The Silent Patient – Alex Michaelides (Celadon)
Every once in a while, a book comes along that has a reputation that proceeds its arrival onto bookstore shelves. Alex Michaelides debut novel, The Silent Patient, is one of those books; a unique, yet pretty straight forward story as psychological thrillers go.
The tale involves a seemingly troubled, beautiful artist, who stands accused of murdering her husband and then goes mute, not uttering a single word in her own defense. Assumed to be psychologically challenged, Alicia Berenson is confined to a mental institution; where a series of psychotherapy professionals try to break through the wall she has built up around herself.
Enter, Theo Faber, a psychotherapist who seems utterly hellbent to work with Alicia and boldly go where no therapist has successfully gone before and bring her back to the world of the living and speaking. It’s the hellbent part that should be tip off for folks who want to try to figure out where all this is heading.
As with all great psychological thrillers – you will either have the breakthrough you seek, or you will upon the story’s conclusion do a healthy face palm for not realizing the path that you have been on all along. While The Silent Patient, is very well put together, I was able to see a bit of the classic, The Sixth Sense in between the lines and that Faber was a whole lot bigger to this story than just a hyper interested, committed metal health practitioner. That best guess on my part, may have reduced my overall impression and the impact of the story for me.