Published by Orion
Available in ebook, hardback and paperback (7 February 2019)
Source: Copy provided by publisher for review
About the Book
Alicia Berenson writes a diary as a release, an outlet – and to prove to her beloved husband that everything is fine. She can’t bear the thought of worrying Gabriel, or causing him pain.
Until, late one evening, Alicia shoots Gabriel five times and then never speaks another word.
Forensic psychotherapist Theo Faber is convinced he can successfully treat Alicia, where all others have failed. Obsessed with investigating her crime, his discoveries suggest Alicia’s silence goes far deeper than he first thought.
And if she speaks, would he want to hear the truth?
With film rights snapped up by an Oscar winning Hollywood production company, rights sold in a world record 43 territories, and rave blurbs from David Baldacci, Lee Child and A.J. Finn, The Silent Patient promises to be the debut thriller of 2019
If you’ve been living in a cave for the last few months, then you can be excused for missing this one on social media. There has been a LOT of publicity about this debut. I, like many others, have this FOMO thing and when a review copy was offered, I didn’t hesitate to say yes please.
We know from the very beginning that Alice Berenson has been accused of killing her husband Gabriel. Following the trial, she’s now in a secure unit, rather than prison, known as ‘The Grove’.
What makes this book slightly different from others in this genre is that Alice is silent. Ever since Gabriel’s death she has refused to talk and has continued to do so for the six years since her incarceration.
Enter Theo Faber, a criminal psychotherapist who has become more than a little obsessed with Alice’s case, so much so that he waits for an opportunity to work at The Grove in order to become Alice’s therapist and to be the one to get her to finally speak about the crime.
Alice was said to be very much in love with Gabriel and they were thought to have the perfect marriage – so why did she kill him. We do hear Alice’s voice, by way of extracts of her diary entries leading up to the time of the murder. I found these fascinating and they give the best insight into the mind of a complex and unpredictable woman.
Theo turns investigator, delving into Alice’s past to try and find something he can use that will make her talk. He is up against the clock, as The Grove is being threatened with closure and it will be a real coup for the unit, if his treatment is a success.
Both Alice and Theo have had troubled pasts and the more detail that is disclosed about their lives, it becomes clear that they are damaged individuals. Can Theo really help Alicia or will she destroy him in the process.
The author’s experience of psychotherapy and working at a secure psychiatric unit brings authenticity to the story. I thought it was a fabulous read – that feeling of unease and of being unsettled was prevalent throughout, I was never quite sure what the truth was and it had me firmly hooked from the first page. It’s very much character driven however the slower pace suits the story perfectly as the reader is introduced to the characters and the backstory behind them gradually unfolds.
As you would expect in a thriller, nothing is straightforward and there are unexpected twists and surprises aplenty to keep the reader on their toes.
Is Alice mad, bad or a victim herself. You will have to read the book and find out.
My thanks to Orion for providing the review copy and to Tracy Fenton for the invitation to take part in the blog tour.
About the Author
Alex Michaelides was born in Cyprus to a Greek-Cypriot father and English mother. He read English at Cambridge University and received a MA in screenwriting from the American Film Institute. He wrote the film Devil You Know, starring Rosamund Pike, and co-wrote The Con is On, starring Uma Thurman and Tim Roth. The Silent Patient is his first novel.