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30 reviews157 followers
February 27, 2019
This book starts off really strong with a great premise - intriguing and mysterious right away - the writing is even pretty strong in the beginning, but somewhere along the way it all seemed to fall apart for me. I felt like the author was so determined to deliver the big ‘twist’ that he lost sight of the actual plot. It just gets so convoluted and meandering, and I couldn’t really follow what actually happened, from what was meant to be the lies and fantasy of some characters. The author also spends an awful lot of the book having the main character, Theo, ‘investigate’ Alicia’s family members - the cousin, the aunt, the brother in law, her gallery manager - and each of them is made to seem weird, untrustworthy and in some cases outright creepy - but all of it ends up just feeling like a cheap trick, because nothing comes of any of them. Like, for example, the plot about the brother in law assaulting her, or the cousin borrowing money, - none of those things are resolved and it just feels like a lazy way for the author to point our suspicions in the wrong direction while leaving frustrating loose ends everywhere. I mean, you can make any character seem suspicious and create false suspense very easily if you have no obligation to deliver any resolutions.

In the author’s single quest to deliver the big ‘twist’ he also left big holes in the plot and expected us to overlook implausible things... like, one small but obvious thing - at the start of the book Theo’s belongings are searched by ‘security’ before entering the hospital and he is specifically told he can’t have any lighters for “obvious reasons” - can’t have any of the psychiatric patients getting their hands on a way to start fires - (now the author didn’t need to mention this in the story - he could have lost this scene and not drawn attention to the fact that Theo was not allowed to bring in a lighter - not sure why it was even a point??) but then through out the book the characters smoke cigars and cigarettes in the hospital ... how do they light them?? They all carry matches I assume? Are matches any less likely to start a fire??! There were SO MANY eye-rolling moments through out the book like that one, and far worse. So many times we, as readers, were expected to buy into implausible actions by characters (like Alicia’s cousin beating Theo over the head with a baseball bat and knocking him out because he thought he was an intruder (in his yard - not even his house!), and then not to mention Theo feeling fine and not needing any medical attention??) or just overlook unbelievable scenarios - like Theo following his wife’s lover for miles and never once actually seeing his face?? When the police investigate the scene of Alicia’s husband’s death, how do they not find the rope and wire that was used to tie up Alicia? And Who has enough rope and wire just lying around in their house to tie up two adults anyway?! And another doozy - Theo injects Alicia with enough morphine to put her in a coma for the rest of her life, but she has time to find a pen and diary and write a very lucid, long entry explaining Theo’s role in everything?! Besides the fact that she would be completely out of it and totally incapable of writing, even if she could, why wouldn’t she, I don’t know, go get help because you’ve just been injected with a lethal dose of morphine, instead of writing a short story??! And then with a lethal amount of morphine coursing through her blood stream she takes the time to hide her diary in a picture frame?! Seriously?! It’s almost funny.

And what about Alicia’s silence?? The mystery at the heart of the book - in the very title itself. The big reveal, the big answer shrouded in suspense and mystery .... the reason she didn’t talk was because she felt she had nothing to say??? Because she felt like she was dead too?? Wait... what? Seriously? She’s been accused of murdering her husband, while the man who stalks her, breaks in to her home, ties her up and threatens to kill her later shows up as her therapist, while she allows her other therapist to continue drugging her with “horse dosage” amounts of sedatives - but oh well, silence for years and years because she felt dead and had nothing to say?? And she stays silent mind you, while she still manages to hide her diary?!? We can only assume she goes to extreme measures to keep the police from ever finding it? Even though they walk in right after the murder while she’s still holding the smoking gun - I guess they gave her time to gather her things and somehow hide a diary down her pants while she was brought to prison?? Not to mention how no one found it when she was transferred to the mental hospital?! Why go to so much trouble to hide a diary if you feel like you’re dead and you have nothing to say!?

Giant eye roll.

I’m sorry - this book just asks too much of the reader - this ‘twist’ has been done many times before and it only works (and still very poorly) if you overlook all the giant plot holes and ridiculous scenarios.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,440 reviews78.1k followers
December 10, 2019
CONGRATULATIONS-Goodreads Choice Awards Mystery & Thriller Winner!

I feel like I should preface my review by stating that I have read A LOT of psychological thrillers, and coupling that with the fact that this was my most anticipated read of 2019 gave The Silent Patient a great deal of pressure. This will still be an overall positive review, but I felt I had to include some honest thoughts here as well for those readers who may need their expectations in line like I clearly did.

The premise here is simply incredible; we have a woman named Alicia Berenson who is accused of murdering her husband and proceeds to clam up and keep quiet for the following six years, living during this time in a mental care facility called The Grove for highly dangerous folks. Enter Theo Faber, psychotherapist extraordinaire and flawed individual. He already has a respectable job elsewhere, but decides to transfer over to The Grove, even though it is a sinking ship, because he is obsessed with Alicia and solving the mystery behind why she murdered her husband. Along the way, we get snippets into Alicia's diary leading up to the murder, alongside of Theo's POV.

I can't really give you anything more than this, because this is a novel that depends on you being fooled by the twist. You know, the big twist, the one where every blurb on the cover and every early review gives you a heads up, and perhaps that was part of the issue here for me. It seems these types of books that pull the wool over your eyes and take you by surprise are best enjoyed before anyone else has had a chance to read them. Let's come back around to the fact that I've been reading mysteries, thrillers, and suspense novels for decades, way before Gone Girl was written and these domestic dramas with tricky slight-of-hand became all the rage. If you are new-ish to the psych thriller scene, and you whole heartedly enjoyed recent novels such as The Woman In The Window, you will adore this. It was a well written, compulsive, slow burning build up to an explosive ending. Structurally, it had everything you could ask for, as it was well researched, engaging, and the perfect length of "includes what we need without being overly winded".

Unfortunately, I've seen this particular twist done numerous times, so I was clued in fairly early to what the big twist would be, and without spoiling or giving anything away, the lay out of the narrative in the second half of the novel is what fully clued me in, because it was too neat and tidy to end any other way. I will say that I was so satisfied and pleased with the way the author chose to close out the final chapter, and regardless of being surprised by the twist or not, it was a classic wrap up that will stand the test of time over the years.

I think I'm going to wrap it up here, and please don't let my 3 star rating dissuade you from giving this one a try. Michaelides is talented, and his writing is gripping and keeps you turning the pages regardless of the big twist. I would be honored to read his next novel and will most certainly look for his name in the future. In the meantime I have found so much in this novel worth discussing, from the portrayal of mental health care to the inner workings of various marriages, and think this will make a great winter book club choice for readers around the globe.

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy via NetGalley.
Profile Image for Carol.
325 reviews863 followers
February 3, 2020
Read anything else on your TBR first. Anything. Better yet, delete The Silent Patient from your TBR. If you do, you'll never know what it feels like to become aware that you could have spent that 4 - 5 hours reading a great book ... or at least a better book.... definitely a book that doesn't do a major disservice to anyone who practices in the mental health field or who lives with a mental health impairment, and maybe even a book that doesn't present misogyny on every page.

The Silent Patient fails as a psychological thriller on all fronts. Its narrator lacks any credibility as a psychotherapist, as an employee, as a spouse, as a man. All characters are flat and inauthentic. The plot doesn't hang together. The solution telegraphs itself long before the ending, and still makes no sense. Michaelides wastes time on sub-plots that are irrelevant, introduces red herring characters with no subtlety so the reader is merely annoyed. Offers us a lawyer who is instantly available more than once to meet with someone he seeks not to meet., and a therapist who sees a former (long..... former, like .... years) patient at her home at 10 pm, and then risks malpractice by offering advice to him. And the writing is pedestrian, at best.

Aside from its flaws as a psychological thriller, Michaelides demonstrates that he knows nothing about mental health diagnoses, treatments and indicated medications, but the biases he displays in this novel contribute to a culture of misinformation that may discourage a reader who needs treatment for therapy from getting it, and may discourage other readers from complying with a treatment plan that includes prescription medications in amounts that data shows have therapeutic benefits. The girlfriend, then wife, of the narrator, describes herself as "crazy" a dozen or so times, and yet this is not relevant to any sort of mental health diagnosis over the span of the novel. In a span of ten pages, he describes a character as being in "a medicated haze", but the med he names wouldn't cause that effect at any dosage. One psychotherapist meets with a patient 2 - 3 times and instead of evidencing any interest in the health of the patient, he primarily focuses on how her behavior might be disturbing her spouse. Another psychotherapist agrees to change a patient's prescription med mix on a whim, and overnight, without any plan for a gradual step-down or other concern for patient impact. A third character presses unidentified meds into a patient's hand and requires that she consume them in his/her presence. None of the medical professionals, save the one risking malpractice, demonstrate competency or concern for the welfare of their patients.

All of the male characters running this facility repeatedly refer to all of the female patients as "bitch;" all of the patients in the facility are women. Every female character displays unpleasant behaviors that range in consequence from minor to severe: unfaithful, gossip-y, violent, vengeful, insecure, impulsive, annoying, tiresome, disloyal.

I've written a review of this horrid novel only because I might spare a friend or two. Every time someone deletes this book from his or her TBR without reading it, an angel gets his wings.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,964 reviews294k followers
April 27, 2019
As you will see, it’s an incredible story—of that there is no doubt.
Whether you believe it or not is up to you.

Ohhhh, I see why this book is getting so much buzz: it is virtually unputdownable.

I didn't actually have any plans to read The Silent Patient. I just happened to see it hanging around in the new releases, took a quick peek, and thought-- why not? Well, I'll tell you why not. You absolutely definitely should NOT read this book if you want to go to sleep and get up for real life stuff in the morning. I read this until my eyes were like "nope" and closed on their own.

It's very compelling. A psychotherapist called Theo Faber narrates the story and he announces early on that he's pretty "fucked up". He worms his way into a new job at the Grove mental health facility because of his fascination with the artist Alicia Berenson, who murdered her husband in an open-and-shut case and hasn't spoken a word since.
But let us not forget that while Alicia Berenson may be a murderer, she was also an artist.

Theo finds himself connecting with Alicia and feeling a desperate need to figure out why she did it. And, what's more, he wants to figure out why she is silent. What can't she say? What won't she say? The more he digs into her life, her family, and her past, the deeper in he gets.

It's a fast-paced ride with short punchy chapters (oh, how easy it is to think "just one more chapter"). The story has so many threads and little surprises to uncover. More questions arise at every turn. And even those who work out the main aspect of the mystery will probably still enjoy the journey of finding out why, and all the little shocking discoveries made along the way.

It is true that those who have read a number of twisty mysteries will likely guess the truth, but I think there's enough goodness here to make it enjoyable anyway. Or it was for me at least.

Full of thrills, artistic metaphor, twists and Greek tragedy.

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Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,538 reviews9,830 followers
May 20, 2023
She tied her husband to a chair and shot him multiple times. Then she slit her wrists and waited for the police to arrive.

At least, that's what THEY say she did. For her part, Alicia Berenson isn't SAYING anything.

When Theo Faber, Criminal Psychotherapist, takes a new job at The Grove, he is well aware of their most infamous patient, Alicia Berenson.

She's the woman caught red-handed after killing her husband, who has remained silent ever since.

In fact, Theo's primary goal is to work with Alicia. He yearns to get her to reveal what really happened on the night her husband was killed, as he questions the validity of the official story.

Through Theo's perspective, his investigation, and Alicia's own diary entries, the Reader is brought along on a hair-raising mystery that is not for the faint of heart.

I absolutely loved this book.

This is the type of Thriller that I really enjoy sinking my teeth into. The use of the diary entries, paired with Theo's investigations, made for a perfectly-paced reveal in my opinion!

Michaelides is definitely an author to watch. I cannot wait to see what he comes up with next.

Highly recommend!
Profile Image for Holly  B (Short break!).
815 reviews1,874 followers
January 18, 2019
Wow, I'm still reeling from that ending! A mindblowing, to-die for twist!

A fast read that kept me intrigued from beginning to end, although the shocker came at the end. Wait......wait......what just happened? This was how I felt as a read the last few chapters!

Alicia Berenson is such a mysterious, intriguing character and I was trying to figure her out the entire novel.  I kept asking myself, "What is up with Alicia?"She is a famous, talented painter and happily married to her husband, Gabriel. They live in London and have a cozy life.

Why would Alicia murder him and then never speak again? You want to know, right? Well, I did and couldn't stop reading until I found out. It is the feeling you have when you  just have to know why!!

The novel is narrated by Alicia's psychotherapist Theo Faber,  He is determined to " fix Alicia ".  I was so invested in learning what the circumstances of Alicia's silence was and had to find out if Theo could save her.  Would she ever speak again?  READ IT NOW to find out!

I wasn't going to read this one, and then requested it on NG and I'm really glad I did.  As you can tell, I really enjoyed it! Sure to be a 2019 FAVORITE !

Thanks to Celadon/ NG for my arc. Book is out in Feb 2019 Review posted to blog.
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,203 reviews40.8k followers
March 21, 2023
5 shining stars!
We finally have a winner. It’s really page-turner, meticulously developed, smartly written book. I liked the final twist and ending of the book. Did my spider sense catch it? In the middle I was suspicious something was wrong but it well played and fooled me once! Shame on me!
This is a successful debut novel with different writing technique. It may be sensed that the writer also works for big screen. Fast moving pace, twisty, edgy tricks, reminded me of “Gothika”, “AHS-Asylum”movies landed on Hitchcockian suspicious, dubious atmosphere! Mind games confuse the hell of you and surprises punching your face!
There is a character is quite deserved my biggest slap!!! But if I speak about the identity of character, it means I have to give spoiler about murderer’s identity! Great dilemma between revealing unlikable character and getting expelled from GR community because of my big mouth! So mouth zipped. Punches secretly clenched.

Just read it and get some pain killers for over usage of your brain cells😊
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Cindy.
407 reviews113k followers
January 11, 2020
The beginning hooked me in because I was intrigued to learn more about Alicia's story, how her husband was murdered, and why she chose to remain silent. However, the book ended up bordering as a cheesy murder mystery, with the main character acting like a white-knight detective who would question a bunch of cartoonish side characters that just outright admit their motivations or feelings about Alicia. The twist was interesting, but a bit shaky - I think it could have been built up in a more believable way.
Profile Image for Emily (Books with Emily Fox).
531 reviews58.6k followers
June 17, 2019
(2.5) This was a solid.... meh for me.

I was excited to pick up this psychological thriller because it has been getting some hype but it was a disappointment. Didn't care much for the characters, the twist was so obvious, the writing just okay. The only redeeming quality was the audiobook which made it possible for me to finish this book.

Unless you never read thrillers I don't think it's worth it.
Profile Image for NickReads.
461 reviews1,199 followers
August 8, 2020
I gotta stop rating books immediately after I read them and then lower the rating after I process them in detail in my mind and find tons of plot holes
Profile Image for lindsay.
7 reviews37 followers
February 6, 2019
I hated this book. The women are all tired, cliched stereotypes that often veer into misogyny. For example, Alicia’s aunt is described the first time you meet her as an ugly, old face pressed to a window, and it only gets worse after that because—of course—she’s fat. Her “grotesque” (a word actually used in the book) appearance is apparently a mirror of her evil personality. How creative! The author takes that approach over and over again: young, naturally beautiful women like Alicia and Theo’s wife are worthy of interest, while the female characters Theo can’t find attractive—because they’re ugly, old, large, fat, fake, stupid—are only worth his disdain.

Beyond that, the prose was tough to get through. And don’t even get me started on the diary sections, which portray Alicia as a woman who either sits in a coffee shop for hours on end, has sex with her husband, or paints him as Jesus (no, I’m not kidding). The chapters where she couldn’t speak were almost a relief.

Overall, the author just seemed more invested in getting to the the clever twist ending than in writing a full-bodied story with women who seem like, you know, actual people.

Which is a pity, because that clever twist ending had potential.
Profile Image for Yun.
513 reviews20k followers
March 29, 2022
The Silent Patient knocked my socks off and reaffirmed my love of modern murder mysteries.

Alicia shoots her beloved husband in the face five times, then never speaks another word. Theo, a psychotherapist, is captivated by Alicia's story and wants to help her. He thinks he can get her to speak again and divulge why she killed her husband. What follows is a search for truth in what really happened between Alicia and her husband.

What I love most about this book is that, at its heart, it's a confounding murder mystery. And like any great murder mystery, it has clues, suspicious persons, and red herrings. And when the big reveal happens, it is brilliant and shocking. Not only did I not see the twist coming, but I was so surprised I stared open-mouthed at my book and reread it multiple times to make sure my brain could comprehend the complete mind bend that I had just experienced.

I found this to be a quick read. Once I started, I couldn't put it down. The story grabbed me from the very beginning, and its taut pacing made me want to turn the pages as fast as I could. I ended up gulping the whole thing down in a day.

I've been feeling a little jaded lately and didn't expect much going in. Modern thriller/mysteries are always billed as astounding and surprising, when most of the time they just feel contrived and silly with no payoff at the end. But wow, does this book deliver! It's so darn satisfying when the big twist is done right, and I am left speechless.
Profile Image for David Putnam.
Author 16 books1,517 followers
May 19, 2020
Sorry, couldn't finish it. Gave it a hundred pages. The story and characters just didn't hold my attention. Not enough conflict soon enough. Also, the motivation for why the main character wanted to switch hospitals to handle the woman. It might be explained later in the book as a reveal but for me it weakened the structure. Too much of a slow burn for me. I guess I like a book that has a thriller structure or at least closer to one. For me I need conflict on every page that pulls the reader through the text.
Profile Image for Felicia.
254 reviews931 followers
November 29, 2018
Dear Alex Michaelides,
Brav-the-fuck-o dude 👏👏👏

"Her silence was like a mirror - reflecting yourself back at you.
And it was often an ugly sight."

And that, my friends, sums up this book perfectly.

Dark psychological suspense is my favorite genre and books like this one are exactly the reason why.

This book is the very definition of a page-turner. From the very first page I was seduced by the magnetic writing style of Alex Michaelides.

Nothing is as it seems in this novel. This story is complex and multi-layered with a labyrinth of characters, each playing their part in the development of the plot.

The author never once tries to lead you astray with erroneous clues in an attempt to distract you from an obvious conclusion. I never once felt like I had a grasp on how this story was going to play out, which kept me rapt until the last page.

The blurb on the back cover says that the book has already been optioned for a movie and I'd like to put forth my recommendations for casting:

Haley Bennett as Alicia
Oliver Jackson Cohen as Theo
(I expect a casting credit)

I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Lisa of Troy.
403 reviews3,540 followers
January 27, 2023
Alicia Berenson is notorious for an event that happened in the past, but since that horrific incident Alicia hasn't spoken a word. Theo Farber, a psychotherapist, has heard of Alicia over the years through the news and is delighted when a job opening becomes available that would allow him to work directly with Alicia. Will Theo get Alicia talking again? What actually happened all those years ago?

Yes, this book really is as good as all of the hype. The writing on this was really top rate. Michaelides knew perfectly how to create intrigue and how to use dialogue with varying short and long paragraphs and short and long chapters to create the perfect pacing for this work. It was incredibly page turning, and the author definitely showed his chops as a mystery writer. He could write a master class in mystery writing. And this is his debut novel! What will Michaelides go from here? Personally, I can hardly wait to find out.

Theo is gaining information about what happened in the past, but he is also questioning his own abilities. Can he really get Alicia talking? What are the professional boundaries of a psychotherapist? There was a little bit of internal monologue with Theo, but it wasn't boring or drawn out unnecessarily but raised some deep questions, causing the reader to think beyond just the superficial mystery/thriller. There was also some mention of art and its deeper meaning. It helped to create added depth to this book.

Overall, yes, yes, and yes! This book is phenomenal if you haven't read it already! Definitely worthy of a reread.

2023 Reading Schedule
Jan Alice in Wonderland
Feb Notes from a Small Island
Mar Cloud Atlas
Apr On the Road
May The Color Purple
Jun Bleak House
Jul Bridget Jones’s Diary
Aug Anna Karenina
Sep The Secret History
Oct Brave New World
Nov A Confederacy of Dunces
Dec The Count of Monte Cristo

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Profile Image for Claudia Lomelí.
Author 11 books75.3k followers
April 21, 2023
Creo que 3.5 estrellas, pero lo pensaré. Es que terminé el libro enojada, pero en general me entretuvo y no me esperaba nada de lo que pasó.

Ya saben que toca hablar más de este en el wrap up.
Profile Image for Dr. Appu Sasidharan (Dasfill).
1,145 reviews2,186 followers
June 5, 2021
(Throwback review) Isn't it strange that we immensely love and hate a book at the same time? Many of you might have had such an experience at least once in your lifetime. Well, this book was the one which gave me that feeling.

First of all, let me start with what I liked in this book. The writing style of the author is suited for writing a thriller like this. He succeeded in making me glued to the book even after the glaring innuendos that were disparaging to the core kept me exasperated. He worked out the plot twist well. This might be the reason why almost every friend of mine in Goodreads love this book. I must confess now itself that if I was not a Doctor and I didn't know how the healthcare system works, I would also have given this book four or five stars.

This is a book which won the best book in the thriller section in Goodreads award last year. If you are promoting a book as a psychological thriller, there are two things which the author should be careful about. One is to get the thriller aspect correct, which the author had succeeded, and the second is to get the Psychological aspect right, which is where the aberration lies here.

The author had unabashedly mentioned some things about Psychotherapy in which some are true in some rare cases while some have unfortunately gone entirely wrong. The author has no right to generalise about the health sector as a whole based on some scrupulous activities done by some individuals. You can't even see such a shady Psychiatric institution in any dystopian world. Mr Michaelides, who is a Cambridge product, had an excellent opportunity to produce one of the best thrillers. Unfortunately, he didn't do the adequate research in the psychological aspects needed for this book.

There are many mistakes regarding psychotherapy, treatment methods, various disorders, therapy sessions, medical ethics in this book. Initially, Theo, who happens to be a psychotherapist, is strangely saying that his father had a personality disorder which he is mentioning as an illness that went untreated for the duration of his life, which is, in fact, rather absurd. There is no definitive treatment or drug for the management of personality disorders. The only way in which we can manage it is by behavioural modification therapies like the DBT (Dialectical behavioural therapy) and CBT (Cognitive behavioural therapy). I am sharing four pictures here for my friends who are utterly perplexed due to being thrown into the crazy world of complicated medical jargon by the author in this novel bolt out of the blue.



The author should have done more research on topics like the transference, countertransference, Borderline personality disorder, Narcissistic personality disorder before writing this book.



I remember having an entrancing discussion about this book with one of my friends who is a Psychiatrist in D.C. We concluded that we should not be pedantic about it and leave it alone as just another painfully didactic fiction which came in the disguise of a psychological thriller.

It is poignant to see Entertainment Weekly calling it "an unforgettable — and Hollywood-bound — new thriller" with "a mix of Hitchcockian suspense, Agatha Christie plotting, and Greek tragedy." I heard that the silver screen version of this book is in the pipeline. I humbly request Mr Michaelides, who also happens to be a screenwriter to correct all the flaws in the novel in the upcoming movie.

I had the expectations of being enraptured by this book before reading it. But unfortunately, I abhorred this book to such an extent that I curtailed from reading other thrillers for some time. All the other thrillers I might read after this one will be desultory attempts. I am sure that I will recover from this one. I am sad that Alex Michaelides missed a golden opportunity to create a masterpiece.
Profile Image for Maureen .
1,385 reviews7,088 followers
January 31, 2019
My thanks to Ben Willis at Orion Publishing Group for sending me a paperback copy of ‘The Silent Patient’ I have given an honest unbiased review in exchange*

Alicia Berenson was discovered standing over her husband - he’d been tied to a chair and shot in the face five times. Alicia gives no explanation and refuses to speak. She’s admitted to a psychiatric unit, ‘The Grove’ in North London, and six years later she still hasn’t spoken - not one single word!

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has always been obsessed with Alicia’s story, and when a position presents itself at The Grove for someone with his qualifications, he applies for the job and is successful. Theo is certain that he can get her to talk, even though others have tried and failed.

Although Alicia is silent, the narrative speaks to us in a way that she can’t or won’t, throwing the spotlight on the minutiae of her life as a talented artist, and ultimately what led to the events of that fateful night.

Theo’s own personal life is laid bare too, and he’s also a very complex character - indeed not unlike Alicia. If Theo’s attempts to encourage Alicia to speak are successful, will it be something he wants to hear? Because beneath Alicia’s silent exterior, she has plenty to say!

Clever, and compelling, with a humdinger of a twist- I hope the ‘Silent’ Patient ‘speaks’ to you too!
Profile Image for Maria.
65 reviews8,494 followers
March 21, 2020
4.4/5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

“...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.”

HOLY SHIT! Wasn't this a mothefucking page turner? Like I literally read and listened to this in 2 home sittings, and 2 subway sittings. Holy motherfuck! I knew this Greek author could do it! #proudtobegreek. Honestly, all the Greek mentions in this book were porn to me. He wove a whole story so beautifully based on a Greek tragedy, it's wonderful. Anyone who is Greek in here, read this book. Love me some nice representation!

This book was split into two sections:
1: Theo's point of view
2: Alicia's point of view
Theo's point of view is split into two categories... him talking about himself and his wife and him talking about Alicia and himself
Alicia's point of view is seen through her diary

I found myself not as interested in Theo's chapters about his wife as I was in the entirety of the book. I knew it is the kind of story where this part would actually mean something to the main plot and not just to show us aspects about Theo's life and his personality, but they were the least interesting chapters for me nonetheless. Apart from that, the book itself was extremely fast paced, deep and exhilarating. I just couldn't for the life of me, stop turning the pages. You all know your girl lost sleep for this. Yes, I motherfucking did.

Was the twist good and unexpected? Yes. Did you have to suspend your disbelief a bit to make it work in your head? Yes. Was it amazing nonetheless? Yes. Listen, it was a really great twist but if Theo had told us from the beginning, it would lose the momentum. So it's a twist based on a character not telling us something he already knew. I find that a tiny bit weak. But it worked with the story and I fucking loved it ok?

Overall, I loved this book so much. In this review I talked about the two reasons I didn't give this book 5 stars but don't let it fool you. This is one of the best books I have read this year and it will probably remain in this position once the year ends. It is full of intrigue, interesting characters and dynamics and a very fresh story. Trust me and pick it up. K bye now!
August 28, 2021
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“Please don’t let’s get dramatic.”

I've been a bit hesitant about writing this review since the majority of readers really enjoyed this debut. However since Goodreads allows us to express and respect our different opinions I don't see any harm in being honest. I didn't hate The Silent Patient but I did find this novel both ridiculous and incompetent.
Just because The Silent Patient has a "twist" that doesn't mean it should be labelled as being a psychological thriller. There is little to no suspense, the mystery is laughable, the tension largely MIA. The psychology in this one is...well, the depiction of psychiatrist and psychotherapists is at best, laughable, at worst, ignorant.
The book hinges completely on its "twist", a twist that
This book seems to me yet another weak attempt of jumping on the domestic thriller bandwagon.

In short: Calling this a novel seems somewhat misleading. This reads more like some sort of hackneyed script.

LONG REVIEW AHEAD ( if you enjoyed this book I advise you to skip this rant-review )

The Silent Patient is a really flawed piece of work. I will try to tackle what I personally thought were the major problems this book had (and yes, this is my subjective opinion):

THE WRITING (idiotic dialogues + inane monologues + ham-handed metamorphoses + a complete lack of a sense of place)

✖ I like Agatha Christie and she has what I would call a 'dry' style of writing. Her mysteries are heavy on dialogue. The many conversations that her characters have are witty, amusing and or entertaining. The descriptions she provides perfectly render the characters' mannerisms and surroundings. Michaelides' writing mostly consisted in a series of dialogues between two characters and it reads like a script. It would work if what they spoke like actual people rather than this:
“Perhaps I’m imagining it. But I’m sensing something… Keep an eye on it. Any aggression or competitiveness interferes with the work. You two need to work with each other, not against each other.
But remember, with greater feeling comes greater danger.

The dialogues/monologues came across as being incredibly silly and they make the characters sound like children.
✖ There were plenty of dramatic and over-the-top statements and or phrases that really ruined potentially significant scenes and or somber moments of contemplation:
“Her silence was like a mirror—reflecting yourself back at you.”
~“Now I saw the truth. [She] hadn’t saved me—she wasn’t capable of saving anyone. She was no heroine to be admired—just a frightened, fucked-up girl, a cheating liar. This whole mythology of us that I had built up […] now collapsed in seconds—like a house of cards in a gust of wind.”
~“How was this possible? Had she been acting the whole time? Had she ever loved me?
~“Why did she do it? How could she?”

Jeez, melodramatic much?
✖ Theo’s narrative was filled with painfully overdone monologues that have little purpose since they don’t make Theo into a realistic and nuanced character and most of the time they do not even further the plot. Alicia’s narrative (that is, her diary) makes no sense but more on that when I tackle her character. It’s safe to say that, given that her diary entries included things such as “It took me a moment to speak. I was so taken aback I didn’t know what to say” and “I feel joyous. I feel full of hope”, I had a hard time ‘immersing’ myself or ‘buying’ into her narrative.
Since this book is a ‘domestic thriller’ both Theo and Alicia don’t have sex they ‘fuck’. Because writing ‘we fucked’ makes the story gritty and ‘dark’ [insert laughter here].
The Greek ‘connection’. Done properly, I usually love it when contemporary books draw parallels from Greek myths and or classics. Done properly. Comparing people to Greek statues and having your main characters referring to themselves as being a ‘Greek hero/heroine’ is the opposite of subtle:
“She was a statue; a Greek goddess come to life in my hands.” ~ “He looked like a Greek statue” ~ “the actress playing Alcestis looked like a Greek statue” ~ “my fate was already decided—like in a Greek tragedy” ~ “Casting herself as a tragic heroine”.

We have Diomedes who comes from “a long line of Greek shepherds” (and tells Theo that “every Greek knows his tragedies”). And finally we have Alicia’s painting which is entitled Alcestis. Both the painting and Euripides play had potential. They would have been enough. We didn’t need the constant reminder that The Silent Patient wants to be a ‘tragic play’. Like many other things in this book, the blatant symbolism managed to ruin a potentially good analogy.
✖ These characters do not sound British. They talk like Americans (or what Americans sound like in a CSI episode). There are no British cultural references and or British expressions. This book could be set anywhere.
✖ The story is set supposedly in the UK. But really, there is 0 sense of place. Who cares about giving your characters a backdrop? Why bother rendering a neighbourhood or an area of London? Who gives a fork about what a room or place looks like? Let's remember: this story could be set anywhere (or nowhere given how realistic it is).

✖ You could say that the focus on dialogues and flat scenery are reminiscent of a play...which is fine but it doesn’t come across as such. This book just reminds me of a ‘B-movie’ script. There is no tragedy, no pathos , no wit. A 2nd grade play is closer to a 'classic' play than this book is.
There is this attempt to make the two ‘main’ women ethereal which did provides a few laughs:
“Her white dress glowed ghostlike in the torchlight” ~ “I remember so much white everywhere: […] the white of her eyes, her teeth, her skin. I’d never known that skin could be so luminous, so translucent ; ivory white with occasional blue veins visible just beneath the surface, like threads of color in white marble. She was a statue.” ~ “strands of long red hair falling across bony shoulders, blue veins beneath the translucent skin”.

✖ Theo. Our wannabe . Within a few pages we know that he is obsessed with Alicia (which makes him incredibly unprofessional) and he for the most part he is just soooo dull and whiny. He moans about his childhood, , and his attempt(s) to self-fashion himself as some sort of tragic hero fail epically. After
His dramatic monologues, constant whinging, and complete lack of awareness (I've said it before this man is thick) made him into a really unbelievable character.
Alicia...she is beautiful. She loves having sex with her husband and painting. That’s about it. We are told that she was ‘charming’...but how can she have gained this reputation since she has 0 friends and her only real relationship is the one she has with Gabriel (her partner or whatever). Jean-Felix is the owner of a gallery but they don’t spend time together or are on friendly terms. Who is she charming to? She is a complete recluse! She lives in London and is good enough painter and yet...she has managed to make 0 connections. Her diary entries make her sound at best guileless and at worst like a demented child. Her character is just an object. She is there to look beautiful and tragic. She has a few basic reactions (she just “looks up” or “looks down”) or she does the good ol’ ‘banshee’ act, flinging herself in a sudden ‘rage’ towards Theo or another patient. Wow. Such a deep and complex portrait of a .
The cast of characters consists in cardboard cutouts. Going back to Christie, sometimes exaggerated character can be entertaining. Especially if they are a parodying a certain type of person (the writer, the artist, the gossipy old lady and so forth). Here we have mere ‘sketches’ of people.
We have Christian, who doesn’t like Theo because he is a massive bellend bully: “Christian glared at me.” “Christian looked irritated.” “Christian rolled his eyes at me.” “Christian laughed that annoying laugh of his.
We have Professor Diomedes who is Greek and is “an unorthodox man’ ...that’s it folks. That’s his character. Also, Yuri is another pointless and unbelievable addition to the story. He is the head psychiatric nurse and comes from Latvia so he obviously has to be weird about women. Makes perfect sense. Then we have Stephanie who has very little page time or importance Theo having never even know of her existence knows immediately, before she even speaks, that she is Caribbean). We also have the “jolly Caribbean dinner ladies” (who, surprise surprise, are only mentioned once).
We have a few ‘ugly’ characters who are either ‘mad’ and or violent (Elif, a ‘massive’ Turkish woman, who spends her time shouting or grunting because she is a patient and that’s how ‘ugly’ and mentally ill people behave. Lydia, Alicia’s mean aunt. She is grotesquely ‘fat’ and has lots of cats. She basically just glares, scorns, and spits at people). Paul, Alicia’s cousin, still lives with his mother so he looks like ‘virgin’ and in spite his size he seems ‘stunted’. Kathy and Gabriel are the antithesis of credible (actors and fashion photographers manage to be self-engrossed and 1 dimensional). We have Gabriel’s brother...who is the typical chip-on-my-shoulder character (he has acne, he is balding, he is just a ‘lawyer’, boohoo). Jean-Felix owns a gallery so he is the embodiment of some sort of art-vampire.

✖ Nothing much happens. It’s quite clear that the words that exist before the ‘twist’ serve as filler. Theo moans about this and that. That's about 70% of the novel.
✖ There are a series of stupid things happening for no apparent reason.
✖ The Grove is not a forensic unit. I am sure that Theo should be doing a bit of paperwork to cover his 1 to 1s with Alicia. And everything that
✖ The ‘big twist’

The Silent Patient might not be the worst novel I’ve read but it’s a badly written, poorly developed book. Worse still, The Silent Patient comes across as being both pointless and passionless
A ‘twist’ needs—demands—a story. I want to read characters who vaguely resemble or talk like real people. If you want to play with stereotypes (a la Christie) don't make your characters take themselves so seriously. A parody of a certain 'personality' should at least be funny and or amusing. Adding a strong setting and a coherent storyline wouldn’t do any harm either.
Overall: The Silent Patient is a messy, flat, painfully dull, 'Hollywood-type' of book.

Read more reviews on my blog

If you liked Verity, An Anonymous Girl, The Last Time I Lied or the unintentionally hilarious Jane Doe...chances are you will like The Silent Patient.
Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,114 reviews2,808 followers
May 29, 2021
Alicia Berenson, a famous painter, shoots her fashion photographer husband in the face 5 times, killing him and then never utters another word again. Theo Faber, a criminal psychotherapist, has been obsessed with Alicia and her silence for years and he finally works his way onto the staff of at the Grove, a secure forensic unit and then manages to secure the position of Alicia's psychotherapist. Very little is really the way it seems in this addictive psychological thriller and it had me on the edge of my seat from the first chapter.

I had so many questions about what was happening and what had happened with both Alicia and Theo. Theo is so ready to lie, manipulate, and use people and even though Alicia was the murderer, think I felt more danger from Theo and his shady practices. And then I was hit with twist at the end of the book, which took me by surprise. I knew something was up but I hadn't quite figured it out and was thrilled with how the book took me for ride, tripping me up along the way.

Published February 5th 2019
Profile Image for Julie .
4,029 reviews58.9k followers
July 9, 2019
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides is a 2019 Celadon Books publication.

When this book first started to garner a little buzz, I initially shied away from it. I am still avoiding psychological thrillers for the most part. However, the reviews were so overwhelmingly positive I relented, adding it to my TBR list. After a lengthy wait at the library, I finally obtained a copy, and dived in with no small amount of cautious optimism. Was it worth the wait? Did it live up to the hype?

The set- up is instantly intriguing-

Theo Faber, a criminal psychotherapist is oddly obsessed with the well- respected artist, Alicia Berenson, a patient housed in a forensic unit after shooting her husband five times in the face. She hasn’t uttered a word since. Theo sacrifices better and more lucrative opportunities in hopes of becoming her therapist. As he manipulates his way into Alicia’s life, his determination to unlock the secrets of her heart and mind slowly yields a few surprising results. However, all his probing could have a few unforeseen consequences...

Anyone who has read a review for this book has, by now, heard about the stunning twist that apparently caught most readers off guard. But, let’s not get too hung up on the twist. In my humble opinion, a mind -blowing twist is a requirement of any and all psychological thrillers. What makes a twist work in the first place is the mystery.

Did Alicia kill her husband, as all the evidence suggests? If so, what was her motive? Why hasn’t she uttered a single word in all these years? This is a compelling mystery. Alicia an enigma, to be sure. This is unsettling enough on its own merits.

However, the author also examines some hard truths about institutions that rely on funding, which leads to money and power taking precedent over the welfare and health of the patients. Adding in yet another rich layer is the unique and quite interesting mythological parallel woven into the story.

It is easy to step into Theo’s narrative as he slowly walks us through Alicia’s past, dropping hints and clues along the way, introducing us to all the possible suspects, while delving into Alicia’s fragile psyche.

But, if I am being totally honest, the plot is not all that plausible, and at times the execution warbles. There are some problems within the story, but in my humble opinion, this is how a pure psychological thriller should be presented. The author relies on paranoia and the emotional instability of the characters to build suspense as opposed to grisly, graphic crime scenes. It’s a mind game from start to finish.

Now, about that twist-

The most important thing to me was that it was singular. No over the top, unnecessary twists added for mere shock value. A good PT doesn’t need more than one, maybe two, depending on the author’s experience or the situation- in my opinion.

In this case, the reader is totally blindsided, tapped on the shoulder from behind, by a revelation so shocking, I’ll bet some of you gasped out loud. I know I did! It messed with your head, right? Now THAT’S what I’m talking about!!

Of course, after all that buildup and the success of the big plot twist, the ending had to come together, or all was for naught. I was a little concerned for a few minutes, but honestly, the conclusion was the cherry on the cake.

The book was worth waiting for, but I am glad I proceeded with caution and kept my expectations in check. The story is not quite strong enough to merit a five -star rating, but I appreciated the pure, traditional understated approach. The author wisely dialed things back, distancing himself from the oversaturated parodies many current psychological thrillers have become. I hope the popularity of this book with inspire more authors to follow this more authentic prototype and restore the psychological thriller back to its former glory.
Profile Image for Dorie  - Cats&Books :).
993 reviews2,780 followers
November 3, 2019

Well looks like I’m the outlier on this book as I have been reading many glowing 5 star reviews. Maybe I’ve been reading too many thrillers lately. For me to love a thriller all of the characters have to be well developed and intricate to the story, the plot has to be a good one and have more to offer than just the “thrill”, or wow factor at the end of the book. I found the characters to be shallow and the plot seemed to run off in several directions throughout the course of the novel.

I should add that a 3* from me means that the book was just an o.k. read for me, not bad but not great enough that I will be thinking of it long after I’ve finished or be recommending it to my friends. Still worth a read :)

One thing proved true, this book did have me turning the pages quickly to find out what would happen at the end. However while I was turning these pages quickly, I wasn’t really getting very much out of the story. I felt as though the fact that she wouldn’t speak was the main focus of the book rather than looking into whether she was really guilty or not. I know that she had been tried and found guilty but I had hoped that perhaps the doctors would find other issues worth pursuing regarding her guilt or innocence.

There are multiple characters introduced but none of them are really very well described. Dr. Diomedes is the head of the facility and he appoints a new doctor, Theo Faber, who has recently joined the staff to oversee Alicia’s care. She had previously been under the care of another physician but he hadn’t made any progress with her and so it is hoped that this new doctor will help to make her finally speak.

The book is narrated by Theo and then later by Alicia as we begin to read her previously hidden diary.

The book takes place in “The Grove” a private facility for psychiatric patients. Theo Faber transferred from another facility because he is obsessed with Alicia’s case. We do get to know him through his thoughts about his own marriage to Karen who seems increasingly “busy” and coming home late from rehearsals, she is an actress. This is a storyline that is introduced and somewhat developed and then just left hanging. What really is going on with Theo’s marriage? He seems to be spending all of his time at the facility with Alicia.


Alicia had been a successful artist and Gabriel a photographer of some repute. There really is never any answer to the question of “why”, why would Alicia kill Gabriel. There doesn’t seem to be any evidence that they were unhappy or that Gabriel was unfaithful, there doesn’t seem to have been much research as to why she would kill her husband. She was convicted because she was found at the scene with the gun in her hand, covered in blood because she had slit her wrists in an attempt to kill herself.

The twist is a good one but doesn’t come until the last 20 pages or so. I had pretty much figured it out by then but I’m sure it will come as a surprise to many.

I would say read it without reading lots of reviews, decide for yourself if it is indeed “the debut novel of the year for 2019” as the publisher has written in the blurb for the book! After the last session that Theo had with Alicia he is writing everything down while it was still fresh in his mind and he states "As you will see, it's an incredible story--of that there is no doubt. Whether you believe it or not is up to you."

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
Profile Image for Tina Loves To Read.
2,460 reviews1 follower
March 13, 2023
WOW... This is a great book.

This is a psychological thriller, and it is one of my favorites. I really did not see the book ending like it did. I cannot say much about this book without giving away to much of the book, but I felt it was a great book with some of the best twist I have read. I think if you did not see the ending coming you will like it, but if you guess the ending will may not like it as much.
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,838 followers
January 29, 2020
3 to 3.5 stars

I have a few friends that are probably going to wonder why I am not rating this one higher. I did think it was a decent thriller and I can tell why many rate it high. But, it is also easy for me to tell why someone would rate it low. I am just going to hang out pretty close to the middle

The best part of this book was definitely the resolution. The build up to it was okay, but not all that suspenseful to me. There were a few big moments throughout the book, but it was mainly just exposition. Also, I figured out the "mystery" early on. This is not me tooting my own horn like I am an amazing detective. It was more like I stumbled on it by accident. About 1/3 to 1/2 of the way in I thought,"wouldn't it be interesting if . . ." and that is exactly what happened!

The characters were kind of flat to me. I think part of my opinion on them is tainted by the fact that I just finished another thriller, The Whisper Man. In that one, the characters are much more dynamic and the relationships are much more interesting. Despite some twisting and turning, the relationships here are plain vanilla and a bit predictable.

I will stress again, especially because I know that many are rating this one highly, that my criticisms above are just little things that I felt and I know for certain that others won't feel at all. So, don't read my review and go in thinking it is going to rate middle of the road for you, too. You might be one who really gets into it!

Basically, an entertaining thriller. Not too deep. The perfect book for a quick escape. Easy to read and follow the twists and turns. Solid, but not really exceptional.
March 1, 2019
5 “this lived up to the hype” stars!!!

Brilliant! Shocking! Addictive! Mesmerizing!

I’m stunned that this is a debut novel. The skillfully scripted storyline, the truly unforgettable characters, the pulse-pounding suspense, the consistently enthralling pace, the enticing narration – all exceptionally fantastic! This was dazzling perfection! The author, Alex Michaelides, has set the bar extremely high for any follow up novels. Wow!

I’m going to keep this short and sweet and avoid getting into any storyline details. Bottom line, if you enjoy psychological thrillers, you MUST get your hands on a copy of this. This has easily earned a spot on my 2019 Favourites list! I am eagerly awaiting his next novel!

This was a Traveling Sister read that we all loved.

Thank you to my lovely local library for lending me a copy of this fantastic book!
Profile Image for j e w e l s.
309 reviews2,373 followers
February 13, 2019

THE SILENT PATIENT is a deep, dark tale of murder, love and revenge. This is a contemporary story steeped in a deliciously gothic tone. At the beginning of the book, we have a vicious murder, a frightening asylum setting for the criminally insane, and a suspect who refuses to speak. When Theo steps in to save the day as psychotherapist to the silent Alice, well….you are in for a twisted treat, so I can’t divulge anymore!

I went into this book with expectations it would be similar to Alice Feeney’s Sometimes I Lie or one of my old favorites Before I Go to Sleep. I was wrong, it is so much better! The main characters of Theo and Alice are richly layered with just enough reveals leaked out over time that you will constantly wonder “who is the unreliable narrator here?” (You will doubt yourself over and over and I LOVE THAT!!!).

Truly, one of the best books I’ve read this year! I absolutely devoured it. Theo takes you into his head, explaining the psychology involved in certain situations, as if the reader is part conspirator, part solution. There are Freudian quotes sprinkled liberally throughout this mystery--pure delight for armchair psychologists!

I listened to the Audible version--Outstanding!
Profile Image for Antje ❦.
63 reviews34 followers
May 20, 2023
Were you SILENT or were you SILENCED?
🌟 The Silenced Patient 🌟
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