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Unraveling Oliver Bets On...

Unraveling Oliver

September 2017

About six months ago, I read an advance copy of Liz Nugent’s UNRAVELING OLIVER in a few hours while my husband was watching a golf match in the other room. I was so excited about it that it’s been hard to not have it in stores to share with our readers until a couple of weeks ago. What kept me plastered to that couch? Liz’s plotting chops as they produced one reveal after the next. One really does unravel Oliver Ryan from page one. Ahhhh Oliver!

The opening line sets the story up and really grabs the reader: “I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her.” Oliver has fired a blow that has rendered his wife, Alice, unconscious. In the days that follow, people try to understand what drove Oliver to do this. As each person --- family, friends and acquaintances --- tells his or her story about Oliver in alternating first-person chapters to lend a perspective, readers get to know this multidimensional guy. And truly they do unravel him as Liz layers her story brilliantly.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Liz at BookExpo; she was in town from Ireland. She noted that it was easy for her to write a male protagonist as they typically are more straightforward; women she finds will not be that way --- there’s more guessing going on. I also asked her about the seductive nature of Oliver, who is like a Hannibal Lecter or Ted Bundy where charm and personality seem to mask his evil. She was influenced by THE BOOK OF EVIDENCE by John Banville, which won the Booker Prize in 1991, as well as real-life killer Malcolm MacArthur. She also used to write soap operas for television, thus she mastered the art of the cliffhanger to get you to tune in again next week. Here that clearly happens chapter after chapter, and you can see why it was named “Crime Novel of the Year” by the Irish Book Awards. She nails this from the opening line!

I already am ready for her next book. You will be too!

Unraveling Oliver
by Liz Nugent