2020 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge · 2020 Reviews · contemporary fiction · medical · mystery · suspense · thriller

POPSUGAR READING CHALLENGE 2020: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

pop sugar 2020 16 April

Today I am marking off my twelfth #12 checkpoint category for the POPSUGAR READING CHALLENGE 2020 with:

a medical thriller pop sugar

With film rights snapped up by an Oscar winning Hollywood production company, rightsthe silent patient small sold in a world record 43 territories, and rave blurbs from David Baldacci, Lee Child and A.J. Finn, The Silent Patient is the international, million-copy bestseller that you need to read this year.

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 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?

THE SILENT PATIENT is a heart-stopping debut thriller about a woman’s brutal and random act of violence against her husband – and the man obsessed with discovering why.


‘It is hard to imagine two more different women than Kathy or Alicia. Kathy makes me think of light, warmth, colour and laughter. When I think of Alicia, I think only of depth, of darkness, of sadness.

Of silence.’

The Silent Patient by debut novelist Alex Michaelides, is a medical based thriller that pulls in themes of love, obsession, infidelity, trauma, deception and mental illness. Praised by Stephen Fry and Lee Child among others, The Silent Patient is one truly addictive page turner.

The Silent Patient relays the story of a troubled woman named Alicia, who is incarcerated in an institution for those who have a mental illness. Since she was discovered with her dead husband’s body, which was riddled with gunshot wounds, Alicia refuses to speak a word about this crime.  Alicia is a woman with a dark family history and it is assumed that in choosing silence over a confession, Alicia is guilty of the crime of killing her husband. After years of continued silence, a new psychotherapist takes on Alicia’s case. He hopes to get further with her than any other previous physician. But Theo’s obsession for this case, crime and woman may cloud his ability to penetrate the depths of Alicia’s silence. What will the truth reveal if Theo can get Alicia to open up to him?

A screenwriter who originally hails from Cyprus, Alex Michaelides forged a successful career in the film industry before penning his debut novel. The Silent Patient is a book that has brought the author immediate success, with the novel reaching a worldwide audience and it has secured a movie deal. I look forward to seeing this novel play out on the big screen, as it definitely has a strong visual quality, which I feel must be down to the author’s background in screenwriting.

I really appreciated the narrative structure of The Silent Patient, we are immersed in the here and now of the book, through Theo’s eyes in the present day. Then we transported back into the past and inside the mind of Alicia, the silent patient of the tale. By reading the supplied diary entries carefully woven into the narrative we are privy to a back story that is marred by love, trauma and mental illness. I thought these aspects of the novel were painted well by Michaelides. Drawing on his Greek/Cypriot heritage has allowed the author to intricately tie in a sub thread on the tragic Greek figures Alcestis. I found this to be a very clever and creative literary device.

There is something very authentic about the institution based and psychiatry focused scenes in The Silent Patient, that I can only deduce to being drawn from the author’s academic background in psychology and his previous experience of working in this field. The novel felt realistic and believable, but also insightful. It also made me feel somewhat down about the treatment of vulnerable people in care. It was an eye opening journey into the mental health system.

The novel itself is driven highly by the central suspense mystery involving why Alicia is silent and the question over what is she possibly hiding. We also wonder if Alicia really did shoot her husband five times. This aspect of the thriller motivated me to turn page after page at a significant speed, until I realised I had got to the end of the novel in just one evening sitting! And I thought I was pretty clever and I had worked out the mystery for once. However, Michaelides pulled the wool over my eyes and completely bamboozled me with a shocking plot twist late in the game!

I have already been recommending this one to readers that I know have a penchant for strong psychological/medical thrillers. The Silent Patient comes with a gold star approval rating from me and I’m looking forward to the next production from Alex Michaelides.

**** 4.5 stars

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides was published on January 29th 2019 by Hachette Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of The Silent Patient, Alex Michaelides, visit here.

4 thoughts on “POPSUGAR READING CHALLENGE 2020: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

  1. Oh wow, you’ve marked off another category, good on you! Soon you’ll be well in front of me but I expect that because you’re a reading machine lol.
    I love medical thrillers and this one sounds awesome going by your review. I don’t read enough of them but I do have one earmarked for this category. I’m also about to post my #14 on Goodreads.

    Hope you don’t mind but I’m replying back to you here instead of on your ‘Where the Truth Lies’ blog post. I mentioned whether I should review the audiobook without having read the book not that I usually read a book after I’ve listened to an audiobook but this one was so well received and raved about that I think to get an accurate review I have to read it as the narrator although he was amazing he also sounded rough and boganish (because of the nature of the story, no doubt) that I need to read/hear it in my own voice as well, anyway, I went to Big W this morning and bought the book, lol. So now I do have to make time to read it. I’ll give you a hint you gave the book a very low star rating and I…. well, we’ll have to wait for me to read the book hehehe.


    1. Thank you, yes I am now caught up but if I don’t get another 4 out this month I’ll be behind yet again! I have one ready to go hopefully for this week. You are doing really well with Pop Sugar especially getting to the advanced stage. Medical thrillers are a great category aren’t they? This was a an excellent category. I think I’m up to date with your Goodreads posts I’ve been trying to keep in top of them, please let me know if I’ve missed any!

      Now with the reply from the other thread on Where the Truth Lies, that’s fine! Sounds like you have made a good choice and you may feel better now having read the book and listened to the audio, I think for me it would be about time. I’ve been listening to the same audio book for weeks now! Eventually when I’m done I will be using it for a pop sugar category.

      I think I have a feeling what that book may be… either way I’m keen to hear your thoughts!


      1. You’re doing so well Amanda, I thank you for commenting on all my Goodreads reviews, you are definitely up to date. I don’t feel like I’m doing well, I look at all the books in my trolley then on my coffee table and I think to myself that I’ll never have them read by the end of the year, I’m keeping my fingers crossed though and trying really hard to read as fast as I can.

        Wow, you’re listening to an audiobook? That’s terrific! At least listening to the audiobook won’t have been in vain if you’re using it for a pop sugar category.
        For me it’s about time too that is why the book hasn’t been read yet lol. You know what we need to do, spend more time reading and less time on the laptop/phone/TV. Hee hee.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks your for your encouragement, I feel like I haven’t made a dent in those pop sugar books, my trolley is full! I’ve had to move most to the top shelf due to a sausage dog that likes to steal and chew books! I think with the isolation and a slower pace of life you will be able to get through your books. I think the trick is less tv, social media and phone.

        Yes I’ve had an audio book going for a awhile, I’ve listened to it on our exercise bike and walking. It’s taking ages to get through though!It will come in useful when I finish it though, its a pop sugar category!


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