Book Review: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Title: The Silent Patient
Author: Alex Michaelides
Published: February 2019, Celadon Books
Format: ARC Paperback, 336 pages
Source: Publisher

Promising to be the debut novel of the season 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….

My thoughts: I picked up this gem last year at Book Expo and have been so excited to read it…and let me tell you – the hype about this book is real! This book is one of those ones that gets under your skin and doesn’t let up, and it is certainly one that I will not be forgetting any time soon!

I wouldn’t exactly classify this book as a fast-paced thriller, but more a slow-burning, methodical thriller. Every part of this story is necessary – there is nothing superfluous about this book. I was enthralled from the get-go, wondering just where it was headed, and not for one second did I guess that ending, and I knew there would be a crazy, shocking twist at the end, but still I was left reeling…in such a good way! Let’s be honest, I read a ton of thrillers and while I always enjoy them, I don’t always find myself completely shocked by all the twists like I was with this one.

The characters in this book are well-drawn and deliciously intriguing. You can’t help but want to know more about them. Alicia Berenson is so mysterious. Why would she murder her husband and then never speak about it? If she didn’t do it, why not speak up? Then there’s Theo Faber, the psychotherapist, who is so consumed by Alicia. He feels this need to get to the bottom of what is going on with Alicia and why she is not talking. And then to add even more intrigue, there are Alicia’s diary entries…these just add an extra dimension to an already multi-layered story that just amp up the suspense…and when everything finally comes together…WOW!

This is such a clever story and I am shocked that it is a debut novel. I cannot wait to see what comes next from this talented author – you can be sure I will be keeping an eye out, for sure! In the meantime, I highly recommend picking this one up…you will not be sorry!

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