The Silent Patient
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?
Alicia Berenson shoots her husband one evening. Five shots. A swift and brutal conclusion to his life. They were a loving couple. Caring, attentive, happy. Gabriel, a brilliant, sought-after fashion photographer, doted on her. Alicia, a successful yet troubled artist, adored him. Or so it seemed before she took a gun – his gun – and killed him. The murder wasn’t expected or premeditated. It was sudden, over within seconds. In the aftermath, family and friends only confirm the obvious: they were the dream couple, no one noticed any signs preluding the tragedy, no one ever saw a subtext to Alicia’s behaviour, a savage intent simmering inside her bright facade. They had the perfect life. Then it was over.
Following the murder, Alicia refuses to speak. Not one word crosses her lips. There are no tell-tale signs of remorse or grief or even anger. Nothing. She is a blank space, a void, as if all the words have been emptied out of her. For the trial and her eventual transfer to The Grove, a secure psychiatric unit, she remains empty. And for the six years that follow, an unbroken silence unspools.
Theo Faber, a psychotherapist from Surrey, believes he can peel back the darkness and dig up answers. The truth behind the murder. He faces a challenge alike no other. The press and public have dogged all facets of Alicia’s case for years. So many have tried to ‘cure’ her, help her, this femme fatale, entombed in her own silence but none have succeeded. This is where Theo is determined to prevail. He will draw her out, free her. His past, something he has battled with constantly, will give him a standing others don’t possess. But determination falls and slips into obsession. And truths far deadlier than predicted rise through the silence.
I’ve heard so much praise for The Silent Patient on social media. I was very lucky to receive an early proof and I’ve had to hold myself back from delving into it too early. When I finally allowed myself to start reading, I was far beyond the point of excitement. This is a shocking, unique and utterly gripping book. Once I started, nothing could have deterred me from reading. I was wholly captivated.
This is a book that examines the deep malignant corners of obsession and the true breadth of the damage it can cause. It is a character study that shines a light on two very different people, their troubles and torments, all the while being very compulsive and addictive. It touches on some heavy themes but they are handled so well. The writing is sharp and distinct, snatching the reader up in a truly unforgettable story. I loved it!! This should be on everyone’s reading list!
Chilling. Shocking. Phenomenal.
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About The Author
Alex Michaelides read English at Cambridge University and screenwriting at the American Film Institute. He wrote the film Devil You Know starring Rosamund Pike, and co-wrote The Con is On. His debut novel, The Silent Patient, is also being developed into a major motion picture, and has been sold in thirty-nine territories worldwide. Born in Cyprus to a Greek-Cypriot father and English mother, Michaelides now lives in London, England.
With thanks to Poppy Stimpson and Orion! I received a free proof courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.