Ahoy there me mateys! For those of ye who are new to me log, a word: though this log’s focus is on sci-fi, fantasy, and young adult, this Captain does have broader reading tastes. Occasionally I will share some novels that I enjoyed that are off the charts (a non sci-fi, fantasy, or young adult novel), as it were. So today I bring ye:
the silent patient (Alex Michaelides)
I don’t read many thrillers and I seem to be in the minority (again!) with this. The crew was talking about how great this novel was and I admit that the premise of a wife shooting a husband and then never speaking again appealed. Why did she stop? What would she have to say? I wanted answers.
I had misgivings early on in the book. Basically the main character, Theo, seemed both unreliable and a bit of an egotistical jerk. He was utterly convinced that he could get Alicia to speak again. And yet the question of what Alicia would say when she finally spoke made me ignore the quibbles and keep reading. I loved the premise. I thought the writing was excellent and I didn’t get bored. So what was the problem?
I completely guessed the twist. This isn’t something that happens often or usually bothers me when it does. However, in this case, I did not like how the story resolved at all. I did very much enjoy watching Theo’s relationship with Alicia in the therapy sessions. I thought the various characters were kinda fun and enjoyed how the author tied the relationships together. But I did not buy the whys and wherefores of the reasons for Alicia shooting her husband. I really didn’t like any of the resolutions regarding the twist and how it panned out. I can’t really get into more specifics because it would spoil the entire plot for those who haven’t read it.
This does seem to be a case of it not working for me personally and not the writer. Thrillers are really hit or miss for me. I keep telling meself after every bad experience to stop reading them but end up getting another for a change of pace once enough time goes by. And this read, while quick, irked me and wasn’t to me taste. So it hereby walks the plank! Arrrrr!!
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
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 threatens to consume him . . .
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