Book Review:The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides is a fantastic debut with a twist that changes everything. This book is a little Hitchcockian with the added bonus of a greek tragedy, it will keep you on the edge of your seat until you know the truth, but once you know the big twist there’s another one coming and it is great one two. This novel makes you not trust anyone as everyone has flaws, some own those flaws and and others hide them dark and deep. One of the better twist I’ve read in a novel since Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager, my top book of last year. The Silent Patient just took the top spot in mystery away from the also excellent An Anonymous Girl By Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. This novel is more than the twist is intrigued me from the start and did not let go. What I consider a great mystery is when, twist makes since and also you gave the audience enough clues to figure it out, for me that’s what this book did, and it deserves a slow clap, because it fooled me and I could not be happier, I hate when I figure out an ending, but I didn’t know where this was going an the unreliable people that could have done it were plenty. The ending will stick with me for a while like Gone Girl By Gillian Flynn and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins where I got the mystery all wrong.

The Plot: Alicia Berenson is a semi famous painter who adores her husband Gabriel also an artist deals in photography. They were happily married for 7 years, but 6 years ago Alicia is found covered in blood with her husband shot multiple times. Alicia went it to a catatonic and stopped speaking, and has been that way for the past 6 years. Theo Faber is a psychotherapist that can feel the empathy of those he works with, he has grown obsessed with Alicia’s case over the years, and when an opportunity come to take a position at the Grove where Alicia is held comes up he must take it. He thinks he’s can get her to speak and tell what really happened that night.

What I Liked: The pace and flow make this 336 page book so easy to read. The way the novel is set up got me hooked form the start and made have to know what happened. The twists will make you mouth drop. It made the theme of stage tragedies work really well. The suspects all have motive but as you get to know them they also show in some cases multiple sides, so all remain questionable. I did not guess any of the mystery correctly, but when all revealed it made since. Having Theo tell the story has a potential book really works as he get to play detective to unlock Alicia’s mind.

What I Disliked: When all is revealed I wanted a bit more the wrap up was good, but I wanted a better explanation about some parts. I had to keep reminding myself this was England than America. But that’s it really solid debut.

Recommendation: I liked this book a lot it was my kind of mystery, a quick read with amazing twist that change everything, even though they were right in front of your face the whole time. If you like big twist books like Gone Girl By Gillian Flynn, Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager, and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins then you will love this book. I rated The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides a big 5 out of 5 stars. I look forward to a lot more work from this author. I love when the hype for a book is real.

Book Review: The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

What a debut for A.J. Finn with The Woman in the Window. It’s kind of a new twist on Rear Window, but enough of it own story to satisfy. I did like that the author is aware of this and brings up both films Rear Window and Disturbia. Where Rear Window it was a broken leg that kept him inside and Disturbia it was house arrest that kept him inside, in this agoraphobia is what keeps Anna Fox, or Doctor Fox. Agoraphobia is the fear of crowds, the outside, basically a fear of anywhere but in her home, she can’t even venture into her own backyard. This novel brings up a lot of films, A. J. Finn must be a cinephile, but for the most part the films are noir, which if I had to define this book, that definitely would be the way to describe it. This book is kind of an amalgam of a lot of noir plots, but with it’s own twist.

I was just announced that Amy Adams is attached to lead, Gary Oldman is in talks, I would guess for Alister.

The Plot is: Anna Fox is a child psychiatrist, she not practicing at the moment, she has not left her house for the last 10 months, due to severe agoraphobia. She stays drugged up and drunk most days. Her family is husband Ed and daughter Olivia who live elsewhere because of separation. She recently rented out a basement room to David who is a quiet loner, he does the outdoor chores for Dr.Fox. Anna is a people watcher due to here condition, and an amateur photographer, she used to travel the world and take pictures, now she take pictures of her neighbors. Anna’s life get interesting when a couple of new neighbors move in across from her. The Russell’s are Alister, Jane and their teenage son Ethan. Ethan visits Dr. Fox and brings a candle from his mother being nice and neighborly. Later she meets Jane Russell who she has a pleasant conversation with, Then She meet Alister who is very hostile and wants to know everything about their visit Anna covers for the woman. Later she See’s Jane Russell murdered. But the police find nothing wrong at the Russell’s Jane is fine only the woman she saw murdered is not the Jane Russell that the family knows. This is a really clever psychological with many twist and turns.

What I liked: This book is really easy to read, the chapter’s are short like a James Patterson Novel, but it’s written better than that. The perspective of Anna was really interesting, reminded me of Rachel from The Girl on a Train, because she’s so untrustworthy as a narrator thanks to the pills and all the wine she consumes. The final twist was good I guessed it a couple chapters before but was still excited by the outcome. This novel relies on the unspoken tension, then leading the audience through teases, there’s a couple, but the way it’s written you get a lot of knowledge and feeling from knowing something is not right, and I found this really powerful. All the film knowledge, and classic film talk, I actually went out and bought Hitchcock’s Vertigo because this novel does such a good job talking about the film. I liked the character’s of Dr. Fox, Ethan, Little, and Ed Fox.

What I disliked: The plot was just too close to Rear Window, it such put i’s own twist on it and I was still surprised at times, but one storyline is the exact same. One twist was very obvious to me I called it really early, And it took too long to reveal, I did like the backstory of the twist.

I recommend this novel to fan’s of Mystery and Noir. Film fans will get a kick out of this novel and how the films are discussed. Some of the films mentioned are, Vertigo, Shadow of a Doubt, Rope, Rebecca, Strangers on the Train, Gaslight, Laura, Whirlpool, and Double Indemnity, as well as films I’m forgetting. I rated this 4.2 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”

For a book written 80 years ago, it’s pretty exciting, and beautifully written. The dialogue was excellent and went with every character. The first line is one the one lines that not even having read the book, I knew because it was so popular. I will say having watched Downton Abbey really helped me visualize the wait staff and understood how they can gossip and get so involved with the family, that they feel apart of it. This story would mess up the book “he’s not really into to you” Mr. de Winter is not great at expressing his feelings or secrets.

The Plot is. Mr. de Winter is taking a holiday to get away from Manderley, a mansion, where the late Mrs. de Winter has just drowned on the property. He meets a woman with nothing in terms of money that is pure and innocent. He quickly marries her making her the new Mrs. de Winter. When she moves to Manderley everything reminds her of Rebecca de Winter, the first Mrs. de Winter, this novel takes insecurity to a whole new level as she already feels she is losing her husband as she feels lesser when compared to Rebecca, whom was a socialite and seemed to charm everybody. There’s also a mystery involving the death of Rebecca, and who was involved. This novel I would fit in to the category of gothic thriller.

What I liked: The twist is really good when it is revealed, it was not what I was thinking but was very satisfied with it. The descriptions are fantastic I was able to picture everything vividly. There’s a little slow burn to this story but the plot keeps you interested leading up to the mystery.

What I didn’t like: if you’ve read other reviews I usually have a lot to say the only thing I could say is after you know the twist there’s another mystery involving the twist that took a little too long to wrap up. but that’s all, this is definitely one of my favorites.

When it was written feminism it’s what is now so the new Mrs. de Winter, is not a person that braces individualism and does everything to try to impress Mr. de Winter.  It does work well for the plot and her naiveté and willingness to please Mr. de Winter is used against her.

I have not seen the Hitchcock film but plan to do that soon, I like to read a book and reward myself with the movie. All though sometimes it’s not a reward but a punishment.  I still like to do it.

I recommend this to anybody looking for a great book, with a good twist, for a classic, it’s one not to miss.  I’m trying to read a classic every month.  This year I read this and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.