Mystery / Suspense

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Proof that I still enjoy a real paper copy of a book once in a while.

I read The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides as part of a postal book club I participate in through the book website Litsy (which is my home away from home, honestly). I share books with members all across Canada. We read them on our own, make notes in the margins, and send them through the mail.  This is not one that I normally would have picked but I’m glad I read it!  I had heard about it of course – it’s getting quite a bit of buzz and I believe they are turning it into a movie.  Considering that it is this author’s first book, big kudos to him.  While I think there were elements that could have been improved upon, I am looking forward to seeing what else Michealides puts out.

In The Silent Patient, psychotherapist Theo actively seeks out a job at The Grove, a mental hospital that houses an infamous patient named Alicia.  Alicia was convicted of killing her husband in a brutally violent way.  She was found standing over the body with the murder weapon and blood all over her.  Since that night, she has remained silent. She never spoke – not once during her trial, and not once in the years following when she was placed in The Grove. Theo finds himself fascinated with her case and is determined to get through to her. He is determined to help her speak.  

What follows is an intriguing mystery wherein Theo, who is admittedly more involved than he should be, seeks the truth of what happened that night.  The reader is swept alongside him into Alicia’s shattered world.  Did she actually murder her husband? If so, than why? And why won’t she speak? Is she really the victim here? Is Theo taking his investigation too far?

The story of Alicia and Theo is a fascinating one, to be sure. Although there were some parts that I did find a bit slow, Michaelides did do a good job of building suspense and taking readers to a place they never thought they would go.  I will admit that I figured out the key to the mystery about half way through – but it was still fun to read on and discover that I was right – and then to realize that I was only half right was even better.  If you do read this book, don’t spoil it by peeking at the ending, or telling others how it ends.  Let people discover it on their own – at least until the movie comes out and makes it more difficult to keep spoiler free.  It’s a fun read, but only if you allow the mystery to unfold as you turn the pages.



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