Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent

Title: Unraveling Oliver
Author: Liz Nugent
Date Added: August 26, 2017
Date Started: January 21, 2021
Date Finished: February 26, 2021
Reading Duration: 16 days
Genre: Fiction, Adult Contemporary, Drama, Mystery, Psychological Thriller

Cover of Unraveling Oliver by Liz NugentPages: 260
Publication Date: March 6, 2014
Publisher: Scout Press
Media: Hardback (Library)


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, neighbours, 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.


A child that is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth.

-African Proverb

If ever there was a story that exemplified the false dichotomy of “martyrs and monsters,” it would be Liz Nugent’s Unraveling Oliver.  Though I find it far easier to slide Oliver to the “monster” end of the spectrum, I would be disingenuous to deny him the same courtesy I so readily extend to (arguably) more malevolent actors, because another false dichotomy of “nature vs. nurture” still tells us monsters are not really born; they are made.

Continue reading

Peddling Doomsday by Petra Jacob

Title: Peddling Doomsday
Author: Petra Jacob
Date Added: June 6, 2018
Date Started: June 18, 2018
Date Finished: July 3, 2018
Reading Duration: 32 Days
Genre: Fiction, Drama, Psychological Thriller

Peddling DoomsdayPages: 345
Publisher: Self
Publication Date: May 31, 2018
Media: eBook/Kindle


No matter where she is, Deirdre feels out of place. So when a cult known as the Center contacts her, wanting her join up, she’s intrigued. They say a terrible war is coming, humanity is in danger and without explaining why, say she’s needed for the fight. Suddenly the chance to be spectacular is within her grasp. With the charismatic Myra as the cult leader, and talk of prophecies and psychic abilities, Deirdre is soon seduced and ditches her humdrum life to join up. 

Once inside, her understanding of the world shifts. She learns the truth about the elite, a secret organisation that has meddled with humanity since the beginning of time. The elite use entertainment and the media as a constant distraction to stop people from reaching their true potential. To free themselves of this conditioning, the followers must give up ‘excessive’ food and sleep. They also carry out increasingly bizarre rituals under the critical eye of the Captain, a minor leader of the new followers. He seems to take pleasure from turning them against one another. 

Tensions increase. The followers gain odd new abilities, but bullying and hysteria also grow. Meanwhile Myra’s prophecies become increasingly extreme. As paranoia intensifies, Deirdre questions where the belief ends, and delusion begins.


‘I suppose life is just whatever stories we choose to tell ourselves at the time,’

If you ever want to dive into the machinations of how a cult can draw in and take over “normal” people, this second book from one of my favorite indie authors is the one you want to read.  From the outside, it’s painfully obvious what’s going on, but if you really want to be believe something or believe in something because you have nothing else to cling to, you will.  That’s how cults and certain religious sects prey on the most vulnerable.

Continue reading

Silent Child by Sarah A. Denzil

Warning: Discussions of imprisonment and sexual assault on a child as pertains to the story.

Title: Silent Child
Author: Sarah A. Denzil
Date Added: March 13, 2017
Date Started: May 26, 2017
Date Finished: June 9, 2017
Reading Duration: 14 days
Genre: Mystery, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Crime Drama

Pages: 416
Publication Date: January 22, 2017
Publisher: Self
Media: eBook/Kindle

In the summer of 2006, Emma Price watched helplessly as her six-year-old son’s red coat was fished out of the River Ouse. It was the tragic story of the year – a little boy, Aiden, wandered away from school during a terrible flood, fell into the river, and drowned.

His body was never recovered. 

Ten years later, Emma has finally rediscovered the joy in life. She’s married, pregnant, and in control again…… until Aiden returns. 

Too traumatized to speak, he raises endless questions and answers none. Only his body tells the story of his decade-long disappearance. The historic broken bones and injuries cast a mere glimpse into the horrors Aiden has experienced. Aiden never drowned. Aiden was taken. 

As Emma attempts to reconnect with her now teenage son, she must unmask the monster who took him away from her. But who, in their tiny village, could be capable of such a crime?It’s Aiden who has the answers, but he cannot tell the unspeakable.

This dark and disturbing psychological novel will appeal to fans of The Widow and The Butterfly Garden.


Silent Child tells the story of a parent’s more fervent prayer answered after their worst nightmare, but with complications.  While Emma Price’s son Aiden is returned to her after ten years, he is far different from the energetic, little boy whose red jacket was fished out of the flood swollen river.  Stricken with psychological mutism, his body tells the tale of imprisonment and sexual assault that he can’t bear to utter.

Continue reading