Cover Image: A Flaw in the Design

A Flaw in the Design

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Member Reviews

Thank you NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Random House for the copy of A Flaw In The Design. After the untimely death of his parents. Matthew moves in with his uncle Gil’s family even though they are worried because Matthew was involved years before in a life threatening situation involving their daughter. What follows is a tense nailbiter of a story. Is Matthew a brilliant, charming sociopath or just a misunderstood teen? Matthew is a really well-developed character and I wish Molly and Gil had been fleshed out more. Gil was not a sympathetic character at all so it was hard to be on his side because he handled his suspicions so poorly and he seemed to always make himself look bad. Molly was stereotypically clueless. The story dragged when Matthew’s transgressions kept piling up and again when Gil and Matthew had their final confrontation. While the writing was great at creating a foreboding feeling, I think some of it could have been streamlined and had the same effect. This book was a good read and I couldn’t wait to find out how it ended. If you want a solid thriller that will keep you reading, this is it. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4
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I was totally captivated by this story and had trouble putting the book down while at the same time I was worried about what the ending would bring. I loved the style of this book and could feel Gil's growing anxiety although I did start to wonder whose intentions I should be more worried about, Matthew's or Gil's. Like another book I read recently there was a feeling of dread that built as the book went on. The author's use of language to describe Gil's state of mind not only gave me chills but made me feel like I was teetering on the brink of madness myself, such as: "Brittle, frail thoughts crashed against each other and shattered."

I have to admit that the story got a little bogged down at about 65% and Gil's thoughts did have a tendency to be repetitive but for the most part it was an excellent read. As well, some of the chapters were really long - 30 and 40 pages - but most of the time I'd be through the chapter before I realized it. I really liked the ending but it left me wanting more! Highly recommended. 4.5 Stars rounded down.

My thanks to Random House Publishing via Netgalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this novel. All opinions expressed are my own. This review will be posted on Goodreads as of February 3, 2023 and on amazon.ca as of the publication date.
Publication Date: March 21, 2023
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A suspenseful novel but nothing groundbreaking in the thriller genre. I easily predicted what was happening. 

This is the story of a troubled young man who goes to live with his uncle and aunt after his parents die in a car accident. It's an interesting look at class and wealth. 

The writing is solid. I recommend this one for readers of psychological thrillers.
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Yes after reading the reviews, after reading the book itself, I still super enjoyed this book. I finished it very fast and I didn't like the main guy either but still that was the plot of how he was a woose.  He couldn't help how he was but don't you think that you would of been crazy worried about your kids also? I definitely sympathized with him. Poor guy had a lot going against him but I do think I would have also gone another way about handling Matthew. 
I thought the writing was great, especially how he wanted to be close to his sister as no other family left. Still his sister was nothing to brag about to have. LOL That swimming pool would have been the end for me! I have to say I am sure glad I stuck with it and finished it. Love, loved the ending. Guess he ended up with the money load too. Thank you NetGalley and Publishers!!
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A terrific book that makes the reader wonder, until the last page, whether the protagonist is right or if he's just crazy. A seductive page-turner that draws you right in and keeps you glued to every page.
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Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ ½
Genre: Mystery Thriller

Matthew’s parents die in a car accident. Because he is not yet 18 years old, he is required to move in with his uncle Gil and the rest of his family until he reaches the age of adulthood. Matthew is a troubled adolescent, and there was an event that took place when he was younger that resulted in a rift between his mother and his uncle. Both Gil and his wife, Molly, are feeling anxious about the prospect of having this problematic teenager come in with them. They were taken aback at first by his polite behavior. But after a while, Matthew will reveal his true self.

This entertaining thriller is supposed to have a cat-and-mouse fight between the uncle and his nephew. I can't think of a single young character I've ever read about in recent years who is more unlikeable than Matthew. For some reason, he makes me think of Kevin from the book We Need to Talk about Kevin. I think the author did a wonderful job of developing him as a character, which is important. Unfortunately, on the other hand, Gil was an annoying character, not as a person but as an adult who didn’t know how to act or handle a teenager. My experience has taught me that playing a game of cat and mouse is more entertaining when both players are equally devious and clever. In contrast to the uncle, the nephew possessed these qualities, while the uncle did not.

The book moved at a steady pace, which made it fun to read. There are parts that explain what occurred in the past so that the reader might have a better understanding. Overall, I found this to be an enjoyable suspense novel. Just go right in without looking up any spoilers beforehand.

Thanks a lot to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me an advanced reader copy of this book to read.
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Pub date: 3/21/23
Genre: thriller
Quick summary: Gil and his family live in peaceful Vermont town - but that peace is shattered when his orphaned nephew Matthew comes to live with them. Gil just knows that Matthew is up to something...

This book sucked me in from the beginning - you can feel Gil's suspicion in the text, and I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. Like any good thriller psychopath, Matthew alternated between charming, a little weird, and downright creepy. I never knew what I was going to get! As Matthew's writing appeared to imitate life, Gil went more off the rails trying to confirm his suspicions. At 304 pages, this was a pretty quick read for me!

I think this is a fun thriller that feels a bit more literary than most popcorn thrillers. If you enjoyed THE PLOT, you might enjoy this one too!

Thank you to Random House for providing an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting from this much-vaunted book, just something different from the somewhat standard thriller it turned out to be.  
      Not that I can’t appreciate a nail-biter as much as the next person, especially with the setup as I understood it from this novel, with a teen villain as apparently icy cold as the kids in "The Children of the Damned."
   The original bad seed if ever there was one, the novel's Matthew Westfallen, who ends up in the care of the novel's protagonist, college writing instructor Gil Duggan, after the boy's mother and her husband are killed in an auto accident. It's an arrangement Gil is upset enough with that the reader wonders at the intensity of reaction – the boy's mother was his sister, after all – until it's revealed that at a younger age Matthew might have tried to drown Gil's younger daughter. Also, there's the suspicion that he might have had something to do with the accident that killed his parents. 
    Still, for a time it seems as if over the years the boy might have changed for the better. He even proves somewhat charming to Gil’s wife and older daughter and has Gil letting down his guard a bit, though there's a unsettling development when the boy enrolls in Gil's writing class and begins submitting stories that are unsettlingly like the real-life incident from his past and the auto accident. 
     It's a device which has been used with varying degrees of literariness elsewhere, someone in a writing class submitting a story that's eerily similar to events in the instructor/narrator's own life, and indeed it's what had me thinking the novel might have more ambitious literary goals in mind, but in the end, as I say, the novel turned out to be pretty much standard thriller stuff. Still, for what it is, it's exceptionally well-done and the writing is unusually top-drawer for this sort of fare.
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Always love a slow burn thriller, and this was packed with all the right mixes to keep you wants to read more and yet need to take it slow. 
The two main characters were write so well together. With all families you wonder do you real know who your relatives are.
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I’m still trying to decide if I liked this or not. It’s a slow burn thriller that gets stuck in the weeds at times. It almost hit the mark but kept missing it by just a little. The main character Gil kept going in circles about his nephew and it started to wear on my nerves. 

I would have liked a little more about Matthew and his family but it just came up short in that department. The writing was fine. I just found myself not rushing to pick it up. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an early copy in exchange for an honest opinion. 3⭐️
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<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61151267-a-flaw-in-the-design" style="float: left; padding-right: 20px"><img border="0" alt="A Flaw in the Design" src="https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1659651667l/61151267._SX98_.jpg" /></a><a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61151267-a-flaw-in-the-design">A Flaw in the Design</a> by <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2930797.Nathan_Oates">Nathan   Oates</a><br/>
My rating: <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/5289368387">4 of 5 stars</a><br /><br />
Wow, I really enjoyed this book by Nathan Oats! I received an advanced copy from Netgalley for an honest opinion. I had put this on the back burner to finish another book and I am sorry I waited! I loved evil Matthew and how Gil tries to reel his bad boy behavior in. Matthew has tricked everyone but he hasn't fooled Gil who can see through him. When Matthew has to come and live with Gill and his family due to an accident that killed Matthew's parents, Gill soon comes to regret the decision. All I can say from here on is READ THIS BOOK! It won't disappoint!<br />
<br/><br/>
<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/150310408-sherry-french">View all my reviews</a>
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The description had me...an orphaned teen comes to live with his uncle, who is afraid of him from something that happened years ago!  Great plot and outstanding characters, a bit creepy!  A shocking ending.  Seems like it would make a good movie.
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This slow burn thriller touches on the subject of greed, class, and who actually “deserves” the goodness that wealth brings. 

It begins when cold and callous teenager named Matthew is made an orphan when his parents suddenly die in a car crash. He is set to inherits millions of dollars. Gil, the boy’s uncle has suspected an evil lurking in the boy since childhood and is unhappy to be tasked with being the boy’s guardian until he graduates and turns 18 soon. 

This book dragged. It had good writing and some interesting elements but it went in circles as Gil repeatedly suspected Matthew was up to no good. 

I would feel my interested start to falter and then the storyline would switch timelines or a new hint at mystery would get thrown into the mix and I would hold on. But…it took me way too long to finish this. It wasn’t one I was excited to fly through.
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While I think the book was well-written and left me reading to find out what was going on, I really didn't care for either of the main characters. Sometimes that fact alone will leave me with the feeling that I really don't want to finish reading a book, so  there were moments, I really wanted to quit. There were also moments when I felt as if I was just slogging through the book to see how it ended because the story also dragged at times. 

The characterization was extremely well-done. Gill, uncle to Matthew, seems to be somewhat paranoid, jealous of his nephew and it's really difficult to tell if the things that are happening are really happening or in his imagination. Matthew, the rich nephew, is either guilty of wrongdoing or has been wrongfully accused by his uncle.  That's what I kept reading to find out. 

Overall, the story was pretty good.
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Okay, wow. What a mind-bending thriller this was. 

I am so thankful to NetGalley, Nathan Oates, and Random House for granting me early reader access to this one before it's set to publish on March 21, 2023. 

Matthew is a recently orphaned 17-year-old after the tragic loss of both parents in a car accident. He's then sent to live with his next-of-kin and new guardians, his Aunt Molly and Uncle Gil Duggan, Gil being his mother's (Sharon) brother up in Vermont. This wouldn't be such a big deal if the horrors of Matthew's past didn't continuously haunt the Duggans. 6 years prior, Matthew attempted to murder his younger cousin, Ingrid, by pushing her into a pool, knowing she couldn't swim. This would likely deter any parent from wanting to him around their kids, but after the death of his sister and brother-in-law, this decision turned into law.

Matthew brings a moody attitude, masked in front of his Aunt Molly and not-so-young cousins, but Gil can see right through the facade. He starts to hang around Ingrid and Chloe, which worries Gil for. he doesn't want that negative influence to impact his daughters. Matthew even enrolls in his Uncle's creative writing course, leaking a "fictional" take on his involvement in his parent's untimely death. 

Everyone else in Gil's life suspects he's crying wolf when he leaps toward placing accusations on his troubled nephew, but perhaps he was right all along. Nobody will ever get to find out after the reported absence of Gil after going to confront Matthew himself, and that's all there is.
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When Gil's sister and her husband are killed in a horrible car accident, he and his wife, Molly, are forced to take in their seventeen-year-old son, Matthew. Matthew is still a minor and Gil and Molly are less than thrilled about bringing him into their home. Unfortunately, when Matthew was an infant Gil and Molly agreed to be his guardians if anything ever happened to Sharon and her husband. When Matthew was eleven there was a disturbing event with Gil and Molly's daughter that almost led to a tragedy. Sharon refused to see any problem with her son and it caused a serious rift with his sister. Sharon's husband was very wealthy and with Matthew comes a huge monthly income for his care. Gil and Molly are worried because they think Matthew is dangerous but when he arrives in their small Vermont town from New York  City, he is the perfect guest. He helps the girls with their homework, brings Molly presents and is on his best behavior. Everyone in the family is won over by Matthew except Gil who sees flashes of the sociopath that he believes Matthew to be. When the police contact him about the accident and  keep inquiring about Matthew, Gil begins to think that Matthew might have had something to do with their deaths but Molly is sure that Matthew's lack of emotion about losing his parents is his coping mechanism. Gil believes otherwise. 

Gil is a writer and a professor at a small local university. Molly is an artist so their finances are stretched to the limit. Gil has to admit that the money they receive each month is beneficial because they are able to pay off some of their debts so they can start saving for college for their two girls. Gil thinks that he must be overreacting to Matthew because no one else in the family believes that Michael is dangerous.  However, as the weeks go by, Gil begins seeing glimpses of the real Matthew and he is terrified for his family. 

Many years before Gil had a nervous breakdown and as he becomes more obsessed with trying to show that Matthew is dangerous Molly  becomes worried that he is having another episode but Gil is onto Matthew and Matthew knows it. Was he responsible for the death of his parents ?  Is he as dangerous as Gil believes him to be or is Matthew just toying with him? Soon their cat and mouse game comes to a final confrontation that leads to an unexpected ending. 

I couldn't put this book down! I'm not sure what I think of the ending and I'm wondering if a sequel might be coming. If you like psychological mysteries with some twists you won't see coming, be sure to pick up A Flaw in the Design when is is published on March 21, 2023. 

Thanks to Random House and NetGalley for the advanced reading copy.
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I loved this dark, twisty psychological thriller SO MUCH!  Seeing how the characters interacted with each other while trying to figure out all the answers had me finishing this one in one sitting.  Don't miss out on this one.
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I really, really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys suspense and a narrator who may be unreliable.
Gil, a struggling writer, moves from NYC to bucolic Vermont with his wife and two daughters. Their lives are simple and unremarkable until his nephew Matthew comes to live with them because Matthew’s parents have died.
Is Matthew a charming, brilliant 18 year old, destined to attend Yale, or a deeply troubled adolescent who may have tried to drown Gil’s young daughter many years ago and who now, Gil suspects, may have been involved in his parent’s deaths?
I read this pretty non-stop for two days and stayed up late to finish it - maybe it’s just me, but who doesn’t like to read about possible psychopaths!
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3.5 stars

A Flaw in the Design held my interest due in large part to me being uncertain which direction the author was going take things.  It's fun as a reader to have all these questions swirling around in your head as you try to figure out exactly what is going on.  I might not have loved the conclusion but I still had a good time reading this thriller.

Gil is a professor living in Vermont with his wife and two daughters.  His sister recently died and his teenage nephew, Matthew, has moved in with Gil and his family.  Even though Gil didn't have much of a relationship with his sister or nephew these last few years, he agrees to the living arrangement partly because he will receive money from the estate to do so.  While Matthew seems to be getting along with everyone, Gil is keeping a close eye on him and the more he sees, the more his concerns grow.

So I didn't quite know what to think while reading the story as either Gil was paranoid or maybe he truly does have reasons to be worried.  And those were just the possibilities I was able to come up with but it's not like I wasn't aware at any moment the writer could throw a curveball into the mix.  So wanting to find out where everything was headed drove my interest.  The pacing was good as the story alternated between the present and the past in which you got more of the backstory and why Gil was suspicious of his nephew.

Alright, the weak spot was the ending although I might be in the minority with that opinion.  Even though I didn't care for the last few chapters, it was the final one that really bugged the heck out of me. It comes across as a copout rather than a brilliant conclusion.  Perhaps, that's harsh but it just didn't work for me.

Overall, I did enjoy this thriller as it did have me flipping the pages.
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A Flaw in the Design is an interesting and well written story about a somewhat dysfunctional family replete with intrigue, family secrets and resentment, murder, enormous wealth, teenage angst and several other plot elements. The reader is constantly kept in the dark and guessing as to what is real, fiction or just imagined.

I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys the mystery/thriller genre. My sole reservation is the ending which, once again, requires the reader to imagine what will happen. I thank NetGalley and Random House for the opportunity to read and review this book prior to publication.
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