I borrowed The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides from my mum after seeing it everywhere and reading that it hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list. It’s a debut thriller set in England.
It’s about — funnily enough — a silent patient named Alicia Berenson and a forensic psychotherapist called Theo Faber who is determined to get her to talk.
Alicia is an artist, happily married, but not without her issues. Until one day she shoots her husband Gabriel five times for no apparent reason. She refuses to say why and doesn’t utter another word. She ends up being put into a mental care facility called The Grove which is where she meets Theo.
Theo is already obsessed with Alicia’s case before getting a job in the hospital where she’s a permanent resident. He sees her silence as the ultimate professional challenge and is convinced he can get her to talk where others have failed.
The story is told from two perspectives: snippets of Alicia’s diary written before the murder and Theo’s perspective. Both characters are deeply flawed but there’s a fascinating dynamic between the two.
I sped through The Silent Patient as it’s such a page-turner and I guessed part of the ending. Like a typical psychological thriller, everyone is shifty, not particularly likeable, and no one can be trusted.
I can see why this book has done so well. It’s a solid debut with just the right amount of thrilling. The writing and pacing are both great. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t love it. It just felt like something I had read before. But that’s just my opinion and personal taste.
Verdict: A great book for anyone who loves psychological thrillers.