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THE SILENT PATIENT
February 5, 2019
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…
The Silent Patient was a Book of the Year finalist in 2019 for Book of the Month and a Goodreads Choice winner in the same year. At the time, I wasn’t really into reading thrillers, so I didn’t think much of it. But the book was everywhere on bookstagram, and eventually I was so curious I decided to just read it already.
I didn’t think it could live up to all the hype, but I have to say that The Silent Patient did not disappoint. I read the entire story in a day. I just couldn’t put it down. Even though I kinda knew something nefarious was afoot by the halfway point, I found myself compulsively turning pages, desperate to unravel the details of Alicia’s story and see how the craziness would all shake out. I especially loved how the ending made sense, didn’t feel contrived, and was satisfying without being overly tidy. In short, I loved the book. Author Alex Michaelides has a new one coming out this June called The Maidens, and I can’t wait.