BOOK REVIEW: THE SILENT PATIENT By ALEX MICHAELIDES

This book was suggested to me by the book club created by the residents in the apartment I’m living in. The club was created two months ago – a product of the lockdown. Honestly, if not for the club, I may never have read the book. I’m glad I did. For not only was it different from the kind of books I generally read but it’s exceptionally well-written.

‘The Silent Patient’ is a psychological thriller that kept me hooked till the end. It was my first in the genre. By the end of the book, I was completely in awe of the author’s mastery over his craft. ‘Brilliant,’ is the only word that comes to mind. The writing style was simple, the plot exquisitely weaved It was like a slow dance where the author lead and I followed not knowing when it would end or what the next step was. I believe the book has been made into a movie. I don’t think though I’d be able to watch it because I’m sure the sound and lighting effects (especially in case of a thriller) would spook me out.

The plot took me by surprise – kind of like eating wasabi and the spice hits you. I though it was only me since I’m not into thrillers but when we discussed it at the book club, apparently everybody felt the same.

The story as per the author

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….

What I liked about the book?

I liked the arrangement of the chapters as either narrated by Theo or pages from Alicia’s diary. The language is simple allowing the reader to enjoy the book. And the story keeps moving- though the reader might know where it’s going. Yet, with each chapter a little more information is revealed but it leaves you guessing. I ended barking up the wrong tree- honestly till the end.

Since it’s my first in the genre and because of the finesse with which the plot was written, it’ll stay with me. It’s tempted me to check out more of the genre and from the author.

What I did not like about the book? Maybe just the very end. It kind of fizzled out. But leaving that the book was still amazing.

Rating : I’m not going to rate the book because it’s rated a success already. But will say kudos to the author for the way he weaved it together.

If you have not read the book, please do. You’ll enjoy it, even if psychological thriller is not your type. If it is, and you’ve already read it, let me know how you found the book in the comments section. If not, what are you waiting for? 🙂

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