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  • Writer's pictureDonna

Start with a murder, add commitment to a mental institution and what do you have? The Silent Patient

A wife murders her husband, is arrested and sent to a mental institution where she doesn't say a word until years later when a therapist slowly discovers what truly happened.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides book cover

The Silent Patient, Alex Michaelides

Genre: General Fiction, Mystery

Published 2019, 323 pages

Donna's Thoughts

“Somewhere, in the back of my mind, was a vague feeling of familiarity, a nagging sense of déjà vu I couldn’t quite place. Perhaps it was simply a recollection of childhood stories, fairy tales, and magical trees being gateways to other worlds.”
“In order to be a good therapist, you must be receptive to your patients’ feelings – but you must not hold on to them – they are not yours – they do not belong to you.”

This book has quite a few twists and turns, each more surprising than the next. Not only is there murder, but also parental abuse, suicide, cheating spouses, and a lot of deceit. There’s really not a character in this book that can be considered a “good” person, whether it’s Alicia who killed her husband or Theo her psychotherapist.

“Of course, it takes time to build trust. My old therapist used to say intimacy requires the repeated experience of being responded to – and that doesn’t happen overnight. "

Theo slowly gets Alicia to trust him by talking to her and at times simply quietly being with her. He also researches her life and talks to family and friends which he is told point-blank not to do. Unconventional, definitely. There were several times where I thought, “I didn’t see that coming.” A dark story told well. People who like reading about the dark side of life and like a plot that keeps them guessing would certainly like this book.

Terrie's Thoughts

This book wasn't officially a Buddy Read; we just both happened to read it. I had noticed a lot of pics showing up on IG and Goodreads reviews were raving, so I had to see what the fuss was about.

I devoured this book because I just had to see what was next. I liked the way the story started a little slowly, introducing the characters and setting up the situation. But the story moved like a train, slow starting but gathering speed until everything goes off the rails! As every other review says, the twists and turns in the last quarter of the book are stellar and make any other quibble with the story irrelevant.

Really a well written thriller in kind of a quiet way....though Alicia kills her husband and that does run through the story, it's not graphically described or talked about over and over until it's boring.....the mystery and thrill is more emotional. Try it, you'll like it.

Do you like a good thriller? Do you enjoy being kept wondering or do you prefer a more direct plot? What's a good thriller you've read lately?

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