by Liz Nugent
Publication Date : August 22, 2017
**Paperback Edition Releases February 6, 2018**
Pages : 272
Synopsis from Publisher:
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 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.
There are very few times when I am left speechless, however Unraveling Oliver has managed to accomplish this rare feat. After finishing Unraveling Oliver I was disturbed, shocked, and thrilled. Nugent tells the story of a man who has committed a horrific crime and those left behind struggling to make sense of the tragedy.
Oliver Ryan is a celebrated and accomplished writer of children’s books. He has a supportive wife, wealth, and fame. One night he attacks his wife, Alice, and she slips into a coma. Upon hearing about the attack, those who knew him try to make sense of Oliver’s actions by recounting their experiences with him and the affect Oliver had on their lives.
I have never read a book with so many narrators. In other books I have read, the constant shift in perspectives can be distracting and hard to follow. Sometimes I was not able to connect the multiple points of the views with the central mystery. However this was not the case with Unraveling Oliver. Each narrative was relevant and captivating.
The use of multiple narrators gives the reader a full view of Oliver. The different narrators recount Oliver’s life from childhood to adulthood. While his actions were deplorable, one can certainly see how the monster was created. As a child, Oliver experienced rejection. This rejection created a selfish, entitled, and manipulative man.
This story is not a “whodunit” because we already know who committed the crime. In the past when I have come across books which tell you up front who committed the crime, the next question was why. With Unraveling Oliver, why he did it was not the most compelling aspect. Learning about Oliver’s life through him and other people in his life was the most interesting. There were many times during Oliver’s life when he came to a crossroad, a decision between right and wrong. It seems as if he always chose the wrong road. As I read and understood his upbringing I could see the evolution of a disturbed and troubled person. It was almost like putting together a puzzle, each chapter and narrator was a piece of the puzzle.
I truly enjoyed Unraveling Oliver. Although the story is more of a character study, I found it suspenseful and addictive. From the opening line of the story, I found it hard to stop reading. If you are a fan of B.A. Paris you will love Unraveling Oliver.
Murder and Moore Rating:
5 out of 5 Stars