Nationally Bestselling and Award-winning Author

Reef Road

  • Kirkus Reviews'

    Best Books of 2023
  • Publishers Weekly Bestseller

  • Good Morning America

    Top 15 Books of January
  • American Booksellers Association

    Indie Next Pick
When a severed hand washes ashore in the wealthy enclave of Palm Beach, Florida, the lives of two women—a lonely writer obsessed with the unsolved murder of her mother’s best friend and a panicked wife whose husband has disappeared with their children—collide as the world shutters in the pandemic lockdown of 2020.
A young woman's life seems perfect until her family goes missing. A writer lives alone with her dog and collects arcane murder statistics. What each of them stands to lose as they sneak around the do-not-enter tape blocking Reef Road beach is exposed by the steady tightening of the cincture encircling them.

In a nod to the true crime that inspired it, Deborah Goodrich Royce's Reef Road probes unhealed generational scars in a wrenching and original work of fiction. It is both stunning and sexy and, like a bystander surprised by a curtain left open, you won’t be able to look away.
Read an Excerpt

Praise for Reef Road

Royce's murder mystery, involving generational vengeance in the time of Covid-19, would make the ancient Greeks proud. Royce is a wicked good writer…the gears of this clever plot mesh like those of a Swiss watch. A truly absorbing mystery by a writer at the top of her game.”
  • — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
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. This is an expertly paced thrill ride.”
  • — Publisher's Weekly
Royce handles the balance of Reef Road’s off-kilter story with a magnificent, firm grip. The novel is rife with uncanny connections and flawed main characters with hidden agendas. It’s tense with secondary characters whose impacts are stunning, as events ricochet in a series of strange chain-reactions sprung from perfectly timed twists you’ll never see coming.”
  • — Claire Fullerton, New York Journal of Books
Reef Road is the perfect example of literary and psychologically-driven action that takes suspense to a different level. Deborah Goodrich Royce is especially skilled at crafting the kinds of characters whose lives not only dovetail unexpectedly, but entwine unusual tendrils of influence to change paths that at first feel inevitable. A novel of psychological suspense and intrigue, cemented not only by the sense of place that is Reef Road, but characters that revolve around past and present events with no guarantee that the future will prove any different.
  • — D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
A series of three seemingly unrelated stories infuse the plot of Reef Road, Deborah Goodrich Royce’s third novel. Working more like vignettes, these glimpses at the lives and motives of people quickly intersect and overlap as Royce delivers a rich story that’s also steeped in Palm Beach history and society. Reef Road smoothly alternates between these stories as Royce ingeniously shows how the three situations are related.
  • — Oline H. Cogdill, South Florida Sun Sentinel
Precisely and perfectly crafted…During the pandemic in an idyllic setting, one woman’s mistakes and one woman’s quest for revenge come together in this haunting and suspenseful tale. I found Reef Road to be a memorable and captivating story. Highly recommend.”
  • — Fresh Fiction
Reef Road is magnificent. It feels utterly real, a novel of deeply personal context. It swerves between truth and lies—the lies that lead to an even deeper—and more devastating—truth. Though pure fiction, it reads as compellingly as a mixture of memoir and exposé. It has left me shaken to the core. Deborah Goodrich Royce writes with brilliant understanding of the mystery and occasional grace of trauma.”
  • —Luanne Rice, New York Times bestselling author
Superbly written and elegantly structured, the oh-so-talented Deborah Goodrich Royce brings her unique voice and mesmerizing style to an altogether original novel of suspense. Instantly immersive and deeply felt, Reef Road is both intensely personal and powerfully universal. Royce creates a haunting (and surprising!) portrait of a troubled wife—and the relentless writer on the trail of her past. I could not put it down.”
  • —Hank Phillippi Ryan, USA Today bestselling author of Her Perfect Life
Reef Road is a masterpiece. It’s a tightly woven and often humorously told thriller that somehow manages to speak volumes about how families pass down trauma. Nothing short of brilliant.”
  • — Annabel Monaghan, author of Nora Goes Off Script
Reading Reef Road feels like bingeing a particularly addictive true crime series. Mysteries intersect in this haunting page-turner as Deborah Goodrich Royce explores the ripple effect of violence, generational trauma, and the emotional weight of a case gone cold.”
  • —Megan Collins, author of The Family Plot
In Deborah Goodrich Royce’s propulsive and riveting novel Reef Road, nothing is what it seems. You will keep turning pages into the night, unraveling the threads of two women’s intersecting lives to reveal a shocking act of violence and the devastating reverberations that echo decades later.”
  • —Mary Dixie Carter, author of The Photographer
A writer on a mission to solve a decades old murder. A woman struggling to survive an abusive marriage and protect her children. As these two narrations collide in the most unexpected way, the story takes a marvelously twisty turn. Original, taut, and psychologically complex,Reef Road is Deborah Goodrich Royce at the top of her game!”
  • — Wendy Walker, nationally bestselling author of Don’t Look For Me
Reef Road is a daunting masterpiece. A plot-driven thriller inspired by a real unsolved murder that you won’t be able to put down. This atmospheric thriller satisfies. A stunningly dark read.”
  • —Rea Frey, award-winning author of Secrets of Our House
Reef Road careens from a decades-old unsolved murder in Pittsburgh, to a grisly discovery washing up on the shore of the breezy, ocean town of Palm Beach. With expert touch and nuance, Deborah Goodrich Royce weaves the lives of a novelist searching for the truth, a bored housewife, and the menacing figure of a man or two, through the claustrophobic, early days of the COVID pandemic. The result is an asteroid-like collision of deceit, guilt, and greed in an unexpected, stunning climax that will stay with you long after you finish reading. A page-turning, incredible read!”
  • —Brian Cuban, author of The Ambulance Chaser
Reef Road, a taut, expertly-crafted psychological thriller, grabbed me from the first page and kept me hooked with its many dark twists. Set in Palm Beach, Florida, during the strange, locked-down days of Spring, 2020, the novel alternates between two narratives: an unnamed mystery writer, who is researching the murder in 1948 Pittsburgh of her mother’s childhood friend, Noelle Grace Huber; and Linda Alonso, the unhappily married mother of two young children. As layer by layer is peeled away, the connection between these two women and the long-dead girl is revealed—and along with it, a powerful rendering of how trauma from one violent act can reverberate for generations.”
  • —Virginia Hume, author of Haven Point
Taut and suspenseful, Reef Road reveals how one horrific act of violence can reverberate through multiple lives, even generations. Based on a real-life event, this book will keep you turning the pages well into the night as secret upon harrowing secret unfolds.”
  • —Wendy Francis, author of Summertime Guests
Reef Road is a thriller of a roller-coaster ride, an elixir of murder, mystery, and mental instability, built on foundational questions—whether we are destined to inherit or repeat the psychological trauma of our parents, whether we can ever really trust assumptions we make of another, or trust the limits of what we, ourselves, are capable of. Ms. Goodrich Royce is expert at weaving a tale where the interplay among characters rebounds between the real and the imagined, exposing a shocking backstory with current-day repercussions in the process. The backdrop of glitzy Palm Beach, contrasting with staid, mid-century Pittsburgh, reminds us that evil can be found anywhere, unconstrained by geography, education, or social status. Unraveling the characters’ motives and psyche, and the plot twists and turns, makes Reef Road a perfect book club choice.”
  • —Joan Luise Hill and Katie Mahon, authors of The Miracle Collectors: Uncovering Stories of Wonder, Joy, and Mystery
Reef Road paints the unforgettable portraits of two deeply flawed, yet mesmerizing women and how an unsolved mystery seventy-two years ago still haunts them today. Deborah Goodrich Royce crafts an unforgettable thriller full of captivating twists and deeply compelling characters. It is a chilling story of generational trauma and an evocative tale of unresolved grief exploding into the kind of novel readers will never want to put down.”
  • —Joani Elliott, author of The Audacity of Sara Grayson