"I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her."
Oliver Ryan is very much the successful author. His beautiful wife, Alice illustrates his children’s stories with sensitivity and charm, until Oliver, in a moment of extreme violence, alters the course of their lives forever. The unravelling of Oliver is told in a series of perceptive vignettes and whilst these diverse viewpoints admirably flesh out the whys and wherefores of Oliver’s character, it is Oliver’s own narrative which becomes compellingly addictive. There is so much to take in, not just Oliver’s manipulation of events and as an unstable narrator he is wonderfully plausible, but also about the lives of those who are subjected to Oliver’s own peculiar brand of bonhomie.
Beautifully written, this debut novel is a real pager turner. I read it almost in one sitting, simply because the quality of the narrative lends itself to continuous reflection. It’s not a forceful thriller, so there are no spills and thrills but what is evident is the slow manipulation of a very cleverly put together story. There are no gaps, no glaring oversights, no unnecessary dialogue. It is just a really good story and a commendable debut novel.
My thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Books UK for my e-copy of this book