Unraveling Oliver


Though I am a fan of many different genres and tend to devour books of any kind, I find it difficult to put a good thriller down once I start it. For instance, The Woman in the Window by A.J Finn was a psychological thriller that I literally could not stop reading. As I recall, my husband and I were meant to attend an event the evening and instead of getting ready I read it until I finally decided I had to stop or else I would end up going to the event in my pajamas. As you will find out, reading Unraveling Oliver was a similar experience as I became so engrossed in the story I found myself doing nothing bu reading this past Sunday morning. Liz Nugent is no stranger to my bookshelf and when I saw Unraveling Oliver on my mom’s bookshelf I grabbed it with the intention to take it home to read throughout the week. It turned out a weekend was all I needed to read this thriller. This book quickly draws you in and leaves you wanting to find out more.


Oliver Ryan has the perfect life. Elegant and seductive, he wants for nothing, sharing a lovely home with his steadfast wife, Alice, who illustrates the award-winning children’s books that have brought him wealth and fame. Until one evening, after eating the dinner Alice has carefully prepared, Oliver savagely assaults her and leaves her for dead. But why? As the news comes out of this horrific event, the few people who have had the most significant contact with Oliver recall their accounts with him and speculate about the reasons behind his brutal act. The people who recall their times with Oliver are his empty-headed mistress Moya, vain and petulant; Veronique, the French chatelaine who tragically lost everything the summer she employed him in her vineyard; Alice’s friend Barney, who has nursed an unrequited love for her since childhood; and Oliver’s college pal Michael, struggling with voiceless longings that have shamed him for years. What none of them understands is the dark secret that lies behind his immaculate façade.

A fast-paced thriller, Unraveling Oliver, tells the tale of a man with a seemingly perfect life. However, revelations come to light about Oliver’s past after his brutal act of violence towards his wife. The revelations on Oliver's past behavior, coming from both those who knew Oliver and his own recollections, shed light on the recent domestic events that took place in his home. With each chapter, decades of Oliver's life are laid bare, and Oliver discovers that he cannot continue running from his past. Unraveling Oliver is told from varying perspectives, changing between Oliver and the people who knew him. As a reader, it was interesting to read from different perspectives as the author gave each character their own style and voice. Though each character's memories of Oliver were different, they all shared a common theme that allow readers to develop their own perception of Oliver. Not only were the characters well-developed but the mystery behind the main subject, Oliver, was just as fascinating. At times I had an idea of where the story was going but Nugent withheld little pieces in each chapter to keep my intrigue. I found Unraveling Oliver to be similar to a literary onion, where each chapter (character) was a layer that peeled back to get to the juicy plot. This is certainly a must read for thriller fans and is sure to be a favorite.

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