Title: Unraveling Oliver
Author: Liz Nugent
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Publisher: Gallery (Simon & Schuster Canada)
Release Date: August 22, 2017
# of Pages: 272
Purchase Links: Amazon
“I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her.”
So begins Liz Nugent’s astonishing debut novel—a chilling, elegantly crafted, and psychologically astute exploration of the nature of evil.
Oliver Ryan, handsome, charismatic, and successful, has long been married to his devoted wife, Alice. Together they write and illustrate award-winning children’s books; their life together one of enviable privilege and ease—until, one evening after a delightful dinner, Oliver delivers a blow to Alice that renders her unconscious, and subsequently beats her into a coma.
In the aftermath of such an unthinkable event, as Alice hovers between life and death, the couple’s friends, neighbors, and acquaintances try to understand what could have driven Oliver to commit such a horrific act. As his story unfolds, layers are peeled away to reveal a life of shame, envy, deception, and masterful manipulation.
I couldn’t think of a better title for this book. It explains perfectly what this story is about. Unraveling Oliver. Like stated in the blurb the story starts off with Oliver delivering a blow to his wife Alice. The story then proceeds to examine Oliver through the perspective of friends, neighbours and acquaintances. Each character wondering if they had missed some small detail that explains Oliver’s attack on Alice.
I was a little nervous about reading a book told by multiple perspectives. Sometimes I find that authors struggle to have individual voices for each and every character. However, in this case I thought it was perfectly done. The cast of characters were intriguing. Each character saw a different side of Oliver and only by putting them all together could you truly unravel Oliver. Author, Liz Nugent, did an exceptional job of pacing out how his story unfolds. Perspective by perspective we get little glimmers of insight into who Oliver really is.. In the beginning I thought it was going to be a very dark and twisty tale. While it is a darker story I found that the “twists” became too predictable.
Overall, I was really impressed with the writing. It was vivid and captured your attention from the very first line. Even when things got predictable I couldn’t put the book down. Such a great debut novel by Nugent. I look forward to reading more of her work!
***Paperback Release: February 6, 2018 Simon & Schuster Canada Pre-order HERE ***