Carol Goodman returns with a suspenseful mystery with a dark gothic feel in The Sea of Lost Girls.

Along the craggy Maine coast, the prestigious Haywood School has been standing for decades. Protagonist Tess and her husband both teach there; Tess’s son Rudy attends. The school has held secrets for years and some of them are about to be revealed.

Troubled teen Rudy has always been someone Tess has protected, and that instinct kicks in when Rudy calls her early one morning to pick him up at school after a class play party. Only later that morning does she find out that the girl Rudy has been seeing has been found dead on the beach at the bottom of a high precipice–and Rudy was one of the last to see Lila Zeller alive.

Tess will find her small family the object of derision as the community makes up its own mind about what might have been a tragic accident. Until it isn’t an accident at all.

Tess needs to make certain Rudy couldn’t be involved and will go to extraordinary lengths, including uncovering secrets she’s held for decades, to protect her only child.

The woody Maine coast creates a nicely brooding atmosphere for Goodman’s thriller and adds to the darkness in this finely drawn psychological suspense novel where nature often takes its own revenge.