I listened to an audiobook edition of The Silent Patient.
Genre: Psychological thriller, mystery, crime.
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co, Macmillan Audio.
Originally published: February 5th, 2019
Pages: 352 (paperback)
Audiobook length: 8 hrs and 43 mins
Synopsis by the publisher:
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….
Mysteries, crimes, and thrillers aren’t usually my go-to genre. I think that is why I often find myself being overly critical and harsh when reviewing them, so after listening to The Silent Patient (which I had heard so many great things about) I took my time with letting it sit in my mind before reviewing it. Mainly because I didn’t want my genre preferences to shape this whole review, but also because I wasn’t really sure how I felt about it.
Let’s start with the characters.
Alicia Berenson was my favorite character to follow in this story. There’s something about hearing the written voice of the mystery woman that has suddenly gone quiet that I found extra intriguing.
Theo Faber had quite a few mysteries and some backstory to unravel as well, at the same time as he was trying to get Alicia to find her voice again.
I loved how we got to see both characters evolve in very different ways and in different timelines. That made the mystery even more mysterious, and the psychological aspect more interesting to me.
I also really enjoyed getting to know Theo’s journey with mental health and how that got him into the line of work as a criminal psychotherapist.
Stories and non-fiction that explores psychology and the workings of the mind always seem to appeal to my curious nature.
Michaelides definitely did that with this book!
Now, the story.
A lot of reviewers mention that this book was impossible to put down. I didn’t feel that way because even though I was curious about the story and the mystery surrounding the characters, I wasn’t wholeheartedly invested in the story. This might be due to my genre preferences again, especially since there wasn’t really anything specific that I could put my finger on that made me not as invested in this as so many others seem to have been.
But the pacing was really good, the way the chapters shifted between Faber trying to solve the mystery and Alicia’s journal from before it all went down was really interesting, and I didn’t find myself bored at any time during this story.
There are a couple of major plot twists in this story, and as we were getting closer to them I had sort of an idea of what they were going to be. So it didn’t take me entirely by surprise, but I thought it was all very well thought out and executed.
All in all, I did really enjoy this book, and after letting it rest in my mind for a bit, I liked it even more than I thought I did.
If you’re a fan of psychological thrillers and mysteries, then I definitely think that The Silent Patient is worth checking out.
And I think that I need to push myself to read more of the genres that I’m often too quick to judge as well so that I might not miss out on some brilliant stories just because I judge them by their genres before giving them a chance.
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