Today is my stop on the blog tour to celebrate the paperback release of this intoxicating thriller. Thank you to Amber at Midas PR for the invitation to take part and to Orion for the gifted copy of the book.
I love him so totally, completely, sometimes it threatens to overwhelm me.
Sometimes I think –
No. I won’t write about that.
Alicia Berenson writes a diary as a release, an outlet – and to prove to her beloved husband that everything is fine. She can’t bear the thought of worrying Gabriel, or causing him pain.
Until, late one evening. Alicia shoots Gabriel five times and then never speaks another word.
Forensic psychotherapist Theo Faber is convinced that he can successfully treat Alicia, where all others have failed. Obsessed with investigating her crime, his discoveries suggest Alicia’s silence goes far deeper than he first thought.
And if she speaks, would he want to hear the truth?
On a scorching summer night, 33-year-old painter Alicia Beresford is discovered covered in blood, standing rigid and frozen in her living room, while the body of Gabriel, her husband of seven years, sits tied to a chair. She had shot him five times in the head with his rifle and then slit her wrists to attempt suicide. She is taken to hospital but doesn’t make any statements of guilt or innocence, in fact Alicia doesn’t speak at all. Her only “statement” was a painting she did after she was under house arrest while awaiting trial. It is self portrait named Alcestis, after the greek heroine, and its meaning remains a mystery. Six years later psychotherapist Theo Faber, who has been obsessed with the case since it occurred, applies for a job at the hospital she’s being treated. He is sure he can reach her, get her to speak again and discover the truth about what happened that night.
I was so excited to read this book. From the middle of 2018 there was a lot of buzz on Bookstagram and it immediately caught my eye. I was fully immersed in this book from the first page and flew through it, unable to put it down or stop thinking about it when I wasn’t reading.
The story is told in the past tense by Alicia’s psychotherapist, Theo. It also contains extracts from the diary her husband Gabriel had encouraged her to write in the weeks leading up to his death. These pages give us an insight into who she is, or was, why she remains silent, and enables the reader to learn things such as lies being told by some of those closest to Alicia. But this book is as much a story about Theo as it is about Alicia and Gabriel. He feels an affinity with her that is his motivation and conviction that he alone can help her find her voice again. But he keeps breaking the rules and seems increasingly obsessed with his patient. Is he using the case as a distraction from the difficulties in his private life or is there more going on?
I loved how well-written and researched this novel was. I found the information about psychology and trauma both fascinating and informative and loved how the author could convey so much from the little things such as a description of Alicia’s facial expressions or her hands shaking. It is a book filled with flawed, twisted, damaged and broken the character, which are always great fun to read. Alicia was an alluring enigma who puzzled me; I could never quite work out if she was a malevolent calculating killer or a tragic victim of an as-yet-unknown horror. I liked Theo from the start and was rooting for him to be able to break Alicia’s silence and discover the truth of what happened. There were two characters I was suspicious about and that I thought might be involved in Gabriel’s death, perhaps even framing Alicia in some way. I was convinced I knew where the story was going and what would happen but I couldn’t have been more wrong….
The novel is ingeniously written as with one chapter, a paragraph and finally a short sentence, the writer mercilessly takes your breath away. He transforms this novel from a great book into a mind-blowing and sensational book with a twist you truly couldn’t have foreseen. THIS is the book I would call the crime debut of 2019. What a magnificent and electrifying debut. Everyone will be talking about this book and that twist. Whatever genre you enjoy, you need to read this book.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Alex Michaelides is an author and screenwriter born in Cyprus to a Greek-Cypriot father and English mother. After graduating from Cambridge with a degree in English, he received an MA in screenwriting from the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. He wrote the film The Devil You Know, starring Rosamund Pike, and co-wrote The Brits Are Coming, starring Uma Thurman and Tim Roth. The Silent Patient has sold in 44 territories so far – a record for a debut novel – the film rights for which were recently acquired by Brad Pitt’s production company Plan B.