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The silent patient
2019
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New York Times Review
The essential component of their formula is a worthy villain, someone just like the sieko here, who shoots videos of unsuspecting women to study at his leisure ("He takes his time, enjoys himself"). Once he's whipped himself up into a froth, this merciless madman returns to claim his prey with another horrific murder. The sadistic twist here is that he sends the videos of his future victims to the National Crime headquarters in Stockholm, daring the police to outwit him before he kills again. Margot Silverman, a police expert on serial killers, spree killers and stalkers, is properly worked up by these taunts, which also prods into action Joona Linna, a living legend in crime circles and the heavyweight of the Kepler series. The third member of the team is Erik Maria Bark, a specialist in disaster trauma and an authority in clinical hypnotherapy, who treats us to an impressive example of his skills ("The only thing you're listening to is my voice ... "). This is not a book for anyone on heart medication. Kepler is a virtuoso at delivering scenes of suspense, proving it here with an unnerving sequence in which a woman senses the silent killer who is stalking her. He also loves to drop severed body parts into a story, even when it isn't strictly necessary to advance the plot. But that's the deal with Kepler: If you want the thrills, you've got to expect the chills. PETER ROBINSON writes the kind of mysteries they don't write anymore: smart, civilized whodunits that are intellectually challenging, emotionally engaging and always discreet. Can you imagine a cop who concludes a suspect interview by saying: "Sorry to have bothered you at dinnertime. And I apologize if some of our questions caused you discomfort." That gentlemanly policeman is Alan Banks, a Yorkshire homicide detective who appears in CARELESS LOVE (Morrow/HarperCollins, $26.99), his 25th outing in the series dedicated to his sleuthing. No one expects cops to be au courant with the latest fashions. Nonetheless, Banks knows that a young woman found dead at the scene of an auto accident would not get all dolled up and neglect to take her handbag, and that a man who supposedly fell to his death in a ravine would not have gone for a stroll on Tetchley Moor wearing an expensive suit. The double-sided puzzle, which strikes Banks as "a three-pipe problem," involves, among other things, a sex-trafficking racket. But we also appreciate the well-drawn women, the keen character analysis and, of course, the company of a true gentleman. Wearing red to a wedding reception might seem rude, but wearing red while dead seems downright uncouth. The bride certainly doesn't take it very well when a dead woman in a red dress spoils her big day in THE WEDDING GUEST (Ballantine, $28.99), Jonathan Kellerman's latest mystery featuring Alex Delaware. A child psychologist who is often consulted by the Los Angeles Police Department, Delaware has no children to tend to here, but he does find a lot of childish grownups at the Aura, the former strip joint Brearley and Garrett Burdette whimsically chose for their "Saints and Sinners"-themed party. Although the corpse is admired for her fashion sense - "The dress is Fendi, the shoes are Manolo, and the hair is awesome" - no one seems to know who she is. This means Delaware has a suspect pool of about 100 people, from the mother of the bride ("Botoxed as smooth as a freshly laundered bedsheet") to the busboys. One-on-one interviews are Kellerman's strong suit, so expect some shrewd instant analyses and unwittingly funny observations - like "Destroying a wedding has a personal feeling." "No crazy thoughts allowed," promises the diarist who narrates THE SILENT PATIENT (Celadon, $26.99), a predictable if disturbing first novel by Alex Michaelides. Don't fall for that one; there are plenty of crazy thoughts - and crazier events - in this psychological thriller. The two main characters, both inclined to craziness, are extremely well matched. Alicia Berenson appeared to be a happily married woman when she tied her husband to a chair and shot him five times in the face. Why she did it remains a mystery, because she never spoke again. Theo Faber, her psychotherapist at the institution where she is locked up, seems normal enough at first. And it's obvious that he's giving it his all. But Alicia is a tough nut to crack - "I know all this sounds crazy," she admits in her diary - and therapy increasingly becomes a battle between crazy and crazier. Marilyn STASIO has covered crime fiction for the Book Review since 1988. Her column appears twice a month.
Library Journal Review
Michaelides's debut is a captivating study of the characters linked to Alicia Berenson, a famous painter who inexplicably shot the husband she loved and then chose never to utter a single word again-not even to defend herself as she was tried and then institutionalized in a secure psychiatric facility in London. Theo Faber, a psychotherapist determined to help Alicia, tells the story of how he tried to unlock her secrets and get her talking again. Sandwiched between his storytelling, Michaelides scatters entries from Alicia's diary of the days leading to that ill-fated night to help build suspense and intrigue. Some aspects of the story seemed predictable, but the emotional twists and amazing turns will carry readers through the most contrived plot points. The narration by Jack Hawkins and Louise Brealey is like a two-person theatrical performance. Hawkins artfully uses different voices to portray each character, capturing the emotion and complexity of each individual. Brealey's reading of the diary stirs empathy and a deep understanding of Alicia's tragic character. Verdict The book is receiving much-deserved buzz, but the audio production and exceptional narration make the characters feel real. ["Dark, edgy, and compulsively readable": LJ 11/1/18 review of the Celadon hc.]-Gladys Alcedo, -Wallingford, CT © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
Psychotherapist Theo Faber, the emotionally fragile narrator of Michaelides's superb first novel, finagles his way to a job at the Grove, a "secure forensic unit" in North London, where artist Alicia Berenson has been housed for six years since she was convicted of murdering her prominent fashion photographer husband, Gabriel. The evidence against Alicia was clear-Gabriel was tied to a chair and shot several times in the face with a gun that had only her fingerprints. Since the day of her arrest, Alicia has never said a word. Before the murder, Alicia painted a provocative self-portrait entitled Alcestis, based on a Greek myth that seemed to echo her life. Her current therapists reluctantly agree to let Theo treat the heavily drugged Alicia to get her to speak. The boundary between doctor and patient blurs as Theo, who admits he became a therapist "because I was fucked-up," seeks to cure his own emotional problems in the course of treating Alicia. This edgy, intricately plotted psychological thriller establishes Michaelides as a major player in the field. 200,000-copy announced first printing. Agent: Sam Copeland, Rogers, Coleridge & White (U.K.). (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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