Book 18 on my “March to 100 for 2019″—Alex Michaelides: The Silent Patient—A criminal psychotherapist attempts to extract a story from a mute murderer.
A famous painter, Alicia Berenson, is found smoking gun in hand standing over the bound body of her murdered husband, Gabriel. With no other suspects, the police instantly assumes that Alicia committed the murder. She utters not a single word in her defense or in explanation for the heinous crime and is committed to a criminal mental institution.
A psychotherapist transfers to the hospital with the sole intent to treat the mute patient and test whether she will ever utter any story. As he digs into her past, he discovers many unsavory characters. Did the gallery owner who now holds her valuable paintings attempt to prevent losing her business? Or did a psychiatrist who treated her off the books try to keep his secret from the authorities? Was Gabriel the honest husband or a philanderer who brought mischief to his wife?
And what of Alicia’s own sordid past, with an abusive father and a history of challenges? Was she always on the edge of a mental break?
Even our psychotherapist has secrets in his life, with a wife who is carrying on an illicit affair?
This twisting tale is told in first person, both in the form of Alicia’s diary as well as the psychotherapist’s point of view, leading you to wonder who is telling the truth and who even knows what the truth is.
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