“Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive, and will come forth later, in uglier ways” – Sigmund Freud
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides is an adult thriller that tells the story of Alicia Berenson: a famous painter living in one of London’s most desirable areas with in-demand fashion photographer husband, Gabriel. Everything about their life seems perfect…
Gabriel comes home late one night, and Alicia shoots him FIVE times in the face.
Why? No one knows.
For six years she’s remained silent, and this silence has turned a domestic tragedy into a mystery that has captured the imagination of everyone, including Theo Faber: Alicia’s new psychotherapist.
The Silent Patient is told in first person POV and switches between Theo Faber’s perspective as he tries to solve the mystery behind Alicia’s silence, and Alicia’s journal entries, which reveal everything that went on in her life up until the night she killed her husband.
One thing I will say about this novel is while it’s marketed as a “psychological thriller,” it doesn’t have the intense pacing and twists and turns you would expect. In reality, the story is more of a murder mystery with a psychological focus and a thrilling ending. In The Silent Patient, the author focuses more on peeling back the layers of the mind of a potential murderer than on shocking twists within the plot. It’s a slow burn for sure, but one I think is worth it in the end. Alicia and Theo’s story is still engaging even without all the thrills, and the way Alex Michaelides weaves Greek mythology within the narrative is brilliant and fascinating.
That being said, I do feel that the character, Theo Faber acted more like a detective solving a crime than a psychotherapist, which again fits in with the whole “this is a murder mystery.” He spends more time playing detective and questioning Alicia’s friends and extended family (who are all willing to reveal their skeletons in the closet to a complete stranger ???) than he does with his silent patient. Things come together and are solved a little too easily without much resistance.
Content warning: self-harm
The Silent Patient
I give this book four stars. Even though it didn’t read like a thriller, and things were solved easily, I do think the overall story and twist at the end is brilliant. I did NOT see it coming, and I was completely shocked. Also, the way the author used Greek myths in this story really brought everything together.
What do you think? Love it? Hate it? Let me know in the comments!