Review by Mary Kat
- Rating: 😻😻😻😻😻 /5
- Recommend for: Lovers of thrillers, mysteries, and psychological dramas, must-read!
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides rocked my world, to put it simply. It was so fun and thrilling that I could not put it down. Of course, that’s a cliché, but what else is there to say? Sometimes a book is so fun that it has me speaking in clichés. I read this book in a day because I was so smitten with the story and desperate to find out the conclusion. And when I found out the conclusion, my jaw dropped. (Well, if I’m already speaking in clichés, why not just embrace it, eh?) Page-turning, jaw-dropping, addictive, and unputdownable!
The premise is that a psychologist is intensely curious about the motivations behind a highly publicized murder. So curious that he takes a job at her psychiatric hospital and attempts to treat her. According to the tabloids, the patient killed her husband and has not spoken a word since.
SPOILERS AHEAD! CONTINUE AT YOUR OWN RISK.
All The Best
First, I’ll start at the end. The conclusion had me wrecked. The time switch – when we suddenly realize we’ve been experiencing some of the past all along – was perfectly done. This quote is when I was shocked and stunned. This realization, which I did not see coming at all, is why I’ve been recommending this to all my friends who love thrillers.
“I reached into my back pocket and took out the black balaclava I’d bought. I pulled it over my head. I put on a pair of gloves.”The Silent Patient
Second, the psychiatry and psychology. Most of the book takes place in a psychiatric hospital, and the narrator Theo is a chatterbox about his psychological reads. Which is fun for two reasons. One, I love a chance to play armchair psychiatrist, so this feeds into my guiltiest pleasures. Two, for a guy who talks about transference and countertransference so much, Theo has no insight. As in, he has no understanding of the pathology he carries and the damage he brings in his relationships. Which makes for a very interesting read because….
Of the twisty and turny characters. By the end, when we suddenly realize Theo’s a narcissist playing games with other people’s lives, it adds a whole new layer to the book. Our narrator, who presented himself as an educated observer acutely mindful of his biases, was an unreliable villain all along. This 180° made me want to turn back to page 1 for a re-read right after the last page.
Finally, of course, the literary climax! The conclusion is so fitting and snugly perfect with Euripides’ Alcestis, the Greek tragedy referenced throughout the novel. When I finish a particularly complex crossword, I feel a deep sense of satisfaction at everything coming together just-so. The perfect finish with Alcestis gave me that same satisfaction.
Must-read for fans of thrillers, mysteries, psychological drama, and twisty-turny books! Page-turning and jaw-dropping, I’m expecting this to be among my favorites of the year.