Book reviews Books

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides – Book Review

June 6, 2020

The Silent Patient

Author: Alex Michaelides

Publisher: Celadon Books

Release date: February 5, 2019

Pages: 297

Genre: Suspense, Psychological Thriller

Rating: ★★★★

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Synopsis

The Silent Patient is a shocking psychological thriller of a woman’s act of violence against her husband—and of the therapist obsessed with uncovering her motive.

Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him….

Why did I choose to read The Silent Patient?

I’ll be honest, The Silent Patient has been on my To-Be-Read list for a while. Since last year in fact. It was released early 2019 and it quickly came on my radar as a very popular thriller. You know me by now, I love a good suspense novel.

I eventually purchased it on my E-reader but I didn’t get to reading it until… now. The situation being as it is now, I’ve had a lot more time to read. As such, I decided it was time to tackle some books I’ve been meaning to read for a while.

I read The Silent Patient in two days. Read on to find out what I thought of this novel (I think we know I enjoyed it).

What did I think of The Silent Patient?

Oh. My. God. I did NOT see that twist ending coming!

Theo Faber is fascinated by the case of Alicia Berenson, a famous painter who brutally murdered her husband then never spoke another word. Theo is a psychotherapist and takes a job at The Grove, the psychiatric hospital in London where Alicia is being treated. He hopes, with his help, that Alicia will finally talk and explain her motivation for killing her husband… or what really happened that night.

The Silent Patient switches between two narrators: Theo, in the present, and Alicia, from her journals some time before the terrible event.

The Silent Patient is frustrating (in a good way), because as we read Alicia Berenson’s journal entries, we still wonder whether she can be trusted as a narrator. Being locked up in a psychiatric hospital, and apparently having previously suffered episodes, we’re forced to take what she says with a grain of salt. It doesn’t make her less sympathetic, though.

Her husband, however, is very unlikeable though we don’t hear from his point of view. Gabriel, the husband, manipulates Alicia into taking medicine she doesn’t want, doesn’t believe her when she says she’s being followed, and doesn’t see what’s right in front of him in regards to his brother and Alicia. Gabriel is definitely my least favorite character in The Silent Patient, which diminishes a bit the gravity of the crime (his murder). (Sidenote: I don’t condone murder, even a fictional one, I just meant to say the reader doesn’t quite feel the grief Alicia is possibly feeling for the loss of her husband).

Theo, one of the two narrators, is a bit harder to classify as ‘likable’ or not. In the first half of the novel, I would say he’s very likable and relatable. His actions when he finds out about his wife’s betrayal make him lose a few points, though.

The action is fast-paced and the mystery is well written and well drawn-out. I finished The Silent Patient in two days and was shocked by the twist ending. You will definitely not. see. this. coming.

All in all, I give The Silent Patient a very well-earned four-stars rating!

Until next time!

Melanie

A woman brutally murders her husband one night then never speaks another word again... The Silent Patient is a suspense thriller that will keep you on the edge of your toes the entire read. Get ready to devour this one in one sitting! You'll never see the twist ending coming! Four stars!

 

A woman brutally murders her husband one night then never speaks another word again... The Silent Patient is a suspense thriller that will keep you on the edge of your toes the entire read. Get ready to devour this one in one sitting! You'll never see the twist ending coming! Four stars!

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