My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Silent Patient is a mystery/thriller with a twist I did not guess. That’s a claim a lot of PR tends to make only for it to not be true. There are a lot of books out there that I have guessed the endings to and while I was expecting something a little different to the standard cookie-cutter thriller (my theory in the first half of the book was it would be some sort of Shutter Island switch-up) the ending was well disguised.
Alicia murdered her husband and never spoke again; Theo thinks he will be the one to “save her” and get her to talk again. They both had a tumultuous upbringing with asshole fathers, which Theo believes gives him an edge to figuring out why Alicia stopped speaking. All the while, telling us about his unfaithful actress wife, Kathy. Some of Theo’s white-knighting and general attitude towards women is frustrating and disappointing, although stick with the story as it feeds into the ending.
In between Theo’s narratives we have entries from Alicia’s journal that she began to keep in the weeks running up to the murder of her husband Gabriel. These offer us a glimpse into the character of Alicia who – present day – is silent. It’s a clever mechanism to build up a rapport and empathy with a character that would otherwise be inaccessible.
There are plenty of little twists and turns in the story along the way that will keep you guessing at what’s going to happen next. It’s a great read, well written, paced and with good character development on both Theo and Alicia’s part. As Michaelides begins to peel back the Big Reveal, and it starts to click into place, it’ll have you thinking “Hang on a second…!” before hitting you with the full secret. Expertly done.