Clever psychological thriller with a twist.
The Silent Patient is the gripping tale of Alicia Berenson, a happily married artist who murders her husband and never speaks again. Forensic psychotherapist Theo Faber sets out to unravel the mystery of Alicia’s notorious crime and quickly discovers that nothing about her case is as clear-cut as it seems.
There was quite a buzz around this book when it became one of the biggest debut deals of the year which was secured by Orion Fiction. Alex Michaelides, already a successful screenwriter, transfers his skills to the novel with great effect.
The story unfolds through Theo’s point of view and then through Alicia’s journal which she was keeping up until her husband’s murder. Although the multiple perspective angle is now common place and perhaps overused, the author keeps it fresh and engaging due to the use of Alicia’s journal rather than a narrative.
The book is a little bit of a slow burner but with the author's background with Greek Myth and psychology blended together this helps keep the tension high and the reader engaged. I didn’t find the characters particularly likeable but with the book being so well plotted and the psychological suspense ramped up the novel became a massive page turner. In fact the last half of the book I read in one sitting as I had totally been drawn in and was desperate to know what happens. This really is some skill.
I absolutely whizzed through the last few chapters as I just couldn’t put it down. The ending, well, this was a twist I did not see happening. I do pride myself on discovering the twist early but this didn’t happen on this occasion. It’s such a great twist and my only real criticism was that this was a little rushed after such a journey and such a wait.
I enjoyed this debut a great deal and would recommend to any fans of psychological thrillers. Unfortunately it is inevitable that an excellent book will no doubt be turned into an average film. Let’s hope not.