“I have always been fascinated by deeply flawed characters (Shakespeare wrote them best) and what led them to becoming the way they are as adults. But I leave it to the reader to decide whether monsters are born that way or shaped by circumstances”
“I also like to play out the story to see the consequences for my protagonist’s victims and how damage can be inherited from one generation to the next”
In early 2014 Liz’s first novel, Unravelling Oliver, was published. It went straight to the top of the bestsellers list and also won the Crime Novel of the Year at the Irish Book Awards. Television rights for Unravelling Oliver have been optioned by EOne and Appian Way, Leonardo Di Caprio’s production company in Los Angeles.
Her second novel, Lying in Wait, was published in July 2016 and also went straight to number 1. It won the Radio Listener’s Choice prize at the Irish Book Awards and was shortlisted for Crime Novel of the Year.
On its UK release in January 2017, Lying in Wait went straight into the UK bestseller list and was chosen for the hugely popular Richard & Judy Bookclub Spring 2017 list and won the Reader’s Choice award for that season.
In Oct 2017, Liz won the Irish Woman of the Year Award for Literature.
Liz’s third novel, Skin Deep, was published in Ireland in April 2018, hit the number 1 spot and spent five months in the top ten bestsellers list. It won two awards at the Irish Book Awards that year.
Liz’s fourth novel, Our Little Cruelties (released as the pandemic hit in March 2020) went to the top of the bestsellers list in Ireland and remained there for six weeks while most bookshops were closed.
Published as Little Cruelties, by Gallery/Scout Press in the US and by Simon & Schuster in Canada the book was included in the New York Times recommended best books of 2020.
Our Little Cruelties was longlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel 2021.
Liz’s books have been translated into 16 languages.
She has also been in receipt of several bursaries: she was Writer in Residence at the Princess Grace Library in Monaco in 2016, thanks to the Ireland Funds, Liz won the inaugural Jack Harte bursary (2015) in association with the Irish Writer’s Centre and the Tyrone Guthrie Centre. Liz was also awarded a bursary by the Centre Culturel Irlandais and spent a month there in April 2019.
In January Sandycove Penguin Random House acquired Liz’s next two novels.
In November it was announced that Treasure Entertainment and Big Sky actress Katheryn Winnick’s Kat Scratch Inc. have optioned the rights to Liz’s second novel Lying in Wait and will develop the novel into a mini-series. The mini-series will be produced by Treasure. The mini-series will be produced by Treasure Entertainment’s Rebecca O’Flanagan and Robert Walpole, as well as Winnick. Irish writer David Turpin has been hired to develop the project.
Praise for “Our Little Cruelties”
“Brilliantly observed family life and a plot that is part rollercoaster, part maze. Loved it!”
“Dark, beautiful, devastating - pure genius”
“What a terrific storyteller Liz Nugent is! Brilliantly structured, fluently told, rich in unsettling incident and pulsing with dark, tumultuous energy ... her best book yet”
“Creepy, compelling and totally addictive”
“Liz Nugent is a force to be reckoned with”
“Liz Nugent has a gift for filling us with a terrible fascination for truly horrible people”
“Evocative, vivid, brilliant storytelling from a novelist of powerful gifts”
"Smart, artful and totally gripping…LOVED IT”
“Shot through with black humour, toxic truths and pathos”
“Wonderfully tense and gripping….a total page turner.. loved every word of it”
Dame Fiona Kidman
“Stunning… dark in a subtle way and it really got under my skin like no other book”
“A dark jewel of a novel, fire flickering in its depths and light lining its edges. …no other crime novelist of the past decade has rivalled Patricia Highsmith, Ruth Rendell, or Gillian Flynn. [Little Cruelties is] a tragedy of evil power, crisply written and quickly paced; above all, [it”s] a thriller, swift and exciting and built like a carnival house, all false walls and trapdoors.”
A.J. Finn, New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window
“Artfully constructed… the author’s skilful telling of this multigenerational tragedy has the riveting power of an imminent car crash.”
"[A] chilling tale of the sociopathic mind... Readers who love sinister psychological thrillers will tear through these pages."
Library Journal (starred review)
“..The cruelties the three Drumm brothers inflict on one another include lying, bullying, stealing, seducing one another’s girlfriends and, finally, murder…..a fascinating reminder that no story is complete unless you hear it from everyone involved. “Little Cruelties” shows how thoroughly families can mess one another up, and how sometimes the greatest mysteries are found within the psyche
New York Times
“The much-decorated writer again displays a flair for plot and an uncanny ability to get under the skin of characters in the dysfunctional family drama … Nugent builds her narrative skilfully, with the ellipses in each brother’s account gradually filled in by the ensuing tales. All their psychologies are incisively laid out, consistent and layered across all sections … nobody is a mere cliché in Nugent’s clear, propulsive writing, and the author masterfully unveils the damage and hurt behind every motivation, and the petty resentments, delusions and carelessness that lie behind every nick and cut the family members inflict upon one another over the four decades of her tale … Nugent has won four Irish Book Awards for her previous three novels; it would be a cruelty to deny her further honours for her fourth.”
Crimereads.com novels of the month, November 2020
Praise for Skin Deep
"Liz Nugent’s heroine is impossible to like. Delia Russell is selfish, manipulative, self-indulgent, an inveterate liar, uncaring even of her child. Yet somehow Nugent’s absorbing, beautifully written tale turns Delia into an interesting, almost sympathetic character. Her childhood is spent on a tiny Irish island, her father is besotted by her. She realises early that she’s very beautiful. Most of her family die in a fire and there follows, among many other reversals, an unwanted pregnancy, loss of money and drug addiction. She ends up living a pretend life in Nice. There’s a death. Nugent has won several awards in her native Ireland. Skin Deep deserves to be her breakthrough in Britain”
The Times UK
“Liz Nugent’s Skin Deep (Penguin) is the perfect holiday read for those who like their escapism on the darker side. If Patricia Highsmith were Irish she might well have come up with this tale of a scarred woman who taints all she touches while remaining as charismatic as she is enigmatic.”
“Just finished SKIN DEEP by @lizzienugent. Superb thriller. Chilling, beautifully-written, shocking, twisty, intelligent, GRIPPING. Hints of Muriel Spark, Gillian Flynn, Patricia Highsmith. Absolutely LOVED IT.”
“Skin Deep is utterly compelling...Nugent displays to the full her storytelling gifts”
“Skin Deep is a guilty rush of a novel…it’s a blast. The author of Unravelling Oliver and Lying in Wait has done it again. Priority reading.”
Nadine O’Regan, Sunday Business Post
“Liz Nugent’s extraordinary, incendiary new novel….What a magnificent dark monster of a book Skin Deep is.”
“Monumentally good. Liz Nugent is a beautiful writer and among the very best storytellers in the world.”
“I loved, loved, loved Skin Deep - the compassion of it, the beauty of the language, how glamour and horror intersect, how the tension twists tighter and tighter and is brilliantly done”
“The finest psychological thriller writer currently at work - no one gets under the skin of monstrous characters like she does”
“A triumph, from first page to last!”
“Dazzling…chilling, mesmerising and, ultimately, devastating. Pure storytelling genius.”
“Wow! I am lost in admiration - Liz Nugent’s storytelling is a wonderful feat of imagination, totally gripping, with a fascinating character at its heart”
“Her darkest book yet - a compelling one-sitting read”
“Dark, brutal and brilliant”
“Utterly gripping, fast paced, and featuring my favourite sociopathic female character since Lady Macbeth
Praise for Lying In Wait
"An extraordinary novel. Lying in Wait crackles and snaps like a bonfire on a winter’s night; you shudder even as you draw closer to it. Spellbinding.”
A.J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window
“This is a whydunit, not a whodunit, and the real meat lies in Nugent’s exploration of motherhood, mental illness, and what could drive a person to murder… A page-turner chock full of lies and betrayals and a very creepy mother-son relationship.”
"It spoils nothing to tell you now that Lydia and Andrew Fitzsimons have murdered a young prostitute. Read this dark, captivating psychological thriller to find out why."
"Nugent tells a brilliant tale—taut, horrifying, chilling. Characters are vividly drawn... complex and fascinating. It is a dark tale, but there is enough dark humor to keep the reader from sinking in too deeply. The difficult part is tearing yourself away from it. If you like psychological thrillers, “Lying in Wait” is perfect."
Fredericksburg Free Lance Star
“A devastating psychological thriller... Lydia is the most intriguing puzzle; equal parts victim and villain, she simultaneously inspires pity, outrage, and horror. The result is an exquisitely uncomfortable, utterly captivating reading experience."
Starred Review Publishers Weekly
"I absolutely loved this astute, psychologically complex crime novel."
Crime By The Book
"Though we know Lydia and Andrew Fitzsimmons” big secret by the end of the first sentence of Nugent’s book, it’s why they did it that initially remains a mystery. The secret may be out, but the intrigue remains."
Brit + Co
“Nugent’s chilling tale of the sociopathic mind… Readers who love sinister psychological thrillers will tear through these pages to discover how far Lydia will go to keep her son at home, and what accidents will befall those who cross her.”
Starred Review Library Journal
“Taut, crisp, clear, a storm-warning of a book. It has the eeriness of The Turn of the Screw; but as these screws turn, a mighty tension takes hold. Masterly.”
Sebastian Barry, Laureate of Irish Fiction.
“Gone Girl fans will love Liz Nugent’s Lying in Wait ... it twists, it turns, its characters are utterly despicable and it is a compulsive triumph”
“A stunningly talented writer”
“The intricate plotting and jolting suspense hold you in a vice till the last page”
“Clear your diary if you pick up this seductively sinister story. The twists come together in a superbly scary denouncement which delivers a final sting in the tail. Brilliantly macabre”
“Brilliant plotting ratchets up the tension in this chilling tale of obsessive love, madness and motherhood”
Woman & Home
“The wit is sharp and the plot full of punishing twists”
The Times Crime Club
“An unputdownable psychological thriller with an ending that lingers long after turning the final page”
“An excellent example of "Domestic Noir" ... excitement and curiosity mount until you realise you can’t put the book down. Highly recommended.”
“A tense, taut, almost gothic thriller where the tension tightens to near unbearable proportions ... impossible to stop reading. A brilliantly written, stand-out novel”
“Deliciously twisted, shot through with dark and acid humour and the denouement is truly chilling”
“Liz Nugent’s characters are as unforgettably monstrous as they are believable. A superbly crafted novel and an absorbing portrait of the purest kind of evil”
“I thought it impossible to match the brilliant Unravelling Oliver, but this Liz has done. Not only is her style beautiful, but she keeps the reader on the edge of their seat from page one until the completely unexpected ending. I read Lying in Wait in one sitting. I just couldn’t bear the suspense. I absolutely loved it.”
“She writes compellingly, creates posh sociopaths like no-one else and doesn’t flinch when the end demands what it demands. Lying In Wait is a story you genuinely should not miss”
Rick O’Shea, RTÉ
“The characters are complex, the writing is dark and disturbing, and the story is just flat out creepy. This is the first novel I have read by Liz Nugent, but she is a mystery/thriller author that should be added to everyone’s shelves."
Dwell In Possibility
“Lying In Wait is one of those novels that keeps readers in a permanent state of imbalance. Just when you think you have things figured out, Nugent throws everything off-kilter again. Readers who first encountered Nugent’s work only recently will be thrilled with this new-to-us thriller --- and will be thronging for even more of her excellent work to make its way across the pond"
Praise for Unravelling Oliver
“A page-turning, one-sitting read from a brand new master of psychological suspense”
“Compelling, clever and dark ... you’ll gobble it up”
“I stayed awake until 3am to finish it”
“A superbly paced and shocking story"
“The compulsion to continue reading never wanes ... a persistently satisfying read”
“Truly excellent, beautifully written ... strongly recommended”
“A page-turning, one-sitting read from a brand new master of psychological suspense”
“Searing, searching, finally scorching. Think Making a Murderer via Patricia Highsmith: an elegant kaleidoscope novel that refines and combines multiple perspectives until its subject is brought into indelible, tragic focus”
A. J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window
“Pitch-black and superbly written”
Ruth Ware, New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in Cabin 10
“Top-notch grip lit…incredibly brilliant”
Marian Keyes, New York Times bestselling author
Unravelling Oliver: Penguin Ireland (UK Ireland, Commonwealth), Simon & Schuster (US),Simon & Schuster (Canada), Uab Baltu Lanku (China), Dobrovsky S.R. (Czech Republic), Rahva Raamat Ltd (Estonia),Editions Denoel (France), Bastei Lubbe, Gmbh & Co Kg (Germany), Psichogios Publication (Greece), Lettero Kiado (Hungary), Portfolio Publishing(Iceland), Neri Pozza(Italy), Eunhaengnamu Publishing Co(Korea),Uab Baltu Lanku (Lithuania), Storyside Ab, (Sweden) (Poland -Audio), Wielka Litera Sp. Z O.O. (Poland -Print), Marcador Editora (Portugal),Suma International (Spain)
Lying In Wait: Penguin Ireland (UK Ireland, Commonwealth), Simon & Schuster (US),Simon & Schuster (Canada), Ednorog Publishing (Bulgaria),Dobrovsky S.R.(Czech Republic),Editions Denoel(France),Steidl Gmbh & Co. Ohg (Germany),Lettero Kiado (Hungary),Storyside Ab, (Sweden)(Poland -Audio),Wielka Litera Sp. Z O.O. (Poland -Print),Modernista Group Ab (Sweden)
Skin Deep: Penguin Ireland (UK Ireland, Commonwealth), Steidl Gmbh & Co. Ohg (Germany), Storyside Ab, (Sweden) (Poland -Audio), Wielka Litera Sp. Z O.O., (Poland -Print), Modernista Group Ab (Sweden)
Our Little Cruelties: Penguin Ireland (UK Ireland, Commonwealth), Simon & Schuster (US), Ednorog Publishing (Bulgaria),Simon & Schuster (Canada), Steidl Gmbh & Co. Ohg (Germany)