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By Liz Nugent
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Liz Nugent had my full attention right from the first chilling sentence. Unraveling Oliver is a fast-paced novel that kept me eagerly flipping the pages in order to uncover all that I could about Oliver Ryan. This is one of those compulsive books that grabs a reader and makes it impossible to put down until you’ve devoured every word.
The story is told in alternating chapters from the perspectives of different characters who knew Oliver, as well as from Oliver himself. This just made the story that much more appealing and addictive. With each passing chapter, I was pulled deeper into Oliver’s story through the words and memories of his friends, acquaintances, and neighbors. As soon as one chapter would end, I was compelled to read another, and another.
I am always drawn to books that deal with human nature and the human psyche. Oliver seemed to have it all. He was an established and successful author who had been married to his wife for over twenty years. To the outside world, Oliver Ryan’s life would appear to be normal, comfortable, and fruitful. What would provoke a seemingly normal man to act out so violently towards his wife? Did he just snap? Was this violent outburst truly out of character for him, or were his true colors finally showing themselves? I had to find out.
With glimpses into Oliver’s past, the author allows the reader to witness Oliver in various stages of his life. We get to see him as a child, a young adult, and as a man trying to make his way in the world. Through his memories and those of the other characters, we get a better understanding of Oliver’s life and what made him tick. Liz Nugent did a fabulous job of creating Oliver and writing his story. There were even times when I actually felt sorry for Oliver. These times didn’t last long, and I certainly couldn’t justify his heinous actions, but I wondered if things could have been different for him.
Unraveling Oliver is a fascinating, impeccably written story that is the true definition of a page-turner. Liz Nugent is an author who is definitely on my radar. I am looking forward to reading more by her in the near future.