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Unravelling Oliver [Kindle Edition]

Liz Nugent
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (129 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £12.99
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Book Description

WINNER - IBA Crime Fiction Book of the Year 2014



'Compelling, clever and dark, unlike any other psychological thriller you will have read before ... you'll gobble it up in one go.'
Heat Magazine



'Gone Girl meets The Spinning Heart ... a great cracking read ... I couldn't put it down' Ryan Tubridy, RTÉ



'The compulsion to continue reading never wanes and most impressively the ending doesn't buckle under the weight of expectation ... a persistently satisfying read' Sunday Times



'A page-turning, one-sitting read from a brand new master of psychological suspense' Sunday Independent



'An ambitiously structured and compelling "whydunnit"' Daily Mail



'Formidable' Irish Times



'Reminiscent of The Book of Evidence' RTE Guide



'We read this in one sitting ... satisfyingly unnerving.' Woman's Way



'All I know is I stayed awake until 3am to finish it, which I haven't done with a new novel for longer than I can remember.' Irish Independent



'The best opening line you'll read all year ... and you'll keep reading' Sinead Crowley, RTE Arts Correspondent



'Her writing is stylish, the characters are vivid and the line of the story is all too real and plausible. Can't recommend it highly enough.' Rick O'Shea, 2FM



'A superb and compelling terrifying book' Sinead Desmond, TV3



'Just read a book in one sitting. Last time I managed that was about twenty years ago. The book was Liz Nugent's Unravelling Oliver' Declan Burke, CrimeAlwaysPays.ie



'A kind of Irish Mr Ripley ... Gripping, thought-provoking' Darragh McManus, arts journalist



'I read this book over a 24 hour period. I seriously could not put it down.' Writing.ie



'Magnificent ... compulsively readable ... stunning, shock and superb' Frank McGuinness



'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.



Product Description

Review

The compulsion to continue reading never wanes ... a persistently satisfying read. (Sunday Times)

A page-turning, one-sitting read from a brand new master of psychological suspense (Sunday Independent)

Formidable (Irish Times)

About the Author

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.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1021 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Ireland (6 Mar. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844883094
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844883097
  • ASIN: B00F10Z4HI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (129 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #20,843 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificently constructed. 6 Mar. 2014
By Liz Wilkins TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Thank you to the publisher for the advance copy.

Oliver Ryan is a handsome and charismatic success story. He lives in the leafy 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 puts 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.

To say this book was gripping would be to put it mildly. And I don’t think I have seen a book so aptly titled in a long time. Unravelling Oliver is exactly right. Oliver and Alice seem to have the perfect marriage – he writes childrens books, she illustrates them, and a fair few people are envious of what they have together. Then one night for no apparent reason, Oliver beats Alice, severely and without mercy. But why? What exactly made him crack?

What follows is a compelling and comprehensive “unravelling” of the man behind the mask – told from various points of view, including Oliver’s, we begin to build a picture of the true nature of both the marriage and the people. As those that crossed Oliver’s path over the years tell their story you will be fascinated, sometimes horrified but always urged onwards, unable to look away.

This is terrific writing because there are many strands to this one – Oliver’s childhood, his formative relationships, background filled in by those who knew him.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A man unravelled! 6 Mar. 2014
By C. Bannister TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition
Unravelling Oliver is one of those books that I knew I would love as soon as I started reading it.
‘I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her.’
These words written by Oliver about what he did to his wife on 12 November 2011 in Dublin. After I had read his words I was chilled, here appears to be a man with no remorse and no motive so what made Oliver batter his wife Alice so badly that she was left in a coma.

The publishers, Penguin Ireland, tell us; ‘Unravelling Oliver, is a complex and elegant study of the making of a sociopath in the tradition of Barbara Vine and Patricia Highsmith,’ and I can’t disagree.

In this tradition Liz Nugent has employed some of the characters that Oliver Ryan came into contact with during the five decades of his life to reveal small but telling details. Told as if they are giving interviews to the media as monologues, each character gives us a little more insight into Oliver’s character and the events that shaped his life. Barney who was Alice’s boyfriend before Oliver and met him the night he attacked Alice is the first to have his say but there are plenty of others who have encountered Oliver during his life. Throughout the book Oliver, and others who have met him, unwrap the things he thought he had kept hidden and unravel his life, so that as readers we get an insight into the why of this charismatic, but deeply flawed character.
The originality, cleverness and fantastic characters which peel back the layers of Oliver over the years along with evidence of previous events presented in one way by Oliver and another by alternative narrators was a sheer delight to read.

I am delighted that the publishers gave me a copy of this book in return for my honest review as I wouldn’t have wanted to miss meeting Oliver Ryan!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unravelling Oliver- perfect man, perfect monster 12 Feb. 2014
Format:Paperback
Unravelling Oliver is a perfectly handmade title for this intriguing story.
Liz Nugent took me straight to the kitchen on South Dublin avenue where I first met Oliver. He had just committed the worst crime a man can do to his wife, or any woman.
Oliver was more surprised by his actions than Alice, his wife. The sweet Alice had a completely different character to Oliver. She preferred to be in the background both in their marriage and their joint success while Oliver with his look and charisma was the one in the spotlight.
'She just lay on the floor holding her jaw. Staring at me. Silent.'
Oliver went to get his coat from its peg in the hall and left...

There is a suspense all the way through out the book and all the characters are equally interesting. If someone buys the book by its cover they will have a lovely surprise. I did! :)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stayed up half the night... 16 April 2014
By Helen
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a gripping book. I'd intended to only read a couple of chapters but I found myself staying up for hours to finish it one go. It's not a thriller per se, but it certainly is thrilling.

The opening is shocking in its brutality. To start with domestic violence - and to have that violence told from the point of view of the wife-beater himself - is a daring and clever move. It would be remarkably easy from that point on to feel little but disgust for the eponymous Oliver. However, Nugent deftly weaves in other storylines, moving backwards and forwards through time and including scenes where you feel nothing but sympathy for him and his shocking upbringing. It's neither presented as a cliche or an excuse for his behaviour, which makes it work all the better. I found my emotions and opinions manipulated and twisted at every turn.

Unravelling Oliver is told from multiple viewpoints and each new voice rings true. I often find that novels which switch viewpoints in this manner irritate me because I get drawn into one character just as the author leaves off and switches to another. However, I didn't feel this when reading this book. Nugent times each switch perfectly so that as soon as you get to the end of one 'voice', you're dying to read the next one to find out what new information will be provided. This is so much more than a tale of abuse: at the heart there's a complex 'unravelling' not only of Oliver but of the plot and its affairs. The final revelation is gripping.

Now that I've finished it, I'm still not sure whether I'm repelled by Oliver or whether I want to give him a great big hug and tell him it's all going to be alright. I do know that I'll be on the lookout for more from Liz Nugent though!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Interesting and good set out.
Published 7 hours ago by H R BILLINGTON
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent & compelling read
Meet Oliver Ryan, a very successful children’s book writer who is married to an equally successful woman, Alice who also happens to be the illustrator for his books. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Celeste Loves Books
5.0 out of 5 stars I found the book most interesting story and the main ...
I found the book most interesting story and the main caracter was very complex and interesting though very hard to understand all his hang ups.
Published 7 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Sparsely written in a style that totally absorbs the reader
Oliver's life is built on deceit and all those who come into contact with him are adversely affected by the experience. Read more
Published 14 days ago by L. Hill
4.0 out of 5 stars Neat and almost perfectly formed
Oliver Ryan is a best-selling author of children’s books, affluent and living with his devoted wife, Alice, in comfort in Dublin. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Plucked Highbrow
5.0 out of 5 stars Good thriller type read, not too dark
Interesting read
Published 17 days ago by Nicola Stafford UK
1.0 out of 5 stars I really loved this book
I really loved this book. I thought it would be hard to read given the blurb on it but it was a very interesting insight into what happens when a child is institutionalized or... Read more
Published 20 days ago by Grainne Hyland
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read
very enjoyable read. the simple writing and the way she has captured the essence of each character with her writing is stunning.
Published 21 days ago by Valerie Healy
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Great premise but disappointing execution
Published 23 days ago by Jamel
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Loved this book ...such a great read.
Published 26 days ago by Lorraine Durkan
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