Mad River Road

Publisher: Seal Books
After spending a year in prison, Ralph has explicit plans for his first night of freedom: tonight, someone will be held accountable. He goes to murderous lengths to learn the address of his former wife – the woman he blames for his fate. Determined to bring her to his idea of justice, Ralph’s next step is to travel from Florida to Ohio to find his ex-wife’s house on Mad River Road.

Also in Florida, Jamie Kellogg wakes from the agonizing nightmare of her mother’s funeral, and assesses her life: she’s a twenty-nine-year-old woman in a dead-end job, with an ex-husband in Atlanta, a married lover in the hospital, and a virtual stranger in her bed. But this stranger is everything the previous men in her life weren’t: tender, attentive, and adventurous. After convincing Jamie to quit her miserable job and ditch her judgmental, perfectionist sister, Ralph proposes a romantic getaway. While Jamie wonders if this thrilling man might finally be her Prince Charming, they plan a road trip to visit his son, who lives with his mother on a street called Mad River Road.
As riveting and beguiling as Joy Fielding’s previous novels, Mad River Road is a tale of courage, truth, and the need to trust one’s instincts.

From the Hardcover edition.


Three o'clock in the morning. His favorite time of day. The sky was dark, the streets deserted. Most people were asleep. Like the woman in the bedroom down the hall. He wondered if she was dreaming and smiled at the realization that her nightmare was just about to begin.
He laughed, careful not to...
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1. Mad River Road begins with a prologue in which we meet the novel’s villain. What dramatic function does the prologue play? How would the story be different without it?

2. From Ralph Fisher’s perspective, what makes Jamie ripe for the picking? As a reader, do you find Jamie sympathetic in...

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Praise for Joy Fielding:

“It’s hard to sit down and read a few pages of one of [Joy Fielding’s] novels and not want to read the rest. Right now.”
The Knoxville News-Sentinel

“Fielding understands what many female readers want. She gives us an independent, assertive heroine who gets to do the things most us would tsk about.”
The Gazette (Montreal)

“Fielding is as artful as Margaret Atwood when it comes to exploring female anger and the relationships between victim and victimizer. . . . It is Fielding’s talent for entwining the banal with the inconceivably evil that makes her stories so real.”
The Globe and Mail

“Fielding masterfully manipulates our expectations.”
The Washington Post

From the Hardcover edition.