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Publisher's Summary

In this "compelling, clever, and dark" (Heat magazine) thriller, a man's shocking act of savagery stuns a local community - and the revelations that follow will keep you gripped until the very end. This work of psychological suspense, a number-one best seller in Ireland, is perfect for fans of Patricia Highsmith and Ruth Ware.

"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 is 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.

With its alternating points of view and deft prose, Unraveling Oliver details how an ordinary man can transform into a sociopath.

©2014 Liz Nugent. All rights reserved. Originally published in Ireland in 2014 by Penguin Ireland. (P)2017 Penguin Audiobooks. All rights reserved.

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Wow!!!!

I'll try to be brief and refrain from writing a soliloquy. I enjoyed this story, immensely. And I must say that, Oliver was the most complex and disturbed character that I've read about in quite some time. The unraveling of his troubled life was sad, and horrific; to say the least. Which prompts me to wonder - are sociopaths born, or created by circumstances? I enjoyed the narration, and the story was slow in unfolding, but it kept my interest. Just when I thought I can't bear this insensitive jerk anymore, something is revealed about his past; that stops you cold. Oliver is cold, calculating and completely, self-absorbed. Everyone around him is easily manipulated, especially the women. Their either so in love with him him, that their completely docile and submissive, enduring years of misery; or talking themselves into a sexual fantasy world; hoping that one day he'll come around. He won't! His life has so many twist and turns, that its hard to keep up. And in the very end, do you feel sorry for him; or come away thinking; perhaps he has some redeemable qualities after all. Well, written lots of mystery and shocking revelations. well worth the credit.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Margaret
  • San Francisco, CA USA
  • 08-27-17

Like an 80's Freudian novel...

The plot was powered by insane coincidences, which I guessed early on and hoped that wasn't where the book was going, but it did -- in order to explain to us exactly why Oliver did evil. Reminded me strongly of the way novels were structured in the 1980s. But the telling was good enough to hold my attention and I kept listening to hear how the Barney/Eugene story ended.

This struck me as a first try at writing a book. Publishers ultimately reject it, but the writing is good enough for the writer to receive some encouragement, so he or she goes back to the drawing board and the next novel ends up getting published and off to the races we go. The first manuscript ends up buried out back under the apple tree which is exactly where Unraveling Oliver belonged.

I didn't return it because I listened all the way through--so keep my credit. But I won't download/buy another book by Liz Nugent which is exactly why it's a bad idea to publish weak material as an introduction to readers/listeners. Win the battle, lose the war.

Skip this one.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Portrait of a sociopath

I thought this was very entertaining, it moved along at a quick pace and kept my interest. The plot had some interesting turns, the characters were mostly interesting, and the author "answered" most the plot questions by the end. But that ending somehow was a bit unsatisfying to me; Not sure why, maybe I wanted more of a sense of justice being done ?
I would still recommend this with that partial reservation. There are multiple narrators and all were good.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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this book was amazing !!!!!!!!

I am so glad I bought the audible version of this book. Excellent narrators with different accents really brought this book to life. The story is so well developed and I did not want it to be over when I finished it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Excellent Book!!!

What an original story, it kept me mesmerized! The narration was amazing and I did not want it to stop!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Marijane
  • Milton, DE, United States
  • 08-28-17

Fascinating.

What a sordid tale told from so many perspectives. The narration by different people was spot on.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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very entertaining

I loved the voices of the different characters. It really helps the story come to life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Couldn't make it through

What disappointed you about Unraveling Oliver?

Very slow and dull -- just not captivating or exciting. The narration pace was also far too slow. Could only make myself listen to an hour before I had to move on.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Spellbinding story and writing

Very interesting story. The subject matter is dark, but the book is so well written and keeps your attention right to the end. At times, I had to stop and re-think some of the twists, as they were surprising and deliberately provocative. I looked for more books by this author, but don't seen any on Audible. Narrator was wonderful. Absolutely worth the credit.

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Unraveling Oliver Again

During “Unraveling Oliver”, by Liz Nugent, I found myself ending each chapter just wishing that the story would get on with it. The story is designed in a way that each chapter, for the first half of the novel, has a sharp cliff hanger attempting to force you into interest. It isn’t until halfway or two-thirds that answers begin to appear, most being eluded too or inferred earlier, just not defined. The main character is a selfish individual, who even in his attempt at redemption fails to be selfless. There is a chapter explaining the experience of an individual with a developmental disability. I found this to be in poor taste. I am unsure if it is because of the way it was written or narrator’s depiction. The audio book had many voice actors that gave fantastic performances. Honestly some were so good that I had trouble understanding them through their accents; I felt that this was either a mark of skill or authenticity, both answers welcomed and applauded. It is regrettable that on the novels description there is only recognition for one narrator. You can find the names of all those involved at the end of the audio book itself. The audiobook was 6 hours and 50 minutes long. I found myself wanting to stop after 30 minutes, but felt obligated to finish it assuming my opinion would improve by the end. I would not recommend this book. That being said my opinion and that of others do not define a novel. If it seems of interest, try it and form your own opinion. Happy listening. TL;DR “Unraveling Oliver” is about a beyond selfish individual born out of terrible circumstance. The story denies the listener constantly with cliffhangers to attempt to gain interest. The depiction presented of an individual with developmental disabilities was unsavory. Do not let my opinions stop you. They are that: opinions. If you have interest, experience “Unraveling Oliver” and form your own.