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Unraveling Oliver

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  18,280 ratings  ·  2,410 reviews
I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her.

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 u
Hardcover, 260 pages
Published August 22nd 2017 by Scout Press (first published March 6th 2014)
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Average rating 3.81  · 
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 ·  18,280 ratings  ·  2,410 reviews

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Gripping psychological thriller this is not.
A character study of sorts—one that offers very few surprises—is more like it.

The downfall of this novel, in my opinion, is the shocking opening line that’s not only used as bait in the synopsis to grab the reader’s attention, but somehow remains the most interesting part of Unraveling Oliver. Meaning, the story is on a downhill trajectory from line one-

“I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her.”

The author puts forth a valiant effort
5 bright stars⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

When a book lingers with you, like a delicious dessert, even hours after you’ve finished. When you continually re-play each and every chapter in your mind, long after you’ve turned the final page. That’s what makes a memorable five-star read.

A beautifully written debut novel that drew me in from the start and wouldn’t let go until the final sentence!
I’m left with the feeling that I’ve been on a wild journey, transported deep into the mind of a tragically damaged soul.

Elyse  Walters
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like peeling of an onion....Oliver Ryan gets unraveled. I was intrigued from start to finish.
There’s an atmosphere around the entire mystery- itself - that is mysterious.

The craftsmanship is superb. I was curious- engaged - judging & evaluating - and turning those pages - not wanting to miss anything. I wanted to hear what every person had to say - I was genuinely interested.

Overall ... I feel this is a very sad story....( minus a few happy highlights for a few characters - for which I’m glad
Aug 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
everything you need to know about this book is in the title and the synopsis.

the story begins with oliver beating his wife into a coma. the remaining chapters are POVs of people who know oliver, little threads from his past, who provide insight and unravel his tangled history, until the reader is able to isolate the one thread that finally caused oliver to snap.

this is not a thriller - its a psychological character study, one that is mysteriously woven and chaotically unravelled through years
Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
4.5 stars! Clever! Gripping! Addictive! Wow – this was really good!

The very first sentence in this novel jaw-droppingly sucked me right into this story. I couldn’t put this book down!

The story revolves around Oliver Ryan – a highly successful children’s author who is married to Alice, the illustrator of his famous children’s series. Told from multiple characters perspectives, this novel unfolds brilliantly. Each character added a new dimension of intrigue and suspense, each revealing clues alo
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
"I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her."

Oliver Ryan is a handsome successful Author of children's books. His wife, Alice illustrated his books for him. Oliver and Alice have been married a long time and appear to be happy, so what made him snap and hit her. What caused this man, after having a wonderful dinner, to beat his wife into a coma?

What indeed!

This book is told through various character's POV as they try to come to terms with what Oliver has done. All look back upon thei
Susanne  Strong
Dec 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.25 Stars!

Holy Mackerel! I had heard that this was sick and twisted .. but THIS, is SERIOUSLY SICK and TWISTED BATMAN!

What else can I say?: Oliver is whack! And not in a good way (obv.). Let’s hope I don’t meet his equal anytime soon! Poor, poor Alice!

My parting thoughts:

“Sign, sign, everywhere a sign…Do this.. don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?” - Five Man Electrical Band

Thanks to my local library for the audiobook. The narration was stellar!

Published on Goodreads on 12.16.19.
Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
Sociopaths and psychopaths fascinate me and I love a great story that delves deep into the mind or actions of both.  After reading Lying in Wait I really became fascinated with what makes a sociopath. Well, Liz Nugent answers that question here for me with our sociopath Oliver.

Unraveling Oliver is a chilling, unique, intelligent and very fascinating look into what makes a sociopath.  The story starts off with a bang with that chilling and intriguing first line that had me hooked and I flew throu
j e w e l s
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Dark, sobering, sad and thought provoking. Absolutely loved it.
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
I saw the advertised opening line of this book.
I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her.
I'm a total weirdo and immediately wanted it.

Oliver is a bit of a nutter, he is a very successful children's author who likes things just so in his life. He gives no thoughts to whether his wife or anyone around him have feelings. He just doesn't have time for that.
So when he finally snaps off his rocker and beats his wife into a coma (not a spoiler) we have to take a look back at his life.
UNRAVELLING OLIVER......Perfect Title!

The story begins with a horrific crime, and it takes the entire (short) novel to unwind the whole truth about why the oh. so. handsome. Oliver beat his wife into a coma. (no spoiler here)......Not that I'm complaining, mind you. I was totally engaged by the way Liz Nugent set the stage and lay out her facts describing how Oliver turned out to be a monster.

As we meet all the players in his life, we find Oliver did endure some tough times as a youngster, and d

Diane S ☔
May 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 Finished this yesterday and have thought about it on and off since then. The opening is such a grabber, an act of violence seemingly out of the blue, but in intimate situations things seldom work that way. So what caused this, what led up to this? We hear from the many people influenced by the life of Oliver, the people closest to him, the people who knew him in various stages of his life. What makes a man who could act so violently.

Makes one think. I felt different ways about Oliver, in dif
Katie B
I'm kinda blown away with how the author managed to take a fairly simple idea for a story and end up with a book that had me hooked from start to finish. You basically know how the story ends from the beginning, but yet you still have this compelling urge to read and find out everything that led up to it. You definitely have some writing chops if you can successfully pull that off and given this is the second book I have read written by the author and loved, I think she is quite talented.

Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, i-said
I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her. She just lay on the floor, holding her jaw. Staring at me. Silent. She didn’t even seem to be surprised.

Meet Oliver Ryan, handsome, successful, married. His story starts out hard, fast and provocative.

But to better understand him and what brought him to this point we need to go back and learn something of who he is. In the process we will meet “family”, “friends” and acquaintances.

Perhaps it says more about me than it does the story when
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-borrowed
3. 83 unnerving stars

Yesterday at work, my co-worker placed this into my hands and told me during our ice storm day that she had read this book in one sitting. Last night, so did I. Reading the first line, I knew that I was hooked.

I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her. She just lay on the floor, holding her jaw. Staring at me. Silent. She didn't even seem to be surprised.

Each chapter alternates between several characters all wanting to fill us in on the subject of the book, O
Apr 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dem by: Book club Read
4.5 Stars for this highly entertaining and original debut novel by Liz Nugent.

" Oliver Ryan is a handsome and charismatic success story. He lives a life of enviable privilege and ease with his wife. Alice. Enviable until one evening after dinner, Oliver attacks Alice so viciously that he beats her into a coma"

After reading the blurb of this novel I wasn't sure I wanted to read this book and the first sentence of the book left me a little shell shocked.

I expected more of a reaction the firs
The first sentence knocks you off your feet and has you latch on until the end. Oliver Ryan has just slugged his wife Alice and surprises himself but not in ways you may think. The rest of the story is a journey back in time to learn more about how Oliver and Alice arrived at this point.

It’s not always a traditionally linear look back but it’s never, ever confusing. Sort of like how someone would tell a story and take detours that matter and make the telling more engaging. There are quite a few
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Oliver and Alice, seem like a normal couple, until one evening when Oliver physically assaults Alice to the point where he puts her into a coma. Unraveling Oliver begins with a forceful and intriguing line which was enough to make me read the book, "I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her."

The book is narrated from the perspective of multiple characters that solves the puzzle of the mysterious Oliver. As we go through the chapters, we find out the reasons as to why he is a narciss
Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Wow! Where to begin?! I loved this book! Holy flipping crap! ALL the stars for Oliver! I went into this thinking of course I would like it, since it is Liz Nugent and she did blow me away with Lying in Wait. Dare I say I liked Unraveling Oliver even better than Lying in Wait?! I did!! I read this with a group of Traveling Sisters/Traveling Friends. So far everyone loved it. I mean, what is not to love?! I am so glad we read this together because I literally had to "freak out" a couple of times.

Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
"They would capture the sunlight in their cloaks and smuggle it back to their kingdom and share it with their people."

And yet there was no warmth of that sun falling upon Oliver even from an early age. You might even say that Oliver, himself, blocked the sun from shining on those in his circle. No life.

Liz Nugent presents the arc of the wheel turning in a completely different direction than most novels dealing with sociopathic behavior. Instead of a straight-on story concentrating so
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars. I was pleasantly surprised by this book. The story was very good, I wanted to slap the sh*t out of Oliver a time or two. I wanted Alice’s POV.

This book has been at my side since last night until I finished it this afternoon sat in the car outside of the Supermarket!
Talk about addicted.

Unravelling Oliver.

I wondered about the title. But I have discovered its very apt for the story. Really good, Oliver is like and onion, several layers of him, and the more you take one off, the more there is beneath. Never ends. Getting to the core takes time.
I think that is where the word " protagonist" comes into play.

The dramatic start to this book
Y'all can't imagine just how addicting this book was! I'm kind of regretting reading it in one sitting, it was just too good.
Also, the cover is so cool.
May 05, 2018 rated it liked it
3 Stars

In this story we read about Oliver’s life from his friends, Oliver himself and his family’s POV, so it’s journal-like. I’m not a fan of this writing-style but still, I read it till the end. But it wasn’t my main issue! This story didn’t thrill me! It wasn’t exciting! And at some point, it was a bit repetitive! Told in multiple POV, 1st person. It’s a standalone novel. It was an okay read, nothing really special to me, hope you enjoy it!
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
Astonishingly good! What a very well written novel this is. I was so glad I won it via Goodreads First Reads, very happy to be able to read and review it.

It's not easy to pull off a novel that has individual chapters covering the perspective of numerous characters and still maintains fluidity. This one does, it does it really well.

Oliver, we meet at the start of the book, he's just put his wife Alice in hospital through a violent beating. We go from there on a journey into what MADE Oliver the
Sep 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating and unusual book in that the crime is made clear in the very first chapter. The rest of it is comprised of stories from the past and other people's impressions of what occurred to make Oliver who he was.

It was all beautifully constructed and very well written. There were a lot of different characters and all of them were well rounded and contributed vital information. Everything tied up brilliantly. A few moments stood out such as the issue with Laura's baby. (view spoiler)
Feb 19, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: public-library
The opening line grabbed me right by the ying-yang and we were off to the races.  For about a minute.

Oliver Ryan is a good looking, well-to-do author of children's books.  We know something is "off" about him, though.  He doesn't seem to have any friends and his dislike for old people is intense.  Oh, and he has just hit his wife.  On the inside, Oliver is a twisted snarl of ugliness.  Invisible wounds, a soul sullied by secrets.  We find out about him, unraveling the nasty tangles one by one. 
Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)
3 high on the creep factor stars

Oliver Ryan had a sad life, a father who shunned him, a mother he never knew, and his life was a tragedy in the making. As Oliver relates his story, the details come flowing out in chapters voicing his character. His story begins with his vicious attack on his wife, Alice. Then is subsequent chapters told in the first person, we hear of Oliver's former friends, his connection to a family, his lovers, and the apparent why of his actions. Oliver seems clueless as if
Mar 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-book
I love these dark and juicy, chilling and creepy psychological thrillers. They are wonderful palate cleansing experiences!
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her."

What is it with Liz Nugent and her opening lines? She knows exactly how to immediately hook you and keep you reeling until the final word.

This book is a master class in character development. Told through the eyes of Oliver as well as several people from his past providing an in depth introduction to this man spanning six plus decades. This is a slow paced story building a picture of Oliver piece by psychopathic piece. It's not a thriller
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Liz Nugent worked as a stage manager in theatres in Ireland and toured internationally before writing extensively for radio and television drama.

Unravelling Oliver was published in 2014, hit the number 1 spot for several weeks and won Crime Novel of the Year at the Irish Book Awards.

Lying in Wait, published in 2016, went straight to number 1 and was chosen for the Richard & Judy Book Club. It wo

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