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The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Thriller

The Silent Patient

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by Alex Michaelides

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Quick Take

A therapist unravels the mind of a shattered woman ... who may be a murderer (or not).

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Psychological

    Psychological

  • Illustrated icon, Creepy

    Creepy

  • Illustrated icon, Whodunit

    Whodunit

  • Illustrated icon, Buzzy

    Buzzy

Synopsis

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....

Why I love it

Since Gone Girl conquered the globe in 2012, bookstore shelves have creaked beneath the weight of countless psychological thrillers. Another 44 were published in the past eight seconds alone—and precious few of these novels actually qualify as psychological suspense. More often than not, they focus on an imperiled protagonist—usually a young woman—whose psychology is neither nuanced nor particularly … well, particular. We might rattle around in the heroine’s head, but absent idiosyncrasies, dimension, or even personality, it’s like touring an empty museum.

Readers, we face a literary epidemic. But Alex Michaelides is here to deliver the cure. The Silent Patient is an eerie, bona fide psychological thriller starring Theo Faber, a psychotherapist who by trade dwells within the inner lives of his charges—one of whom refuses to speak. As Theo attempts to break through to his silent patient—a woman convicted of murdering her husband—a dark story unfolds that is as shocking as it is expertly crafted.

The characters in this novel crackle with complexity—with genuine psychology—and a walk through their minds feels as risky and exhilarating as crossing a minefield. (I would here like to coin the term "mind-field.") This phenomenal interior novel defibrillates the ailing body of the psychological thriller genre. I’m delighted to invite readers into the world of The Silent Patient. Just don’t get too comfortable.

Thriller
No One Can Know
A Talent for Murder
Listen for the Lie
Kill for Me, Kill for You
Daughter of Mine
The Fury
Only If You’re Lucky
When I’m Dead
The Soulmate
The Other Mothers
What Lies in the Woods
She Started It
People Like Her
Dark Corners
Blacktop Wasteland
All the Dangerous Things
The Only Survivors
The Hunting Party
Things We Do in the Dark
The Golden Couple
The Collective
Gone Tonight
Too Good to Be True
The Last Word
You Are Not Alone
Rock Paper Scissors
Cross Her Heart
A Flicker in the Dark
Reckless Girls
The Wife Upstairs
The Last Thing He Told Me
The Maidens
Everything We Didn't Say
Invisible Girl
The Paris Apartment
The Guest List
What She Knew
The Dark Lake
The Wife Between Us
The Perfect Mother
None of This Is True
Sweet Little Lies
The Silent Patient
The Winter Sister
The Family Remains
Before She Knew Him
Daisy Darker
The Other Woman
Necessary People
The Family Upstairs
The Wives
Truth Be Told
The Night Swim
The Girl in the Mirror
Pretty Little Wife
Goodnight Beautiful
The Writing Retreat
Just Another Missing Person
First Born
Thriller
View all
No One Can Know
A Talent for Murder
Listen for the Lie
Kill for Me, Kill for You
Daughter of Mine
The Fury
Only If You’re Lucky
When I’m Dead
The Soulmate
The Other Mothers
What Lies in the Woods
She Started It
People Like Her
Dark Corners
Blacktop Wasteland
All the Dangerous Things
The Only Survivors
The Hunting Party
Things We Do in the Dark
The Golden Couple
The Collective
Gone Tonight
Too Good to Be True
The Last Word
You Are Not Alone
Rock Paper Scissors
Cross Her Heart
A Flicker in the Dark
Reckless Girls
The Wife Upstairs
The Last Thing He Told Me
The Maidens
Everything We Didn't Say
Invisible Girl
The Paris Apartment
The Guest List
What She Knew
The Dark Lake
The Wife Between Us
The Perfect Mother
None of This Is True
Sweet Little Lies
The Silent Patient
The Winter Sister
The Family Remains
Before She Knew Him
Daisy Darker
The Other Woman
Necessary People
The Family Upstairs
The Wives
Truth Be Told
The Night Swim
The Girl in the Mirror
Pretty Little Wife
Goodnight Beautiful
The Writing Retreat
Just Another Missing Person
First Born