“Nathan Oates’ debut A Flaw in the Design is not only a deep dive into the things that can rock the cradle of a family, but also an absolute page-turner. I read it in a single sitting.“ — Miranda Cowley Heller, bestselling author of The Paper Palace

“A slow burn thriller… Convinced that Matthew had something to do with his parents’ deaths and that it’s his job to gather evidence, Gil begins to slide into paranoia and erratic behavior. But Matthew, who is as charming to everyone else as he is disdainful of Gil, is always one step ahead of him. Who will crack first?”  Sarah Lyall, The New York Times Book Review

“Great characterisation and plenty of genuine suspense in a psychological thriller par excellence.” — the Guardian

“An absorbing and original plot. The writing is pitch-perfect and the observations of family dynamics are quietly excruciating. Oates has produced a very smart tale packed with jeopardy.” — Daily Mail

“Terrifying and amusing… keeps you guessing till the very end.” — the Times

“A highly literary yet suspenseful debut from Oates, who weaves a stunning tale of obsession, with a surprising ending that begs for a sequel.” —Booklist

“A compulsive, richly imagined literary thriller”— The Irish Times

“Nathan Oates excels at creating tension, juxtaposing Gil’s neurotic quest to uncover the truth with Matthew’s teenage sense of detachment. Full of doubts, clues, and clever red herrings, A Flaw in the Design has everything you want in a psychological thriller. By the time the book careens toward its wild climax, you won’t be sure whom to believe.” Apple Books

“A tense, taut, gripping thriller with an ending that left my imagination reeling. Saga magazine

“I read [A Flaw in the Design] at speed in a state of high stress and anxiety, as the tension built inexorably and I began to feel just as haunted (hunted?) as the author’s protagonist. . . It’s all horribly claustrophobic, in the best possible way.” — The Observer

“Award-winning short story writer Nathan Oates (The Empty House) superbly examines the dark side of family bonds in his first psychological thriller, A Flaw in the Design. Oates finely applies the unreliable narrator motif to two characters, keeping the engrossing plot entertainingly off-kilter.” — Oline H. Codgill, Shelf Awareness

“When fast-paced thriller meets crafted literary fiction in this way, genre preference is irrelevant. There is no question about who will find this enthralling – the answer is everyone… It is a real pleasure to read prose so imaginative and gripping, which is simultaneously naturally tethered to real-world issues such as the complexity of class, family, and of the messiness in between.” Buzz Magazine

Oates carefully crafts a mind-bending thought puzzle, leading readers down a rabbit hole of paranoia surrounding Gil and Matthew. Written in compulsive prose and with the makings of a one-session read, Nathan Oates’ A Flaw in the Design will keep gears turning and minds thinking up until the very end.”  the Erie Reader

“A Flaw in the Design is a literary thriller of the highest order. Oates manages, with wisdom and insight, to explore the vulnerability of parenthood, the economic injustice of New York City, middle-age compromise, and the fallibility of storytelling, all while telling a heart-pounding tale that commanded my attention from the first sentence to the last.”—Julia May Jonas, author of Vladimir

“This suspenseful debut novel keeps the reader on tenterhooks in a fearful family drama. Oh, this demands a sequel!”—Christine Schutt, author of Pure Hollywood

“With increasing tension and growing paranoia, A Flaw in the Design explores the threat of ‘the other’ while moving toward an inexorable truth: Anyone obsessed with ‘the other’ is actually the most dangerous person of all. A gripping, twisty psychological thriller about the destructiveness of toxic masculinity hell-bent on protecting its own. I couldn’t put it down.”—Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, New York Times bestselling author of Bittersweetand Fierce Little Thing

“Get ready for a wild ride. Brutal and compelling, A Flaw in the Design is the story of a family driven toward destruction, as a father takes custody of the nephew he fears will wreck his life. This novel swerves and shocks before smashing into you, a T-bone collision you can hold in your hands.” — Julia Phillips, author of Disappearing Earth

“Menace and mendacity vie with the mundane in this skillfully told tale about ambition and grief and envy. A wealthy, smarmy nephew; an aging midlist writer charged with his care; two daughters; the long Vermont winter—what could go wrong? A Flaw in the Design is an impressive debut. Cue the sequel.”—Alice McDermott, author of The Ninth Hour

“Brilliantly constructed and psychologically astute, this novel had me turning pages late into the night and left me reeling in the aftermath of its stunning conclusion. Bravo!”  Antoine Wilson, author of Mouth to Mouth

“What happens when a (possibly murderous) sociopath takes a writing workshop? This is the premise of Nathan Oates’s delicious, inexorable, fast-paced tale of obsession–a thriller that will keep you reading till the end.” — Karan Mahajan, author of The Association of Small Bombs

“Phenomenal. A highly enjoyable Russian doll of a story. Impossible to put down. A remarkable debut.”—Lisa Ballantyne, bestselling author of The Guilty One

“Astonishingly good. A Flaw in the Design deserves to be a massive hit. A brilliant premise, a pulse-pounding plot, gorgeous language—this book has it all.”—Sarah Pekkanen, The New York Times bestselling author of Gone Tonight

“A mesmerizing literary thriller, full of atmosphere, perfectly observed characterization, and a plot that relentlessly corkscrews to a brilliant dénouement.”—Philippa East, bestselling author of Little White Lies

“[A] gripping psychological thriller… This immersive page-turner cleverly juxtaposes the writing of short fiction with the production of stories in people’s minds. Oates is definitely a writer to watch.” Publishers Weekly

Twitter: @NathanMOates

Agent: Anna Stein, ICM/CAA – anna.stein@caa.com

UK Agent: Sophie Lambert, C&W – sophie.lambert@cwagency.co.uk

Film/TV: Will Watkins, CAA – will.watkins@caa.com

2 thoughts on “

  1. Hi, I’d just like to get word to Nathan Oates that I have just read A Flaw in the Design – and woo, what a fantastic story. I just loved it – such authentic language and the suspense! I look forward to reading more from him.

  2. I just finished A Flaw in the Design. Loved it. It left me feeling slightly uncomfortable and a little disturbed. Effect of a good story I’m sure.

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