Thursday, June 10, 2021

Fiction Review: The Silent Patient

My neighborhood book group chose a thriller for our June selection, which is an unusual choice for us. We read The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, a psychological thriller.


Right in the very first sentence of chapter one, it says that Alicia murdered her husband. So, this is not a whodunit but a “why did she do it?” After the crime occurred, Alicia completely stops speaking, so no one knows why she did it. She is a famous painter, and her husband was a well-known fashion photographer. They seemed to have a wonderful, loving marriage, so what happened? Alicia's silence continues for many years, as she remains at the Grove, a secure forensic psychiatric facility in London. Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who, by his own admission, has his own issues stemming from an abusive childhood. Theo becomes obsessed with Alicia and manages to get himself hired at the Grove and assigned to her case. Everyone else has given up, since she won't communicate at all, but Theo thinks he can connect with her. He even begins his own investigation of her life leading up to the murder, after hours, telling himself it will help him to understand her better, and he begins to feel a bond with her because of her similarly awful childhood.


This is a classic psychological thriller, with plenty of suspense and lots of twists and surprises! Chapters alternate between Theo’s narration in the present day, as he tries to break through Alicia’s silence, and Alicia’s own diary entries, leading up to the day of the murder. As the pieces slowly fall into place, I was constantly changing theories on what happened and why she did it, like with any good, twisty thriller. Not everyone in my book group enjoys psychological thrillers, so some were less satisfied with the book than others, but those of us who enjoy this sort of book found it an immersive and compelling one.


323 pages, Celadon Books


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Listen to a sample of the audiobook here, with two different narrators for Alicia and Theo, and/or download it from Audible.


You can buy the book through, where your purchase will support the indie bookstore of your choice (or all indie bookstores)--the convenience of shopping online while still buying local!



Or you can order The Silent Patient from Book Depository, with free shipping worldwide.


  1. This title is an upcoming book club selection for me, too. I haven't read it yet, though, and didn't know it was a thriller. We don't often read mysteries or thrillers so I wonder how the gals in the club will do.

    1. Yeah, I don't think mysteries and thrillers usually make good books for discussion. And some in our group don't normally read thrillers and aren't fans of the genre. BUT this was our first meeting back in-person! (outside on a big patio) We were all elated to be together again, and it felt like a huge celebration! Hope you enjoy the book, Anne.

  2. I've heard good things about this book from a number of bloggers and may have to add it to my list.

    1. If you like psychological thrillers, this is a good twisty one!