Book Review: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
The instant #1 New York Times bestseller “An unforgettable—and Hollywood-bound—new thriller… A mix of Hitchcockian suspense, Agatha Christie plotting, and Greek tragedy.” —Entertainment Weekly The Silent Patient is a shocking psychological thriller of a woman’s act of violence against her husband—and of the therapist obsessed with uncovering her motive. 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….
Holy Fricking Crap. That’s me putting this nicely. Why did I wait so long to read this book? Why did I not read it back when it first came out? Because seriously, I shouldn’t have. I really shouldn’t have. I’m going to start with a character assessment.
Theo Faber: I truly liked him. He’s one of those characters that you can’t help but like. He’s helpful, concerned, he loves his wife. He’s like the perfect guy. And he genuinely wants to help Alicia, doesn’t he?
Alicia Berenson: I didn’t really like her. Not because I thought she was guilty of murdering her husband, but because she just struck me as a little witch who just wanted her own way and had to get it. She didn’t care who she stomped on to get it. Just look at her relationship with Jean-Felix.
Jean-Felix Martin: I couldn’t really figure him out. Did he love Alicia? Did he just use her for her art? What’s the deal with this dude?
Max Berenson: Another character who just threw me for a loop. I’d never have guessed between Alicia’s diary and his attitude what would be revealed for certain toward the end.
Alex Michaelides has a writing style that is very easy to read. It only took me a couple of days to read The Silent Patient and honestly, if I’d had the time to just sit down and read, I could have probably read it in one day. It sucks you in and you just have to keep reading. You have to know if Theo will get Alicia to speak. You have to know if Theo will uncover what really happened the night Alicia’s husband Gabriel was murdered. And you’ll never, ever guess the ending.
The only true issues I had with this book have nothing to do with the story or writing style. It has to do with the sloppy editing job that was done. I found several spots where words were missing. Which tells me that the editors weren’t paying attention because it made it to print that way. I realize this means the author missed putting those words in, but that’s why they have editors. To catch errors like that.
Because of the editing errors I gave the book four stars, which is a shame because this should be a five star read.