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The Silent Patient: Book summary and reviews of The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

The Silent Patient

by Alex Michaelides

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides X
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2019
    336 pages
    Genre: Mysteries

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About this book

Book Summary

Promising to be the debut novel of the season The Silent Patient is a shocking psychological thriller of a woman's act of violence against her husband - and of the therapist obsessed with uncovering her motive.

Alicia Berenson's life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London's most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia's refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations - a search for the truth that threatens to consume him...

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Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Superb... This edgy, intricately plotted psychological thriller establishes Michaelides as a major player in the field." - Publisher's Weekly

"Unputdownable, emotionally chilling, and intense, with a twist that will make even the most seasoned suspense reader break out in a cold sweat." - Booklist

"Dark, edgy, and compulsively readable." - Library Journal

"Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away." - Kirkus

"The Silent Patient sneaks up on you like a slash of intimidating shadow on a badly lit street. Alex Michaelides has crafted a totally original, spellbinding psychological mystery so quirky, so unique that it should have its own genre. I read it in two nights and savored every luscious word, every grim encounter, every startling twist. The pages will burn with the friction from your hands turning them." - David Baldacci

"Smart, sophisticated storytelling freighted with real suspense―a very fine novel by any standard." - Lee Child

"One of the most spellbinding psychological thrillers we've read in years. Beautifully written, exquisitely plotted, the story relentlessly pulls you in and doesn't let you go until the last shocking (and yet brutally logical) twist. This is an absolutely fantastic and extraordinary read." - Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, #1 New York Times bestselling authors of the Pendergast series

"Alex Michaelides has written one of the best psychological thrillers I have ever read. The Silent Patient is a swarming, paranoid nightmare of a novel with an ending that is destined to go down as one of the most shocking, mind-blowing twists in recent memory." - Blake Crouch, New York Times bestselling author of Dark Matter

"This is a wonderful new voice. Listen to it. It's about to tell you a thrilling and scary story. The Silent Patient paints a picture, crawling into your soul in the very best way. Take a chance." - Brad Meltzer, author of The Escape Artist

"That rarest of beasts: the perfect thriller. This extraordinary novel set my blood fizzing―I quite literally couldn't put it down. I told myself I'd just dip in; eleven hours later―it's now 5:47 a.m.―I've finished it, absolutely dazzled." - A. J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window

The information about The Silent Patient shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review

Christine Schaefer

Great Mystery
I'm not used to reading mysteries, but my local bookclub recommended this book. WOW. Lots of twists and turns through to the very end! I could barely put it down. read more mysteries!!!

Dorinne Dobson

Things Are Not Always As They Seem
The main characters in this psychodrama are flawed, some in obvious ways and others in less noticeable ways. Theo, the psychotherapist, is also Theo, the jealous husband. Alicia, the silent patient, is also Alicia, the famous artist, and also Alicia, the maligned daughter with an inferiority complex, as well as Alicia, the wronged wife, as well as Alicia, the convicted murderer. This is an edgy story that keeps you turning the pages, and the conclusion is an unexpected twist of the entire premise you may have built in your mind.


The Silent Patient speaks a lot!
Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist and he is interested in Alice’s story who has murdered her husband. He is determined to get to the details behind the crime. Even though the patient (Alice) is silent throughout the narrative, the story progresses to spotlight her complex characteristics.

“Unexpressed emotions never die.
They are buried alive, and will come forth later, in uglier ways”

BEST Psychological Thriller I have read in a long time!
My opinion -
Very well researched topic and the quotes at the start of every part of the book make sense at the end.
Every scenario described feels so realistic and I was amazed how much engrossed I was in this book.
Nice pace and a very easy to understand and read kind of language used
The plot has a nice edginess and it wants you to keep turning pages to figure out what happens next!
I was amazed at the flawless development of the characters, outstanding buildup and curiosity maintained and in fact increasing as pages turned!
The final twist is the unique climax and no matter how much aware you are of the story, you’ll still not be able to predict it and I was mind blown by that sole fact
The chapters are well divided and the engrossing fast-paced read makes it a page turner for sure!
I enjoyed this wonderful psychological drama ride and cannot believe it is debut novel by Alex. Kudos!!

Conclusion -
It is definitely a clever and intriguing story with a mind-blowing twist to enjoy! The Silent Patient SPEAKS a lot -- It is for sure one of my favorite reads of 2019!

Vivian H

Great First Novel
The Silent Patient is a solid first effort in the crowded arena of the psychological thriller genre. It was difficult to put down, nicely paced, with some interesting twists & turns. I did figure out the ultimate mystery before the big reveal. But, that didn’t change my thought about the book.

Sandi W.

Where does the transference start and stop?
4.5 stars

Ewww! I feel like an idiot! I did not follow the clues at all! I was gobsmacked when the plot twist happened. This was a good book! I look forward to reading more by Michaelides. This book is worthy of a seasoned author, and being Michaelides' debut novel only has me hoping that he is well into his next book.

Criminal psychotherapist Theo Faber is treating Alicia Berenson. She has shot her husband, then has gone silent and has been placed at the Grove, a secured inpatient psychiatric center. Theo is trying to track down why she shot her husband when it seems they had a great life. Alicia is a painter, her husband Gabriel is a fashion photographer.

In the interim Theo and his wife Kathy begin to have marital problems. How much of his own trauma is rubbing off in his treatment of Alicia? Or is the treatment of Alicia worming its way into Theo's life? Where does the transference start and stop?

This is an exceptionally good debut novel. One you should not miss.


Dynamite Read!
The Silent Patient engages the reader from the very beginning to the fantastic ending!

Raised in privilege, Alicia Berenson has continued to live in privilege in adulthood. Living in London with her somewhat older well-known photographer husband, she is a talented and famous painter. But Alicia's life has not been happy, either in childhood or adulthood. Late one night, a neighbor calls the police after hearing gunshots at Alicia's home. When the police arrive, the find Alicia's husband bound to a chair, dead with five gunshot wounds to his face, and Alicia standing in the shadows bleeding from lacerations to her wrists and with a gun that has only her fingerprints on it. She is unable to or refuses to speak. A trial ensues with Alicia continuing to remain silent. A plea of diminished responsibility is entered and Alicia is found guilty and placed in a mental hospital, the Grove. Six years later, Alicia remains at the Grove, still silent Theo Faber, a forensic psychotherapist, has also had a brutal childhood and believes he can help Alicia. When a position opens at the Grove, he joins the staff with the sole intent of bringing her out of silence and learning the whys of the murder.

Not having read mysteries or psychological thrillers in the past, I wasn't sure what to expect when I began reading this ARC provided via BookishFirst. Mr. Michaelides' writing is clear and concise and yet very descriptive. I easily pictured the locales of the narrative in my mind's eye and the character's were fully drawn. The story did seem to plod mildly at a few points, but not to the point of boredom. The conclusion of the book; OMG is too mild! The author rolls all elements into a tight, neat ball and then blows it up with dynamite. I daresay that this ending will be one of the biggest surprises of the 2019 publishing year.

The Silent Patient is a great read if you are a mystery or psychological thriller fan and it is a great read if you are not.

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Author Information

Alex Michaelides

Alex Michaelides was born in Cyprus in 1977 to a Greek-Cypriot father and an English mother. He studied English literature at Cambridge University and got his MA in screenwriting at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. The Silent Patient is his first novel.

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