Olivay | book review


Title: Olivay
Author:Deborah Reed
Series: n/a
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: July 2015
Genre(s): Fiction, Thriller, Mystery

Opening Line:

Those who saw what happened that morning never said a word about Will’s long stride when he walked down the sidewalk, or the way his legs bowed slightly with every step.

The Synopsis

Olivay’s entire life changed in a single moment. After a tragic accident that left her widowed, Olivay plunges into a dark depression. She confines herself to solitude and slowly tries to heal the gaping hole left after her husband Will’s death. A little over a year after the accident, she finds herself in the presence of Henry at a local coffee shop. Henry is perfect – charming, beautiful, smart, funny. Best of all, he seems to help her forget about Will. The morning after what was supposed to be a one night stand, Olivay finds herself trapped with Henry in her home following a brutal terrorist attack right outside her front door. With the city in pandemonium, Olivay begins to wonder just who is this man that she’s stranded with, and why is he acting so skittish and mysterious? As Olivay begins to unravel the mystery of Henry, she realizes her life is about to once again change in an instant.

The Plot

If I’m in a store that sells books, I will find the books and I will buy one. This even happens at Walmart, the location where I purchased Olivay. The cover instantly caught my attention – it’s gorgeous and edgy and I love it. The synopsis on the back sealed the deal, and I bought the book. I have a love-hate relationship with thrillers. On one hand, I love them because they’re exciting, they keep me guessing, and they captivate me until I figure out what the hell is going on. On the other hand, I can pretty much only read them once or twice and then I never want to reread them again, and also there are some really bad thrillers that I still end up reading until the end because I don’t like unsolved mysteries but god some books should never be published. Olivay wasn’t necessarily the best thriller I’ve read, but it’s certainly closer to “love” than “hate” on the love-hate scale. The premise was really interesting and hooked me right away. I got this feeling while reading it, though, that I sometimes get during books and it’s really hard for me to explain, but basically I felt like nothing really happened throughout the entire novel. Obviously things happened, but I felt like a lot of the novel was inner turmoil, flashbacks, and thoughts. Not that that’s a bad thing, but it just felt like there was a lack of events occurring. Yet at the same time, I blew through the novel hoping to solve the mystery. The mystery of Will’s murder was very lackluster for me. The mystery of Genevieve was a lot more interesting. Both mysteries, however, were incredibly gruesome and sad, and it kind of made me sick to read about them. I have to say, this book definitely tugged on my heartstrings with these incidents. The mystery about the attacks were also a little lackluster and a little under-explained for my taste, but I thought it was creative. Oh, and the ending was pretty cool. I liked that the chapters kept getting shorter and shorter. It really helped keep me on the edge of my seat. And the ambiguity of the ending was a nice touch, although part of me really wanted to know what happened next. I can assume, though, nothing good.

The Characters

Olivay was an interesting character. The novel is told in third-person omniscient, so even though Olivay is not the narrator, we’re still getting her thoughts and feelings. I would have to say she’s a very unreliable character. First she’s in love with Henry, then she’s suspicious of him, then she’s really suspicious of him, then she’s in love with him, etc, etc, etc. The story is pretty much seen through her eyes until Part Two, where we get chapters (still in third-person) from Henry’s perspective. It’s interesting how my perception of Henry changed once I got to read about his life, thoughts, and feelings. I think Part Two completely changes how you feel about both Olivay and Henry. As the novel continued, I liked Olivay less and Henry more. But that’s all personal preference, I suppose. Really these two characters are the main characters and pretty much who the story revolves around.

The Writing

I’ve never read anything from Deborah Reed, but it looks like (from her “About the Author” in the back of the book) she’s written a few other novels that have gained her some success, and she’s even written under the pen name Audrey Braun. Olivay was a pretty good book. I liked the writing style, and even though I didn’t love it, I would still say Reed is pretty good at writing thrillers. I can honestly say I was eager to get home from work last night to finish the last portion of the novel.

My Rating

4 star

Favorite Quote(s): “It was impossible to fully know another human being.”

“I was aware of the feeling while I was feeling it, and ended up deciding it was a kind of nostalgia … but I understood even then that is also applied to things that weren’t yet lost. … I remember feeling that way at random moments, like holding a book in my hands, imagining it already read and gone…”

“Existence is a finer line than anyone cares to consider.”

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