The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides is a shockingly good psychological mystery. A’la The Sinner, this is a story which will have you hooked from the beginning. With few twists or reveals, this is a slow-burner but very much worth it. This is going to be a shorter review than normal so I don’t spoil the genius ending, but if you’ve read it, please get in touch so we can discuss it properly! The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides was published yesterday by Orion Publishing Group.
Alicia Berenson murdered her husband in cold blood, with no reason. Ever since, she has maintained her silence and as such, has been committed to a psychiatric hospital, The Grove. Theo Faber is a psychologist who has chosen to work at The Grove specifically with the aim of helping Alicia to speak again and heal. Through his narration and her diary entries, Michaelides has left a trail of breadcrumbs for readers to piece back together page by page. Did Alicia really kill her husband? And why does it seem like so many people would benefit from her staying silent?
Why I enjoyed this book
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides is a great psychological mystery because it draws you in absolutely and brings you almost too close to the narrative and characters to be able to see the truth. Towards the middle of the novel, I did wonder why it wasn’t being told solely through diary entries and police procedural business, as Theo does undertake a detective-like role, but it does become clear later on.
The story itself is intriguing, gripping and altogether quite shocking. I did not see the end coming; it is very similar in that sense to the way things all managed to tie together in the Netflix series, The Sinner. Whilst it may not make sense right away, it will soon. I liked the way Michaelides introduced many characters from Alicia’s past, as they really helped to flesh out the narrative and her character as somebody who cannot speak. I also liked the inclusion, but non-overbearing nature of Theo’s past being dotted in there. The way he speaks about studying psychology and having to want to fix yourself set up a very good window into his character.
The only thing that did not quite resonate with me in this book was a bit of a plot hole at the end, but it would ruin the entire story to say what that is. If you’ve read/are going to read it and spot the plot hole, please message me because I’m dying to talk about it.
Overall, this is an excellently written 4.5* psychological mystery. If they manage to fill the plot hole in the final copy, then it would be a full five stars. I would recommend this book to lovers of all things psychology, or who want to read a non-gory but dark crime/mystery. This is not a police procedural, but more of a diary/interview-led mystery. Thank you Orion for my proof copy of The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides in exchange for an honest review.