Author: Alex Michaelides
Genre: Psychological Thriller/Mystery
Reading length: 325 pages
THE SILENT PATIENT by Alex Michaelides – I love everything about this book. It is truly one of the best psychological thrillers I have ever read. But when I say thriller, I don’t want you to have the wrong idea.
This book is not like the other thrillers out there. The power of the book doesn’t come from heart-thumping car chases or the cool blade of a serial killer on the loose, but from the subtle and hypnotic way in which the story unfolds. And no matter how good of a sleuth you think you are, there is very little chance you’ll see that ending coming.
If you decide to read THE SILENT PATIENT, brace yourself for one of the most gut-wrenching and most shocking twists in recent history. Well, at least in my opinion. I can’t remember how long I sat there in my chair, just mentally reeling, completely shaken to the core by what I just read.
Another thing I like about this book is that the scenes and chapters are relatively shorter than its counterparts. For me, that makes it easier to digest. It supports reading in short spurts, which I like. So if you’re like me and you don’t like having to sit for an hour just to get through a chapter, this book will suit you well.
Alicia Berenson is a famous painter, happy and living her brightest days with her husband, Gabriel, a fashion photographer. But one day when Gabriel comes home late from work, Alicia points a gun to his head and pulls the trigger five times, blasting his brains out. She has not spoken a word since.
Six years later, after the initial public interest and noise surrounding Alicia has died down, psychotherapist Theo Faber finds himself intrigued by Alicia’s story. He makes it his goal to get Alicia under his care, determined to unravel the mystery behind her unexplained silence. He wants to make her talk again. Theo proceeds to get a job at The Grove, the psychiatric facility where Alicia is being held. And the story that follows, my friends, is one you don’t want to miss.
But why does she not speak? – Euripides, Alcestis
Michaelides combines elements of Greek mythology with art and psychotherapy, so skillfully that the book is nearly impossible to put down. Although the plot is nothing short of interesting, I would say the story is more character driven.
There are so many thrillers out there in which the characters are just dumb, drunken nutcases running around making stupid decisions at every corner. Sometimes you just wish they get run over by a freaking bus or something, saving you from the misery of having to keep reading them. THE SILENT PATIENT couldn’t be more different.
The characters are smart and proper, and it seems like they’re doing all the right things, making all the right decisions. But are they? That’s something you’ll have to find out for yourself.
The story is told in five parts, mostly from Theo’s point of view. We also get occasional glimpses into Alicia’s diary.
As the protagonist gets in deep with Alicia, exploring her hidden past in his attempt to solve her mystery, we are introduced to his own life as well. The author seamlessly intertwines the past and the present of these two characters using masterful storytelling. The result is a story that grips you like a thousand vines.
A psychotherapist, a silent patient. Two broken people. Two complete strangers, seemingly polar opposites of each other. But they might have more in common than they think.
Only she knows what happened. Only I can make her speak.
THE SILENT PATIENT is a must-read for fans of psychologically rich mystery-thrillers with deep character study.
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