Liz Nugent’s novel of psychological suspense is a complex and elegant study of the making of a sociopath in the tradition of Barbara Vine and Patricia Highsmith. Oliver Ryan is a handsome and charismatic success story. He lives in the leafy suburbs with his wife, Alice, who illustrates his award-winning children’s books and gives him her unstinting devotion. Their life together is one of enviable privilege and ease – enviable until, one evening after supper, Oliver attacks Alice and puts her into a coma. In the aftermath, as everyone tries to make sense of his astonishing act of savagery, Oliver tells his story.