Title: The Silent Patient
Author: Alex Michaelides
Publisher: Celadon Books
Intended Audience: Adult
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Fiction
Mood: Mysterious, dark
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Alicia Berenson is a famous painter, living in an estate in one of London’s most sought-after areas with her husband, Gabriel. She seemed to have it all. Gabriel is a famous fashion photographer, and after returning home late from work one night, Alicia shoots him in the face five times and then falls silent.
Alicia’s refusal to give any explanation, or speak altogether, turns a domestic tragedy into a mystery that captures the public’s attention and launches Alicia into fame. The cost of her paintings skyrocket, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from reporters at the Grove, a secure mental facility in North London.
Criminal psychotherapist, Theo Faber, has waited years for the opportunity to work with Alicia and altered his own life to ensure doing so. His motivation to get her to talk and solve the mystery of why she killed her husband takes him down a crooked path into his own motivations and a search for the truth that threatens to devour him…
With the author not sparing details, the novel opens with the shooting of Gabriel Berenson. That fatal night caused his wife, Alicia, to fall silent for years. Though we know Gabriel’s ultimate destiny, I spent the entire novel trying to figure out why Alicia would shoot her husband, with whom she seems to have quite the connection.
Alicia Berenson is a complex individual with a successful career and a loving husband. Why on earth would she jeopardize everything she has worked so hard for to kill her seemingly sincere husband? Why would she keep silent for years, not proclaiming her innocence or preparing her defense?
Narrated from the point-of-view of Theo Faber, Alicia’s psychotherapist, it is clear from the beginning that Theo is interested in working on her case, but we still need to figure out why. Why does he seem to be obsessed with Alicia? How does Alicia’s situation have a personal tie to Theo, or does it?
Will Theo get Alicia to talk again? Will he learn why she did what she did? Will Alicia get the justice she deserves? The plot twist answers all these questions and more while also leaving you on the edge of your seat in both anticipation and horror.
This is a must-read for anyone who enjoys an excellent mysterious novel.
One of the best books I’ve read in recent years. A must-read!