The Silent Patient

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Alex Michaelides is an author to watch! This is his first novel, and it is a humdinger! It is a murder mystery ; told from the point of view of a psychotherapist who switches jobs so he can try to help Alicia ; the silent patient of the title.

Plot Summary:

Alicia is accused of shooting her husband in the face 6 years ago, and hasn’t spoken since. The psychotherapist tries unsuccessfully to talk to Alicia, and then talks to her friends and family. Lots of issues arise during his “investigation.” He is also dealing with a cheating wife ; which causes him lots of extra stress.

Readers are also given a look into Alicia’s journal, in which we learn more about her life and background. The book Silent Patient is a fast-read, well-written, exciting, and offers a surprising ending that is clever and believable. What a wonderful story!!


I decided to go into this novel with a clean slate, a blank canvas (no pun intended). I didn’t read any reviews because I didn’t want to see something ; that would give me any clues, either intentionally or unintentionally.

When I know there’s a twist, or if I see hints of something, I usually figure out what’s going on. So I entered this story in the dark, curious to find what I would discover.

This is definitely an experience. For me, the author’s words painted a vivid picture (again, no pun intended). The timeline of the story was a bit hazy at points because the main character ; Theo, talks in the past tense, but about a more recent past and a time that seems undefined.

I won’t mention anything that could spoil what happens. All I’ll say is that I had several theories, varying in their levels of crazy. When I got to the end ; I wasn’t knocked off my chair surprised because I read a LOT of books in this genre ; but I also can’t say that I completely saw it coming either.

Instead, I found myself trying to retrace steps and get oriented. At some point I feel like I want to read the story again to truly put the rubik’s cube in order.

At the end of the day; I think this novel has the potential to be one that is widely discussed, and may even become a motion picture. There’s an intentional murkiness (reminiscent of a movie like Memento) as the psychotherapist ; Theo, embarks on a journey to find out why Alicia doesn’t speak, if she really killed her husband; if she’s insane, and/or the motive IF she did indeed kill Gabriel.

It’s not a fast-paced tale in terms of really big happenings or scary moments; but for me; the short chapters went quickly and I was intrigued throughout because I wanted to know what happened and I liked the author’s writing style. I’d recommend it for those that enjoy this genre, and those that enjoy being part of the buzzed-about-books experience.

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.

You Know But You Don’t

Silent Patient isn’t about the Whos and the Hows as much as it is about the Whys. We know who killed Gabriel and how in the initial chapters. What we don’t know is why. Initially, it feels like we, as omniscient readers, know everything going on.

But then, as the story unfolds, we realize that all that we knew was false. The story, the characters, the timeline, everything flips all of a sudden as we reach an end we don’t see coming.

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....

 

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