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Cover for Unraveling Oliver

Unraveling Oliver

A Novel

Liz Nugent


List Price: 26.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (8/21/2017)
Paperback (2/6/2018)
Library Binding, Large Print (11/15/2017)

September 2017 Indie Next List

“Oliver, the titular center of Liz Nugent's chilling debut thriller, will attract and repel the reader as his deep wounds and legacy of destruction are revealed by his own confessions and by the recollections of those whose lives intersect with his. The novel opens with Oliver, a successful writer living in apparent domestic contentment, beating his wife into a coma. Why? As Oliver's crimes come into focus, Nugent's brilliance is in balancing the evil he does with the evil that is done to him. Is he to be reviled or pitied? Or both?”
— Anmiryam Budner, Main Point Books, Bryn Mawr, PA
View the List


“Searing, searching, finally scorching. Think Making a Murderer via Patricia Highsmith: an elegant kaleidoscope novel that refines and combines multiple perspectives until its subject is brought into indelible, tragic focus.” —A. J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window

“Pitch-black and superbly written.” —Ruth Ware, New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in Cabin 10

“Top-notch grip lit…incredibly brilliant.” —Marian Keyes, New York Times bestselling author

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?

The people who know Oliver can only speculate about the reasons behind his brutal act: 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; 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.

The revelations that come to light as the layers of Oliver’s past are peeled away are as brutal as his singular act of violence. His decades of careful deception have masked a life irrevocably marked by abandonment, envy, and shame—and as the details of that life are laid bare, Oliver discovers that outrunning his demons is harder than it looks.

With its insight into the mind of a psychopath emerging from the wreckage of his own misbegotten past, Unraveling Oliver is a chilling page-turner, brilliantly crafted and unexpectedly moving, by a stunning new voice in fiction. Liz Nugent "presents a fresh look at a man hiding his violent personality in this intense character study" (Publishers Weekly, starred review). As powerful as Patricia Highsmith’s unforgettable noir classic, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Unraveling Oliver will enthrall you from its mesmerizing opening line to its equally shocking last page.

Praise For Unraveling Oliver: A Novel

“Outstanding… The tension subtly rises as Oliver’s past unravels, revealing a loveless childhood rooted in religious hypocrisy. Nugent presents a fresh look at a man hiding his violent personality in this intense character study.”
— -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A clammy and compelling psychological thriller… The eerily detached Ryan is a spectacularly unreliable narrator.”
— Seattle Times

"Truly excellent, beautifully written ... strongly recommended."
— Sophie Hannah, New York Times bestselling author

“Already an award-winning debut in the author’s native Ireland, this will attract fans of domestic suspense… readers will eagerly turn the pages all the way to the shocking conclusion.” 
— Library Journal

“Pitch-black and superbly written.” 
— Ruth Ware, New York Times bestselling author of IN A DARK, DARK WOOD

“Searing, searching, finally scorching. Think Making a Murderer via Patricia Highsmith: an elegant kaleidoscope novel that refines and combines multiple perspectives until its subject is brought into indelible, tragic focus.”
— A. J. Finn, author of The Woman in the Window

“'I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her.’ From that searing opening line, the 'who' and the 'what' of this unnerving psychological thriller are never in doubt.. it’s the 'why' that fascinates as Nugent expertly peels back the layers to reveal the truth.”

"A dark secret life is at the center of Nugent's debut novel... Nugent may be used to spending her life behind the scenes. But she'll be in the foreground for the foreseeable future."
— Publishers Weekly

"A gripping and powerful read."
— Literary Hub (

"Each year, a small handful of books are selected as “Buzz Books” at the BookExpo of America conference — a sign that a book.. has the makings of a hit. This year, Liz Nugent’s Unraveling Oliver is one of those books."
— Entertainment Weekly

"Top-notch 'grip lit."
— Marian Keyes, New York Times bestselling author

"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

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

"A pyschopath's true face is reflected in a vast hall of mirrors--friends, family, and lovers--in this gripping, original tale."
— Erica Ferencik, author of The River at Night

"A great psychological suspense masterpiece that shows a criminal sociopath behind an innocent face... This novel of psychological suspense will enchant and haunt."
— Washington Book Review

A "highly entertaining and aesthetically satisfying novel — a book that stretches the limits of crime fiction... Nugent’s other exceptional asset is her skill as a plotter. She assembles the pieces of Oliver’s past to form a rich and coherent design."
— The Washington Post

Gallery/Scout Press, 9781501167751, 272pp.

Publication Date: August 22, 2017

About the Author

Liz Nugent has worked in Irish film, theater, and television for most of her adult life. She is an award-winning writer of radio and television drama and has written critically acclaimed short stories both for children and adults, as well as the bestselling novels Unraveling Oliver and Lying in Wait. She lives in Dublin. Visit her at or follow her on Twitter at @Lizzienugent.