I’ve been excited for this book since I first heard about it. The title, the characters and of course, the cover. It’s not released until February next year but I just couldn’t wait to post a review. Of course, with it being a proof and still a few months to go for publication, I won’t be revealing any spoilers, just my overall view.
So, what’s it actually about? Here’s the blurb:
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?
As I’ve already said, this is a book that’s been talked about a lot, it’s hyped a lot with endorsements from the likes of A J Finn, Lee Child, Stephen Fry and many more. It’s already been sold in thirty territories and the film rights have been optioned by Annapurna Pictures and Plan B Entertainment (from the makers of 12 Years A Slave, Moonlight and The Big Short). So, without it being published, there’s already a massive noise for this book, and for good reason too.
When I first had the book, I wasn’t sure what to expect. And with it being a psychological thriller, I think that’s a good thing. It keeps you on your toes, keeps you guessing. The plot is original, cleverly plotted and rich of colour, tension and suspense. It centres around Alicia Berenson who lives the perfect life with the perfect house, the perfect job as a painter and even her perfect husband, everything is perfect. But then when he comes home late from work, she shoots him five times. And then? Well, Alicia doesn’t say another word. We then meet Theo Faber, our main character who is a forensic psychotherapist who, like everyone else, has been obsessed with the Alicia case and he feels he is the only person to find out the truth about what happened and to make Alicia speak again. For me, I found that this is typical tropes in these sort of thrillers – Gone Girl, The Girl On The Train, but Alex Michaelides has given them his own original slant. You think you know what’s going to happen but then he turns it upside down and makes you think again.
For me, the strongest part of this book is Michaelides’ writing. This is his debut novel and it’s beautifully written. His writing flows and you really do get lost in this world. His use of short sentences builds up the tension brilliantly and there is a strong and heavy dark atmosphere that unsettles the entire book. Michaelides is a brilliant writer when it comes to characters. Every character is flawed and layered – he’s got the roots of the characters down and he knows them inside out. I really enjoyed reading the book in the first-person narrative which makes it even more unsettling and also more personal as we follow Theo as he tries to find out the truth. Alicia is my favourite character in this book, everything about her is just brilliant. Even though she doesn’t speak, she’s a force to be reckoned with. We also get a glimpse of Alicia through her diary that gives another perspective and layer to the whole story.
For me, when it comes to thrillers, I love short chapters. Anything too long, it drags and the tension drops. Luckily, that didn’t happen in this book. With Michaelides’ wonderful writing, it’s the epitome of a page-turner. I was so invested in the end that I just couldn’t stop turning page after page. I also found this book incredibly cinematic and visual in it’s writing so I can’t wait to see it on the big screen.
There is a lot of buzz around this book and now I see why. It’s bizarre to think this is Alex Michaelides’ debut novel. His writing is atmospheric, unsettling and brilliant. There’s a massive twist which I did see coming but that didn’t ruin anything for me, I found it even more satisfying. Michaelides gives a new dimension to the thriller world and Alicia might be silent, but this book isn’t and won’t be when it comes out next February.
If you’re a thriller fan, this will be the book for you. A strong, unsettling and brilliant book that will keep you up all night turning page after page…
Are you excited for The Silent Patient? I’m sure I’ll be shouting from the rooftops when it comes out in February. What’s your favourite thriller? Let me know in the comments! Also, a big thank you to Poppy at Orion for my copy!
The Silent Patient is published on 7th February 2019 and published by Orion.