Alicia and Gabriel Berenson lead a life most people would envy. Both highly successful in their careers – she as a painter, he as a fashion photographer – their world is filled with glitz and glamor. Financially comfortable, they live in a beautiful home with a garden in a prestigious area of London. And they’re still very much in love. Or so it seems.

But the world is shocked by what occurs… One night Gabriel returns home late from work, and his wife Alicia shoots him five times in the face, killing him instantly.

The police arrive quickly – and neither confessing nor denying her guilt, Alicia goes completely silent. But it’s obvious what happened, a slam-dunk case. Alicia discovered at the crime scene distraught, blood-spattered, only her prints on the gun. And no signs of a break-in or an intruder.

Persistently refusing to speak, Alicia is convicted of her husband’s brutal murder, but she’s not sent to prison. Instead, due to her uncanny silence and a past history of mental health issues, she’s confined to a secure forensic unit, i.e. a modern-day madhouse, in North London called the Grove.

For nearly six years Alicia has remained silent, her only statement a haunting, cryptic self-portrait titled “Alcestis” that she painted right after the murder. But the position of forensic psychotherapist has just opened up at the Grove, and a man named Theo Faber wins the job.

Fascinated by Alicia’s story, her fragile beauty and her silence, Theo begins to work with her as a therapist. Others, including the director of the institution, Lazarus Diomedes, hold little hope of him breaching Alicia’s wall of silence, but Theo himself is convinced he can cause a breakthrough.

At first Alicia’s reaction is startlingly adverse, and she attacks Theo violently. But over time, as the lines between doctor and patient, past and present, start to blur, Alicia and Theo begin to dance a potentially deadly pas de deux

Although this is a debut novel, the author is unbelievably skilled and it’s nearly flawless. His writing is compelling and evocative, sweeping the reader eagerly along. And he brings Alicia and Theo to life in unnerving ways – stripped naked, the bone and gristle of their psyches showing through the vibrant, blood-red color he’s painted them with.

There are all sorts of hidden gems, like a secret diary kept by Alicia, and the tie-in between her haunting self-portrait “Alcestis” and Greek mythology. And the unreliable narrator card, made so popular in GONE GIRL and THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, is played out in spades. But I’m not going to say more, because the layers of deception – like paint caked on a canvas – are best demystified by reading the novel.

Deep, disturbing. Twisty, turny, and madly satisfying. So go spend a little time in the madhouse with Alicia and Theo. And maybe even your own demons…

See more psychological thrillers

Thrillingly yours,

Kristy Dark


Please feel free to leave your comments and questions below. I’m always happy to hear from you!

Hey, check out my suspenseful thriller novel…

  1. Your review on the Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides is really Top-notch. The story line is really interesting, also from the way you summarized it, one would really feel the suspense and would really love to get it quick. Simple review but well explicit and very easy to understand. Thanks so much for this lovely review, I hope to order my own copy soonest.

  2. I am not a huge fan of thriller novels, I like more fantasy and self improvement books. I will however look up this book because it seems very interesting and can give an insight into the psyche and can be applied to real life instead of merely entertainment. 

    Thank you for sharing this information.

    • That’s a really interesting point of view, Jon. I’m sure you’ll find the author’s insights into the psyche quite eye-opening!

  3. Great Content and Information!

    What a concise and thorough article. I found the post very detailed and Informative. Wonderful! I bookmarked to look further.

    I haven’t read the book  silent patient but I have heard about the author and I have read some of his books which are exceptional. I am hopeful silent patient will be fascinating and intriguing to read. I am doing my purchase right away. Thanks for the eye opener 

  4. Hey Kristy, your review on Silent Patient hooked me completely. I love reading novels, especially one that is shrouded in mystery as this one. As I was reading through the narrative, I was wondering, what could make a woman do a violent thing like this by killing her husband.

    I quite agree with you completely that the author of that novel from what I have read of it, is highly skilled. The story line is compelling and leaves one desiring to read to end, to actually know what led a fragile woman to committing murder.

    • Thanks for your comments, Gracen! I’m sure you’ll enjoy the book. Yes, the story of what led such a fragile woman to commit murder is truly fascinating.

  5. Thanks for this review on Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides,i don’t want to stop reading this review on this Novel and  i must say there many to this book with the short review that I read just now, I felt the need to have the book for reading during my leisure time. It is the kind of novel I like to read over and over again 

  6. I absolutely love this insightful article because it is full of great information. This is fascinating and interesting to me.This book named silent patient is a must to read, very full of suspense. I would like to get this book and read from page to page of the end result of the secret diary kept by Alicia. Great read beat regards 

  7. Thanks for sharing this review on silent patient. I must say this a book that everyone should read. I haven’t been a fiction reader for long and have really only been into nonfiction. However, this book caught my attention immediately I just read the first line. I was really shocked with the twist at the end and it was far off from what my personal theory was. I really can’t find a reason to not give it 5/5. You did a great job with this review. 

  8. Wao. Kudos to the author of this wonderful fiction story. I was enjoying every piece of the story, eagerly wanted to know the reason(s) behind her action. how could two people be badly in love like Alicia and Gabriel, and suddenly one of the partners decided to put an end to the other life, and for six years, she has remained silent? Sincerely, this is a must get book. I would check the link. Nice one from you!!!

    • Yes, I agree the author deserves a lot of credit for coming up with such a fascinating and original story. I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading the book!

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