“The facts, such as they were, were simple: Alicia was found alone with Gabriel’s body; only her fingerprints were on the gun. There was never any doubt she killed Gabriel. Why she killed him, on the other hand, remained a mystery,” (Michaelides 10).
It’s been a long time since I’ve read a thriller that 1) kept me hooked and 2) kept me guessing and The Silent Patient did all of that and more.
The novel follows a common story structure for the thriller genre: Famous painter Alicia Berenson lives a seemingly perfect life with her fashion photographer husband, but one evening when Gabriel returns home from work Alicia shoots him five times and never speaks another word. Alicia’s silence is what makes the crime different and her artwork skyrockets in price as she is hidden away in a secure forensic unit known as the Grove. But Criminal psychotherapist Theo Farber is convinced he can make it through to Alicia and get her to speak again, it’s been his goal to work with her. So Theo goes on the hunt to solve the mystery of why Alicia murdered her husband, finding her strange friends and even stranger family as he goes down paths that will change the course of his life forever.
What I liked about The Silent Patient which some people have issue with (which I understand) is that for most of the book not much happens. Theo tells readers the facts of Alicia’s case and we see his own investigation of her friends and family as he tries to discover why Alicia has remained silent after murdering her husband. Theo also tells readers about his own troubled past and how it led to him becoming a psychotherapist as well as his own marital troubles when he suspects his wife Kathy is cheating on him. I understand why having Theo just tell readers things without much action would be boring to some readers but I really enjoyed the style of it. It made the story feel like a classic mystery that wasn’t bursting out with reveals every couple of pages, it builds up and keeps readers guessing until the final twist.
And there is a twist and I did not see it coming which is why I love this book even more. It doesn’t pop up with gasp worthy reveals and heart-pounding action, it’s more subtle than that, a cold sort of mystery that you don’t realize has affected you until you start to shiver.
The Silent Patient is worth the buzz and a must-read for anyone who’s gotten tired of predicting the big twist in the “next big thriller” or who wants a more classic feeling mystery.
Publication: February 5th 2019
Publisher: Celadon Books
Pages: 325 pages
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤⛤
“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…”