Alicia Berenson has it all. She is an attractive woman who has a successful art career. Her husband, Gabriel, is an attractive fashion photographer. But their life isn’t as perfect as outside appearances would have people believe.
One night, Alicia Berenson ties up her husband and shoots him in the face five times, killing him. She is arrested, but she stops talking. For years, she doesn’t talk–not to the police detectives nor at her own trial. She is sent to a mental health facility, The Grove, and she continues her silence, not even speaking to the psychiatrists or the psychologists at the mental health facility where she resides.
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That is the main premise of the The Silent Patient, a dark, psychological suspense story, by Alex Michaelides.
About The Silent Patient
Theo Faber, a successful criminal psychotherapist with his own dark past, is obsessed with Alicia and her case, so much so that when he sees an opening at the facility where she resides, he immediately applies and quits his current job as soon as he’s offered the job at The Grove.
Immediately, he begins crossing patient/therapist boundaries. He feels attracted to Alicia and feels the need to protect her and help her because he feels no one else is capable of this.
Because Alicia won’t talk, he begins to go to the houses of the people who knew her best to learn what he can about her. He talks to her cousin, her angry aunt, her brother-in-law, her good friend who also ran the art gallery where her work was frequently displayed, and even her alcoholic neighbor.
He gets a disjointed story and is unable to put the pieces together until one day when Alicia, still silent, hands him her journal. He reads through the small book and sees that right before the murder, she was deteriorating mentally and was paranoid, afraid that there was a man repeatedly lurking outside her house.
Theo does further investigating after reading the diary and finds the clue to why Alicia did what she did. When he confronts her, she begins to speak. . .
My Thoughts on The Silent Patient
I can’t tell you enough how much I loved this book! The writing is very good and includes some power packed quotes such as this one, “About love. About how we often mistake love for fireworks–for drama and dysfunction. But real love is very quiet, very still. It’s boring, if seen from the perspective of high drama. Love is deep and calm–and constant.”
I read it compulsively, first to find out why Alicia killed her husband and second, because I knew there had to be some twist, and there was! This is one of the best surprise books I have read. If you’re looking for a psychological suspense thriller, I highly recommend this one. If you’re interested in psychology, this also would be the perfect read for you!
5 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.