Have you ever seen a game of cards which is nothing but a battle of wills where the two players seem nonchalant, but there is this edge in their attitude, just a sliver, which tells you that something is just about to happen?!! And something does happen, one of the players folds, just surrenders!! What does one do then? Believe it to be true and end the game or look underneath this sleight of hand and get to the real truth??
Alex Michaelides, in his debut, has played this chilling hand of surrender making me read and scrutinize every line of the story to try to detect and unveil the hidden truth. And boy!! Was I wrong!!
The concept is pretty brilliant; Alicia a famous painter, ties her husband to the chair and shoots him 5 times, then paints an enigmatic picture and becomes a silent patient forever. Enter this earnest psychologist, Theo, who is kind of obsessed with unlocking her past and getting to the motive, wanting to make Alicia to talk again.
Then comes the game play between these two players and suddenly Alicia talks... What is the truth or is she pretending? Why did she kill her husband or did someone else? Who is the mysterious stranger or is it her paranoia? Hint – Read the book to get to the answers.
The whole book is a series of layers, some intermingling and others hidden. There are clues and red herrings present to sway the suspicions and to speak the truth. There are so many unfathomable characters, each worse than the other. There are a few niggles, the prose can be slightly tightened and some scenes seem implausible in mid story.
But the author then plays his last game, a full flush, which just slid the rug from underneath my feet, sideswiping me till I could do nothing but give in to the exhilaration of the freefall, the sheer pleasure and shock of reaching the truth, the careful way the ends are tied made me go back in my mind, right to the very beginning where it all began. Twisted is all I can say!!!
I received an ARC from NetGalley and publisher Orion, and this is my honest, straight from the heart opinion.
Alex Michaelides was born in Cyprus to a Greek-Cypriot father and English mother. He read English at Cambridge University and received a MA in screenwriting from the American Film Institute. He wrote the film Devil You Know, starring Rosamund Pike, and co-wrote The Con is On, starring Uma Thurman and Tim Roth. The Silent Patient is his first novel.
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 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?
Publication date : 7th February 2019
Publisher : Orion Books