Review: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Synopsis:
Alicia Berenson lived a seemingly perfect life until one day six years ago. When she shot her husband in the head five times. Since then she hasn’t spoken a single word. It’s time to find out why…

Wow, talk about a thrilling and surprising book – what a rollercoaster of a read!

I’ve read a lot of thrillers in recent years, largely because I find them easy to binge thanks to the fast-paced storytelling. However, this somewhat overexposure to the genre means it has become quite difficult to shock me with twists, as I’m constantly trying to work out what happens next and anticipating the conclusion from the offset. This book, however, was a huge exception and lives up to the hype thanks to a shocking twist that I never saw coming (and then subsequently kicked myself for not working out!) and an impressive ending.

The premise of The Silent Patient is rather simple at first glance, but also creepy as hell. Alicia Berenson killed her husband and hasn’t uttered a word since, causing her to be placed in a psychiatric facility. The narrator of the story, Theo Faber, wants to treat her and find out the truth, and so gets a job working at the facility where she resides. As Theo begins to contact the people who knew Alicia the most, including her aunt, cousin, brother-in-law and business partner, all sort of secrets start to unravel and it’s clear there’s more to Theo’s interest than first appeared.

In typical thriller fashion, the book was made up of short, punchy chapters, almost always ending on some kind of cliffhanger to encourage readers to keep going. It’s certainly one of those books that could be devoured in one sitting. The plot was extremely well-thought-out too, as was the weaving of the past and present chapters, which I thought was really successful and added to the overall suspense of the book.

Nothing is as it seems in The Silent Patient and I thoroughly enjoyed the journey we, as readers, were taken on to get to the truth. I had so many theories and assumptions about what happened the night Alicia’s husband, Gabriel, was killed and all of them were way, way off. The story is complex and multi-layered with a labyrinth of characters, each of whom is extremely flawed and left me eyeing them up suspiciously. However, looking back, the author doesn’t attempt to directly divert the reader from the truth at any point by putting a specific character in the firing line. Instead, he just continues to drive the plot forward quite neutrally, which I really enjoyed.

Overall, this is a fantastic book that I am confident most people will enjoy. The Silent Patient was named the Goodreads Best Thriller book in 2019 and now I can see why – it’s utterly compelling, intelligently crafted and written beautifully. One of the best thrillers I’ve read in recent years.

Goodreads rating – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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