On Deception – A Review of Alex Michaelides’ The Silent Patient

Wow. This book reminded me so much of the Netflix Original Series You. A psychopath trying to prove to the world he is the good guy. A narcissist, if you will. Okay. You’s protagonist, Joe may be a bit crazier than our Theo Faber. But, I promise you they are both equally twisted in the head.

We are prefaced with Alicia Berenson sending five rounds of bullets to her husband, Gabriel Berenson’s face. The motive? Well, that’s what her psychotherapist, Theo Faber has been obsessing over 6 years after the shooting. She will not speak nor show emotions when spoken to, and wears a poker face so well that no one can figure her out.

“Only she knows what happened. Only I can make her speak.”

These were the famous words of Theo, which had us all wondering what made him so confident? So confident that in the 6 years after the shooting, that he would be the one to get her to talk when nobody else had succeeded in the past.

Our unreliable narrator (Theo) tells about his own troubled past as well as our own silent patient’s. Her mother committed suicide when she was barely a teen, and her father verbally wished his own daughter’s death in place of his wife’s. Theo had his own issues as well, but I won’t spoil that for you. Manipulation, power dynamics, dysfunctional family relationships, and vengeance are just some of the popular themes of this book. There is a twist at the end that nobody saw coming, but everything tied in so well together that it all made sense in the end. So, what was the motive? Is Alicia saved and does she talk again? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

“Perhaps some of us are simply born evil, and despite our best efforts we remain that way.”


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