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....
I’ve become really burned out on these huge, hugely-hyped “THRILLER OF THE YEAR” books. Every time I fall for the marketing and read the book, I end up rolling my eyes by the halfway point and regretting all of my life choices.
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides was the first time I’ve been glad that I went along with it. I won’t be able to say too much about this one without giving it away, so this review will be pretty short.
Alicia shot her husband in the face five times, but she hasn’t said a word since. Everyone involved in their lives claimed they had a great relationship, so no one can figure out why she would do this. And since she refuses to speak, it hasn’t become more clear over the years.
Theo Faber is a psychotherapist who has always been fascinated with this case. When the opportunity to work with Alicia comes up, he’s thrilled to finally have the chance to crack it.
What follows is an interesting and engaging read. It’s told in alternating points-of-view, both first person, from Theo himself and from Alicia’s diary entries. We do learn more about Alicia than I thought we would, mainly because Theo ends up deciding to do more investigating than your average psychotherapist probably would, but without that, there’s no story, so that’s just something we’ll have to deal with.
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this. The narration was great, adding to the experience of the story without intruding on it. If you’re looking for something to break your streak of less-than-stellar thrillers, pick this one up.