THE SILENT PATIENT is a psychological mystery about Alicia Berenson, a famous painter, her husband Gabriel, a famous photographer, and their seemingly perfect life. The story is told by psychotherapist Theo Faber, who first shows up in the story six years after the gruesome murder of Gabriel, when he purposely applies and then is hired at the Grove where Alicia is committed. THE SILENT PATIENT looks deeply into the psyches of the woman convicted of murdering her husband and the therapist determined to treat her.
With both David Baldacci and Lee Child giving high praise for THE SILENT PATIENT a high standard is set for the strength of the books plot and characters. That high praise seems well deserved.
Alicia lives in a nice house in one of the better parts of London. She has a studio in the back yard and from inside the house a view of the park across the street. She had been found in their home where Gabriel was tied to a chair, shot at close range several time in the face. There was also one bullet hole in the ceiling. Alicia’s fingerprints were all over the gun that fired the bullets. Since the day of her arrest, Alicia has never spoken a word. No denial or defense was offered by her. Her silence and troubled paintings left the judge believing she had deep mental problems.
When Theo is hired years later, he must convince Alicia’s therapists to let him try to treat her. His first step is to try to reduce the medication strength, hoping with less medication she might speak. With the reduction of the drugs the next time Alicia see’s Theo she jumps on him clawing him and trying to kill him. Theo is committed to helping Alicia unlock her secrets, in part, because it seems clear that part of his motive has to do with his own emotional problems which he finds may have similarities to hers.
The mystery unfolds as our perceptions of the characters unfold. We see them changing before our eyes as if they are being peeled back like an onion. The writing evolves both the plot and characters reaching a totally unexpected conclusion that you just won’t see it coming. THE SILENT PATIENT is a book you won’t want to put down until your finished.