The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Author : Alex Michaelides
Title : The Silent Patient
Pages : 352
Publisher : Orion
Publication date : February 7, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him…. 

| MY THOUGHTS |

If The Silent Patient has evaded your radar, you must have been living under a rock these past few months. There has been a massive campaign surrounding this one and a buzz so loud, it was almost deafening. Sold to more than thirty territories and with film rights snapped up before publication day, expectations for this one were immensely high!

Alicia is seemingly living the perfect life. She’s a famous painter, married to an in-demand fashion photographer, living in a big house in a very desirable neighbourhood. And yet, one evening when her husband returns late from a photoshoot, Alicia picks up a gun and shoots him in the face. Five times. And then, just like that, she stops talking, never to speak another word again.

A subject like Alicia’s condition is a dream come true for those who like to delve into people’s minds. Theo Faber, a criminal psychotherapist, has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. Can he find a way to make her talk and can he unravel the mystery surrounding the night Alicia’s husband died?

I can’t for the life of me even begin to imagine how hard it is to bring to life a character who doesn’t talk. You would think one-sided conversations would be utterly boring, but no. Alicia isn’t this cardboard version of herself and despite the fact she doesn’t utter a single word, she jumps from the pages and is immensely fascinating. Theo I had a harder time with, but I couldn’t quite figure out why that was. Sometimes someone just irks you, for no reason whatsoever, right? Just me? Okay then.

This character-driven psychological thriller with its intriguing premise makes for some extremely gripping and compelling reading. So full of suspense, so brilliantly executed and so well-paced, this is just one of those books I found impossible to put down. Somewhere along the line, things are turned completely onto its head and the theory I had floating around my brain from the very beginning was blown to smithereens. It made me feel as if I should have picked up some clues along the way but was way too immersed to see them. Mind —> blown!

And yet, I have no problem admitting that I initially felt a little underwhelmed. I felt it lacked something, something I couldn’t quite put my finger on, and it seemed to rely a bit too much on certain events that would redeem it somehow. I know, that’s immensely vague but I can’t say any more than that or I’ll ruin it for you. Yet, it’s also one of those books that I can’t seem to stop thinking about. It has been lingering on my mind for weeks and the more I go over it, thinking things through, the more I seem to like it. Isn’t it weird how that happens sometimes?

Still, The Silent Patient is an impressive debut by Alex Michaelides and he is most definitely an author to watch!

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This Week in Books (January 9)

Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

| LAST BOOK I FINISHED READING |

TWO BODIES
One suicide. One cold-blooded murder. Are they connected? And who’s really pulling the strings in the small Swedish town of Gavrik?

TWO COINS
Black Grimberg liquorice coins cover the murdered man’s eyes. The hashtag #Ferryman starts to trend as local people stock up on ammunition.

TWO WEEKS
Tuva Moodyson, deaf reporter at the local paper, has a fortnight to investigate the deaths before she starts her new job in the south. A blizzard moves in. Residents, already terrified, feel increasingly cut-off. Tuva must go deep inside the Grimberg factory to stop the killer before she leaves town for good. But who’s to say the Ferryman will let her go?

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him….

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

ONLY A MOTHER . . .

Erica Wright hasn’t needed to scrub ‘MURDERER’ off her house in over a year. Life is almost quiet again. Then her son, Craig, is released from prison, and she knows the quiet is going to be broken.

COULD BELIEVE HIM

Erica has always believed Craig was innocent – despite the lies she told for him years ago – but when he arrives home, she notices the changes in him. She doesn’t recognise her son anymore. 

COULD BURY THE TRUTH

So, when another girl goes missing, she starts to question everything. But how can a mother turn her back on her son? And, if she won’t, then how far will she go to protect him?

COULD FORGIVE WHAT HE HAS DONE

This week is looking awfully good, if you ask me. What are you reading this week? Let me know! Happy reading! xx

Some of my most anticipated books of 2019

At the end of last year, I mentioned doing a post focusing on some of my most anticipated releases for the new year. Since then, it seems everyone and their dog has done a post like that so obviously my idea wasn’t as original as I thought it was. Anyway, I decided to share this list regardless and hopefully you’ll find something that will pique your interest.

Listed by publication date for digital and hardcover copies.

| JANUARY |

Steve Cavanagh – Twisted
Matt Wesolowski – Changeling
Will Dean – Red Snow
Steph Broadribb – Deep Dirty Truth
Diane Setterfield – Once Upon A River

| FEBRUARY |

Angela Marsons – Dead Memories
Jo Spain – Dirty Little Secrets
Stacey Halls – The Familiars
Louise Beech – Call Me Star Girl
C.J. Tudor – The Taking of Annie Thorne
Alex Michaelides – The Silent Patient

| APRIL |

Gillian McAllister – The Evidence Against You

| MAY |

Stuart MacBride – All That’s Dead
Alison Weir – Anna of Kleve : Queen of Secrets
Sarah Hilary – Never Be Broken
Melanie Golding – Little Darlings

| JUNE |

Karin Slaughter – The Last Widow
Alex North – The Whisper Man

| JULY |

Riley Sager – Lock Every Door

| UNKNOWN |

Sharon Bolton – The Poisoner

This is a weird one but I’ve included it anyway. I could have sworn the original publication date was May but Amazon now lists it as December 2020, which quite frankly I refuse to believe because I WANT IT NOW!

Honourable mention to Johana Gustawsson and the third book in the Roy & Castells series.

I have a feeling it’s going to be a great bookish year once again! Which book(s) are you looking forward to the most? Do let me know and I hope you’ve found something in this list that caught your eye. Happy reading! xx