The Silent Patient was THE mystery thriller of 2019, with numerous friends and library patrons telling me I had to read it. I don’t know why it took me so long to pick this one up but I am glad I read it because I was hooked from the first page. I would highly recommend this book, especially if you like stories with a lot of twists and turns.
A prompt in one of the reading challenges I am working on this year was: “a book in which an animal or inanimate object is a point of view character.” Having already read the great “The Art of Racing in the Rain,” I could not think of another book that would apply to this prompt. Thanks to a Goodreads group, I found “A Dog About Town” which had an interesting enough premise for me to want to read it. While the book was entertaining enough, I didn’t find the mystery to be that compelling or enough to keep me interested in whodunit.
This book was a roller coaster of emotions. I wanted to read it based on the “Dexter meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith” description I was seeing everywhere but I have to say that it didn’t feel like either of those to me. While there is murder and a husband and wife dynamic, this book felt like a MUCH, MUCH, darker “Gone Girl.” I am going to recommend this to people with a caveat…you need to be comfortable with reading a book about horrible people who commit murder for no other reason than the thrill of it.
This was my first time reading a James Patterson book and I chose the first in the Women’s Murder Club series because I had heard good things about it and Patterson actually wrote this book himself. (He is notorious for only writing a fraction of his books and writing outlines he gives to his co-authors to write the rest: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/james-patterson-doesnt-write-his-books-and-his-newest-readers-dont-read/2016/06/06/88e7d3c0-28c2-11e6-ae4a-3cdd5fe74204_story.html?utm_term=.65688512e329)
It took me a while to write this review because my feelings on this book are so conflicted. On one hand, I thought this was a well-crafted legal thriller that kept me guessing but the misogyny and racism that was rampant throughout the book was hard to take. I had to remind myself that this book was written in 1986 and the characters he wrote (lawyers, policeman, judges, etc…) would probably talk as he portrayed them. There were also a few scenes in which acts of brutal violence were described that took me off guard and left me feeling sick to my stomach. However, the mystery kept me guessing and the point of view writing style was interesting enough that I wanted to keep reading.
This is a book that I have seen appear on many “best of” lists in the past and has been on my radar for a while. While I enjoyed the book as a whole, I thought the start was slow and the writing style took some getting used to.