Book Reviews

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

The benefits of having a three-year-old not sleeping due to a growth spurt? Having extra time to read at 3am! Got to find the silver lining, right? That’s why I managed to finish my next book quicker than usual. In all honesty though I think I would have read this one pretty quickly anyway, it was so hard to put down. That book in question is The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides.

Several years ago, Alicia Benson murdered her husband. No one knew why, because after the incident she refused to speak, and hasn’t spoken a single word ever since. The case was high profile and famous at the time, but after a while Alicia’s actions faded into the background. She now resides at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London. Then there’s Theo Faber, a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time to be able to meet Alicia and work with her. Alicia used to be a painter, and after the murder she painted a self-portrait that has long fascinated Theo. He’s determined that he’s going to be the one to finally get her to speak again.

The Silent Patient is a detective story more than anything else, as Theo delves into Alicia’s past to try and work out what happened in her past to cause her to refuse to speak. The pieces of the puzzle are all there, they just need to be put into the right place. The majority of the book flicks back and forth between Alicia’s journal, detailing the last few weeks before the murder, and Theo’s active mission and what’s going on in his personal life. Those parts confused me, they took me out of the story somewhat and I couldn’t understand what the relevance was or where that angle was going, but it all made sense by the end.

Obviously I was expecting a major reveal at the end. Either Alicia was going to finally talk, or we’d learn another way why she murdered her husband, but the actually ending really took me by surprise. I feel like I could do with reading the whole thing again to fully make sense of it all – but I won’t tell you why! I’d definitely recommend The Silent Patient if you’re up for a fast-paced thriller/mystery novel.

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