Book Review: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

2019 Goodreads Choice Award winner for Mystery & Thriller!

The Silent Patient follows the story of Theo Faber, a psychotherapist who is working on a special case in a psychiatric ward. Theo has signed up to be Alicia Berenson’s therapist—who was once a popular painter, married to her husband Gabriel, who is a fashion photographer. One evening, Gabriel returned home late from work, and Alicia shot him dead for an unknown reason. It’s been 6 years since Alicia shot her husband 5 times in the face. Alicia hasn’t spoken a single word since. Now, we follow Theo’s point of view as he unravels the mystery behind the famous case of Alicia Berenson, uncovering the truths of what happened on that eventful night.

There is already a large amount of hype ever since this book got released, the premise itself and how the author made it to be so mysterious made me want to read this book more.

For a debut novel, this book is very well-written. It consists of almost 70+ chapters, yet it doesn’t feel that long to read. The pacing is perfect. It doesn’t feel rushed or slow. Now and then the author puts bits of puzzle pieces which makes the reader want to read more and get engrossed in finding the truth. The book is unputdownable!

The book is told with two alternating timelines. One with Theo Faber’s daily professional-client interaction with Alicia, and the other one with his mundane life, his wife, and other conflicts he faces as an individual. It’s nice to read how we get to see the two sides of Theo Faber—one as a professional psychotherapist, and as a human being who also fights his inner battles and demons. It’s quite an irony, but that’s what I love about Theo’s character. It’s just human nature. Theo is also quite a complex character. Was he truly helping Alicia? Is his determination just driven by his obsession with finding the truth or is there something more to it? On top of that, Alicia Berenson is also a very interesting character. It’s intriguing to see what truly happened, what made her refuse to speak after killing her husband. As we progress into the story, we get to see snippets of Alicia’s diary, building up to the big reveal.

What I also like about this book is how the author incorporated Greek mythology to move the story forward. He also used psychological theories which made this book more realistic and interesting to read.

The book has a great plot twist even if it’s quite foreseeable. It was creatively written and it made me change my perception of the whole book after finding out the twist. I love how it all circled back from the start, and how it connected all the dots that were mentioned.

If you’re looking for a great psychological thriller book that will make you think, I highly recommend picking this up! Alex Michaelides is an author to watch out for. Looking forward to his future releases!

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