- Phyllis H. Moore
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
2019, Celadon Books, Division of Macmillan Publishers
The Silent Patient is an appropriate title for this suspense novel. There has been a murder. We know that from the first sentence in chapter one. Alicia Berenson has murdered her husband, Gabriel. What we don’t know initially is who is telling this story. Someone is talking to the reader about Alcestis and a painting done by Alicia Berenson, but what does that have to do with anything?
Finally, we discover the person filling us in on the crime, Alicia’s trial, and her hospitalization at the Grove is a “uniquely qualified psychotherapist used to working with the most damaged, vulnerable members of society.” Six years after the murder, Theo Faber secures a position at the Grove. He admits he was drawn to psychotherapy because he was f@*ked up.
So, it’s no wonder that Theo also has a troubled history of marriage. Although he believes he is the most qualified to work with a murderer, Alicia maintains her silence throughout the therapy. The story shifts back and forth between Alicia’s crime and diary and Theo’s troubled marriage. No one is who they seem to be: Alicia’s relatives, the staff at the Grove, Alicia’s long-time friend and owner of the Gallery showing her work. Every person is suspiciously tied to the murderer, but why. The reader knows they’re being led and fooled, but by whom.
I had suspicions but none of them matched the real story. If you like suspense, this story will captivate you until the very end. Who will outwit the rest?