Much hyped on Twitter, I’d read only positive reviews of The Silent Patient, so was looking forward to reading it. I love a great psychological thriller and have found they really work for me as audiobooks and as an audiobook, I have to say, this was great. It actually brought to mind a famous book from the great Agatha Christie herself… for reasons I won’t delve into as that would take us into spoiler territory!
This story is told through the alternating points of view of two characters; psychotherapist Theo Faber and the silent patient of the title, Alicia Berenson. There are, accordingly, two narrators which is always a huge selling point for me. I find very obviously different people reading different characters can often give me a far more immersive audiobook listen compared to one narrator doing a series of accents/voices. Although this does very much depend on the specific narrators and personal preference, but these guys are great.
So, onto the plot: Artist Alicia Berenson is a patient in psychiatric hospital, The Grove. She is there as she was convicted of murdering her husband, Gabriel, and now refuses to speak, refuses to tell anyone why she did it. Theo Faber is a psychotherapist who has a keen interest in Alicia’s case. He is convinced he can get her to speak and help her if he can only secure himself a job at The Grove. When he spies a job opening, he makes sure to charm in the interview and soon Alicia is his patient. Making her speak, uncovering what really happened on the night of the murder is, of course, his big challenge. It’s not just work that’s stressing Theo out though, he is married to Cathy, an American actress, and knows his wife is keeping secrets from him, how much can he really trust her?
The Silent Patient has a perfectly pitched fast pace and is truly brilliant at keeping that plot-carrot dangling, you NEED to know how this story is going to play out. I have to admit I was expecting a plot twist (they seem to be almost prerequisite in all hyped psychological thrillers these days) and when it did happen, I actually had to rewind to make sure I had heard correctly, such was the level of its unexpectedness! I’m pondering whether this is a good thing – as in: I did NOT see that coming – or if it just plays for thrills and pushes the plot too much into unbelievable territory; but then I have to remind myself this is a psychological thriller, that, ultimately, I really enjoy reading (listening to) so I need to go with the flow! Perfect for your thriller reading list.
I’d be intrigued to know what you thought of this one, if you’ve read it?
/ Published by Orion 2019
/ Audiobook narrated by Jack Hawkins and Louise Brealey
/ Running time: 8 hours 32 mins
/ Rating: 4/5