Sunday, December 15, 2019

The Silent Patient, by Alex Michaelides

The Silent Patient, by Alex Michaelides

A silent patient and a determined psychotherapist who will try his best to make her speak.

This was what I thought the book would be about when I first read the blurb. It sounded like a book about lengthy psychological talks and a lot of hospital scenes and technical terms. All in all not a very good first impression. It didn’t sound like the first book you’d pick up or something that would catch your attention. Yet when I read the blurb something about it caught my attention. It could have been the quote at the top or the fact that I wanted to know what the patient was hiding. Whatever the reason was, I decided to give the book a shot.

The prologue intrigues you with a diary entry trailing off mysteriously; but what actually makes you read the whole book is the mysterious murder that comes BANG at the start of the first chapter. Now the thing about the murder that holds your attention are the strange details about it.

Alicia Benson shot her husband six times and then tried to kill herself. An open and shut case had it not been for the fact that Alicia NEVER spoke again.

Six years later enter Theo Faber, a psychotherapist with an almost obsessive interest in Alicia’s case. Believing there was more to it than it seemed, he had a very strong desire to make her speak. What was more, was that he was convinced that he was the only one capable of doing so. Theo’s many sessions with Alicia end in frustration. Yet Theo always retains a small glimmer of hope. He peels back layer after layer, tracks down distant family and friends, and solves the minutest of details and clues in his quest. Long forgotten secrets interlock forming a dense web of lies, deceit and revenge.

Reading this book was like travelling in a train, slow at first but picking up speed along the way. It goes from being calm and slightly mysterious at the start, to a book with suspense chasing each page. Thrill and nervousness remain in your stomach in each turn of the page. Huge plot twists keep you in your seat till the end. And unlike books that fall flat in the end, this book has an amazing end that will leave you staring at the page with your mouth wide open.

Almost as good as the plot was the character developments. One of the best parts about the characters was that none of them were perfect. The author made them human who were capable of making mistakes and each  of the characters had a dark secret. My favourite character was Alicia, as despite being silent she managed to retain the air of mystery and conveyed messages with her eyes.
The book is told from Theo’s point of view with diary entries from Alicia scattered through the book. In this way you get to see different sides of the story.

Gripping and suspenseful this psychological thriller is a book that you’re not going to forget easily.

© 2019, Anika Agarwal. All rights reserved.

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