The Silent Patient by Alex Michealides
Publishing Date: 7th February 2019
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!
Number of pages: 352
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Only she knows what happened.
Only I can make her speak.
I love him so totally, completely, sometimes it threatens to overwhelm me.
Sometimes I think-
No. I won’t write about that.
Alicia Berenson writes a diary as a release, an outlet – and to prove to her beloved husband that everything is fine. She can’t bear the thought of worrying Gabriel, or causing him pain.
Until, late one evening, Alicia shoots Gabriel five times and then never speaks another word.
Forensic psychotherapist Theo Faber is convinced he can successfully treat Alicia, where all others have failed. Obsessed with investigating her crime, his discoveries suggest Alicia’s silence goes far deeper than he first thought.
And if she speaks, would he want to hear the truth?
In “The Silent Patient”, “Sold in 35 territories, film rights snapped up by an Oscar winning production company, and rave blurbs from David Baldacci, Lee Child, A.J. Finn, Joanne Harris and Black Crouch, THE SILENT PATIENT promises to be the debut thriller of 2019” . (publisher) the main character Alicia Berenson is accused of murdering her husband and confined. She spends her sentence in The Grove, a mental care facility for highly dangerous people. After the murder Alicia, a promising painter, stops speaking – not a single word leaves her mouth. Theo Faber is a psychotherapist, somehow obsessed with Alicia and her case. He’s desperate to work with her, to bring her to speak again, to solve the mystery behind her husband’s murder, and so he transfers to The Grove and starts Alicia’s therapy. Will he bring her to speaking? Will the murder’s mystery be solved?
The book introduces us to a bunch of characters but I haven’t felt connection to them, to be honest. I also had a feeling that they’re not well enough developed to get to know them. It is mostly told from Theo’s point of view, occasionally alternating with Alicia’s diary entries. Alicia has been a very promising and already successful artist and her husband Gabriel a photographer. Throughout the book we get some snippets into their life together but I wouldn’t say there is enough information for us to understand why Alicia would/should have murdered him. However, she was convicted – in something that really didn’t feel like a serious trial – because she was found at the scene, with a gun in her hand, covered in blood because she had slit her wrists. Theo behaves like a detective and a miracle – worker in one, looking into her past, interfering with her family and friends, trying to piece together her life, to understand what has happened.
I also think we aren’t given a chance to have an opinion about Alicia – she doesn’t speak, the short diary entries don’t really tell us much about her and mostly all that we know about her comes from Theo and from those he discusses Alicia’s life with, so it’s basically only assumptions.
And so here we are again, with the book I’ve heard about for the first time probably a long time ago. The advertising campaign was absolutely brilliant, it’s impossible to be a book blogger and not being able to know about “The Silent Patient”, but also done in a way that made me feel there are better book bloggers and worse book bloggers, but it’s probably an issue for a separate post. As might be expected, I was desperate – simply desperate – to read this novel, especially after hearing such brilliant things about it from the fellow bloggers. Well, so many people can’t be wrong, right. I think it wouldn’t be an understatement to say that “The Silent Patient” was one of my few most anticipated books for 2019. This all, put together, simply put the book under a great deal of pressure to be honest, and me as well, because I felt as if I must love it. Well, I liked it, but it left me feeling lukewarm. It didn’t wow me. This whole book was actually depending on the final twist that happens at the very end of the story – the twist that you know is going to happen, everybody hints at it, every blurb and review, and so you’re waiting and waiting, and then, well… It happens. Yes, the whole book was really well written, the author tried to pool wool over our eyes adding some new information that made me ask myself and casting negative suspicions at other characters, there was tension and suspense, so theoretically there was everything, preparing you for this huge grande finale. Probably, if I weren’t reading so many brilliant psychological thrillers/mysteries, I’d appreciate “The Silent Patient” much more but I must be already spoiled, and I’ve simply had a feeling that well, I’ve been there, I’ve seen this, it was already done numerous times. Book, to blow me away, must have more than one twist at the end and it has to have a strong, incontestable plot.
But please, please, please do not feel put out by my thoughts! The author is really talented, he has a great way with words and his writing style is absolutely easy to follow, it’s also gripping and it kept me glued to the pages, I simply wanted to read this book. He for sure knows how to tackle the heavier issues, such as mental heath and the care of it, people’s personalities – all kinds of them – relationships, and he easily gets into his characters’ heads. I’m already looking towards his next novel.