The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides


The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

The cover says ‘The perfect thriller’ and it is. 

Theo Faber is a psychotherapist with a mission: make Alicia Berenson speak again. Alicia was a talented artist and married to the love of her life, Gabriel. However, she ended up shooting him 5 times in the head one evening in her studio. She tries to commit suicide, but doesn’t succeed. 

During her trial, she refuses to speak, is convicted of the murder, and locked up in a secure psychiatric unit, The Grove. Silence can speak louder than words, and the finale portrait that Alicia creates draws on the Greek mythology Alcestis. But what actually happened – and what made Alicia kill her love?

Theo is convinced that he can treat Alicia and make her tell her story. He is obsessed with the story and mystery of Alicia, and when a vacancy at The Grove opens up, he finds a way in. He goes over and above the calling and duty of his position to uncover the silence. He starts digging around her past and family. He meets with her cousin, Paul, who has a history of gambling and still lives with his mom in an old house. He meets with people from the art world, and finds that Alicia was on her way up with prices rising. He discovers that perhaps Alicia’s silence goes deeper than the murder of Gabriel. 

The narrative is by Theo, but also includes Alicia’s diary entries. Alicia’s history is unfolded, but it also turns out, bit-by-bit, that Theo himself has had a difficult upbringing. Their parallel stories are well written, and the author has managed to include psychological issues within the psychological theme. 

The ending takes some turns and makes it a highly recommendable psychological thriller. It is well written, perfect pace, and it will keep you guessing as it twists and turns. 

Pick it up if you liked The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. Happy reading!

Reviewed by Lotte Bastholm

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Hannah Gough