top of page
  • Sheen Johns

Book Review : The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides


'I suppose what scares me is, giving in to the unknown.



Title : The Silent Patient

Author : Alex Michaelides

Genre : Psychological Thriller




Alicia Berenson's life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London's most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia's refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in north London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations- a search for the truth that consumes him.


It had been a while since I had read a good psychological thriller when I picked up 'The Silent Patient' by Alex Michaelides, and boy was it good. This book was so much more than what I had expected and it is all the justice to the praise it had been receiving. The curiosity of the reader is aroused right from the title of the book. How can you expect a case to be solved when the person accused and charged guilty would not utter a single word even to defend herself. This is a story that does more of a character analysis than just running all over the place to solve the mystery.

Alicia is a successful artist and heads over heels in love with her husband Gabriel. They had a perfect life until one evening she shot him five times and observed silence forever thereafter. She has not uttered a single word for six years and was found guilty and got admitted to the 'Grove' a mental institution.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who is drawn to the case of 'Alicia Berenson' because he believes that 'only he can make her speak' and reveal the mystery behind why she killed her husband or if she actually did.

The story of Alicia is narrated by Theo with snippets from her diary entries. While Theo is peeling the layers of the mysterious life of Alicia through her silence, we get to see his own personal story and troubled relationships. While on the quest to break Alicia's silence, he uncovers shocking truth's about his own life, It is ironic how the very people who are healers of the minds might be fighting demons of their own while they help others.

All the characters in the book are well developed and keeps us guessing over 'who the real culprit is'. The premise of the story is realistic, the mental asylum looks right out of our real world rather than some horror filled gothic structure as showcased in most such books. The storyline is gripping and has some unexpected twists and turns and confuses you as you try to solve the mystery, as is needed in any good thriller novel. This is a mysterious story woven with the thread of the miracles of minds and some Greek mythology. It beautifully depicts the power of silence and commitment of the human mind. This is a must read if you are in the lookout for a psychological thriller that will bolt you to the chair till you are done with it.

This book can never be a disappointment to the reader. But if you area an avid mystery/ psychological thriller reader you might be able to guess the end that only towards the last few chapters.

I loved 'The Silent Patient' and would recommend it to anyone looking for some mind gripping thriller.

bottom of page