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….
Well, that was quite a debut for both Alex Michaelides and the latest division of Macmillan Publishing, Celadon Books!
This is, out of necessity, going to be a pretty short review. The Silent Patient is one of those twisty types of page-turners, that getting too deep into it would definitely result in spoilers. You’ll get the bare minimum here. Sorry, not sorry!
Told in two voices - through therapist Theo Faber and the diary of the troubled murderer, Alicia Berenson, silent since the day she murdered her husband, The Silent Patient skilfully throws twist after misdirect, misdirect after revelation, yet you’re never really truly certain which of our cast of unreliable creatures is truly integral to unraveling the mystery. Even if you do figure it out, the execution is still breath-taking enough to keep you on the edge of your seat. With pacing that is on point, and more than a few things going on (who can resist the art of psychotherapy with some good old Greek tragedy and even more old-fashioned domestic noir, all set in an insane asylum?), you will have trouble putting this one down.
Mr. Michaelides is a refreshing new voice in the psychological thriller game and I am very much looking forward to seeing more from him. I also can’t wait to see what more little gems Celadon have up their sleeves!
I was provided this book for free by Celadon Books (via BookishFirst) in return for my honest opinion. Please note that some links in this book may be affiliate links to help us keep the lights on :)