Format: E-book (Kindle)
Publish Date: 6th March 2014
Publisher: Penguin Ireland
Pages: 240 Pages
‘I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her.’
Liz Nugent’s gripping novel of psychological suspense, Unravelling Oliver, is a complex and elegant study of the making of a sociopath in the tradition of Barbara Vine and Patricia Highsmith.
Oliver Ryan is a handsome and charismatic success story. He lives in the suburbs with his wife, Alice, who illustrates his award-winning children’s books and gives him her unstinting devotion. Their life together is one of enviable privilege and ease – enviable until, one evening after supper, Oliver attacks Alice and beats her into a coma.
In the aftermath, as everyone tries to make sense of his astonishing act of savagery, Oliver tells his story. So do those whose paths he has crossed over five decades. What unfolds is a story of shame, envy, breath-taking deception and masterful manipulation.
Only Oliver knows the lengths to which he has had to go to get the life to which he felt entitled. But even he is in for a shock when the past catches up with him.
Liz Nugent has worked in Irish film, theatre and television for most of her adult life. She is an award-winning writer of radio and television drama and has written short stories for children and adults. Unravelling Oliver is her first novel.
When I first saw the blurb for ‘Unravelling Oliver’ I just knew that this was a book I wanted to read. I have always had an interest in the criminal mind so learning Oliver was a sociopath interested me.
Oliver Ryan is a successful Children’s writer and shares the workload with his illustrator wife Alice. One evening it all takes a different turn and Oliver hurts Alice in a very bad way. Why did he beat her? Why did he just suddenly snap? No one can understand why he did it or do they?
Unravelling Oliver is told through the eyes of those that knew Oliver and they give you a detailed explanation of Oliver’s weird ways. Personally, I loved how it was written because you got to find out more things about him that you wouldn’t hear from Oliver himself; he would definitely fabricate the truth. All throughout the novel you find yourself wanting to read more because you’re curious as to why certain things are happening and how certain people are getting treated. It’s amazing how one man’s actions can change a number of people’s lives.
As much as Oliver is a hurtful man I did actually feel sorry for him. I mean don’t get me wrong beating your wife is not justifiable but he did have a troubled past and that had a part to play in his adult life. His father disowned him and he never knew his mother, so growing up in a boarding school with no one but priests for company probably hasn’t given him the best part of life.
You really find yourself drawn to the novel and you always want more. I honestly believe this book deserved a 5 out of 5 because for a first novel, it’s brilliant.
You can pre-order Unravelling Oliver on Amazon UK! The novel is released the 6th March.
About the Author
In her early career Liz Nugent worked as a stage manager in theatres in Ireland and toured internationally. More recently, Liz has written extensively for radio and television drama. She has been shortlisted for the prestigious Francis McManus Short Story Award. She lives with her husband in her native Dublin. UNRAVELLING OLIVER is her first novel.
Find out more about Liz on Twitter at @lizzienugent