A Flaw in the Design by Nathan Oates [Book Review]

Book Review

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Title: A Flaw in the Design

Author: Nathan Oates

Publisher: Random House

Publish Date: March 21, 2023

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Series: na

My Rating: 4/5

A Flaw in the Design by Nathan Oates


The cleverest psychopaths hide in plain sight.

Gil is living a quiet life as a creative writing professor in a bucolic Vermont town, when he receives some shocking news: His sister and her husband have been killed in a car accident, and their only son is coming to live with him and his family.

Gil and his wife are apprehensive about taking in seventeen-year-old Matthew. Yes, he has just lost both his parents, but they haven’t seen him in seven years—and the last time the families were together, Matthew lured their young daughter into a terrifying, life-threatening situation. Since that incident, Gil has been estranged from his sister and her flashy, wealthy banker husband. 

Now Matthew is their charge, living under their roof.

The boy seems charming, smart, and urbane, if strangely unaffected by his parents’ deaths. Gil hopes they can put the past behind them, though he’s surprised when Matthew signs up for his creative writing class. Then Matthew begins turning in chilling stories about the imagined deaths of Gil’s family and his own parents. Bewildered and panicked, Gil ultimately decides he must take matters into his own hands—before life imitates art.

A Flaw in the Design by Nathan Oates


After Gil’s sister and her husband die in a car accident, Gil and his family open their home to his nephew. Gil hasn’t seen his nephew Matthew in seven years. The last time the families had been together, there was an incident that strained their relationship. Gil teaches creative writing, and is surprised when Matthew signs up for his class. He is shocked when Matthew starts turning in disturbing stories.

A Flaw in the Design is told from Gil’s point of view. Gil is hesitant to have Matthew move into their home. He doesn’t trust him, and becomes consumed with proving Matthew is evil. However, everyone else believes Matthew to be a smart and charming young man.

A dark and intense thriller. Recommended to readers who like clever psychological thrillers.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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