of the characters - I’m left with a lot of questions about what happened to everyone that I don’t feel we’re fully answered (Not always a bad thing but in this case I think it needs more of a round up) 

All in all an EXCELLENT read - very much looking forward to this coming out so I c a read it again!!
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Thank you NetGalley and Post Hill Press for the ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

I have just finished this book and my thoughts are still swirling...which is always the sign of a great read!  This is a great story based upon true crime and an intriguing mystery / thriller that I could not put down.  

There are 2 main characters that also are our narrators:  the Wife and the Writer.  Both narrators are telling 2 seemingly different stories until they intersect with a clash in such a clever and masterful way.  Honestly, I spent the first half of the book trying to figure out how, when and where the 2 narrator stories would intersect.  Once the stories combined into one, I could barely keep up!

The Wife is dealing with a missing husband and her 2 children.  The writer is living a dysfunctional life filled with bulimia, loneliness and growing up in the persistent shadow of a real life 1948 murder.  The book explores eating disorders, Covid, the effect trauma can have on its victims, adultery, domestic abuse, familial secrecy, Argentina's historical unrest, and motherhood.  How the author combines and weaves the two stories together is masterful.

Loved this!  Looking forward to publication day!!!
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This was a fun read, it took a while for the narrative threads to come together from the key protagonists - and to be honest I had far more for the characters when they weren't so enmeshed -unfortunately once they did the book lost some of its appeal as a reader.    The mix of lies vs truth between the lonely writer and the lonely wife is compelling. but the end left me far from sated.
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