BOOK REVIEW : THE SILENT PATIENT

Author: Alex Michaelides
Links
: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository .
Publisher: Celadon Books.
Genre: Mystery; Thriller; Suspense.
Warnings: Violence, Mental sickness, Mentions of suicide.
Release Date: February 5th 2019.

synopsis

Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him…


review

So I finally rode what I’d like to call the hype-train, almost a YEAR after its release. Yes. But there’s a reason that I was late to the party. I’d found the premise very intriguing, and yet I was wary after seeing all the hype. I mean, I can’t be the only one who’s been betrayed by the hype more often than not. And while I’m not on board with the idea that this book is perfect, I do understand the reason behind the raving reviews.

It’s the BIG TWIST. And right now I’m annoyed about it because I can’t actually go into details about my feelings about the book. That would just spoil the BIG TWIST. But the thing is, I didn’t find it to be a huge twist. Did it make me go WTF when I read the reveal? Of course. But, was it completely unexpected? Uh, no. See, I have this bad habit of trying to think of all possible scenarios that the story could lead to, when I start a book, especially a suspense. And the big twist did come to my mind among other possibilities. But I had definitely not expected it to go down the way it did. And the author sure deserves to be commended for that.

The story follows Psychotherapist Theo Faber as he takes up a job at an institution just so that he could personally treat Alicia Berenson, a popular painter who went silent after allegedly killing her husband, and is residing in the same facility Theo joins. This story had quite a few things working against it right from the start. First was my inability to get on board with the motives of the characters. I kept constantly questioning the logic of the plot. Second was again my inability to connect with any of the characters. Third was the pacing. The pace is slow at first and the plot takes time to pick up. And finally, that ending… I felt that the while the twist took the story to a whole another level, it also forced the author to compromise a little with the storytelling. There were little questions still nagging me after the end. I would have liked the author taking a few more pages to wrap things up nicely.

As far as thrillers go, The Silent Patient delivers. Quite an impressive debut from the new writer. I liked it a lot, but it had potential to have had a higher impact on me. That’s where I feel that the story let me down. But I’d still recommend everyone to read it.


ratings

★★★☆☆

ARC REVIEW : LAST SUMMER

I always like it when a book surprises me in the end. And that final twist at the end certainly took me by surprise. But it felt a little too unreal and far-fetched to me. Also, the ending was bit of a cliff-hanger, with the author choosing to keep things a little open ended. While I could see where this could head to, but I’d also like a definitive ending.
Oh, how I wish I could rant properly about my complaints with the story! But it would be too spoiler-y for a book that hasn’t even released yet.
But any problems I have with this book are totally to do with my own rationale and personal opinions. This book definitely ticks the right boxes as far as the genre of thriller and suspense are concerned!

ratings

★★★☆☆

Publication Date: 9th July, 2019.
Source: ARC from Publisher (via Netgalley)

Links – Amazon | Goodreads

ARC REVIEW : THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY

In the early 2000s, a string of abductions rocked the small upstate town of Reine, New York. Only one girl survived: Alex Salerno. The killer, Ken Parsons, was sent away. Life returned to normal. No more girls would have to die. Until another one did.

It’s been twelve years since Kira Shanks was reported missing and presumed dead. Alex Salerno has been living in New York City, piecemealing paychecks to earn a livable wage, trying to forget those three days locked underground and her affair with Sean Riley, the married detective who rescued her. When Noah Lee, hometown reporter with a journalistic pedigree, requests an interview, Alex returns to Reine and Riley, reopening old wounds. What begins as a Q&A for a newspaper article soon turns into an opportunity for money, closure and—justice. The disappearance of Kira Shanks has long been hung on Benny Brudzienski, a hulking man-child who is currently a brain-addled guest at the Galloway State Mental Hospital. But after Alex reconnects with ex-classmates and frenemies, doubts are cast on that guilt. Alex is drawn into a dangerous game of show and tell in an insular town where everyone has a secret to hide. And as more details emerge about the night Kira Shanks went missing, Alex discovers there are some willing to kill to protect the horrific truth.

review

Alex is the girl that got away from being a victim of a serial killer. She was abducted by the killer but got rescued before she could be raped and killed like the previous victims of the killer. She moved away from her small town soon after the incident, after another girl – Kira Shanks – went missing and Alex became old news. She’s now back for what she thinks is a legit interview but turns out to be wild-goose chase by a lazy college student for a paper about Kira Shanks’ case.

This student claims that the guy caught for killing Kira Shanks is pretending to be mute and mentally unstable just to escape punishment. He also tells Alex that detective Riley, the same guy who had rescued Alex is trying to get Kira’s apparent Killer Benny saved. Alex who had an affair with the much older and married Riley after he rescued her when she was 17, gets the excuse to meet the guy again. She admits to still having feelings for him. But he is dismissive of her and that spurs Alex to dig up the truth.

Alex is a mess. She tends bars, walks dogs and sells pills for a living. Even therapy didn’t help her. She’s also very erratic, impulsive and unpredictable. Her motives for investingating the Kira Shanks case all by herself were shaky at best. At first, it looks like she just wants to reunite her ex-lover. Then she claims that she’s doing it for the money offered to her. Detective Riley takes her to the mental facility Benny is living in to meet him. She’s indignant that a criminal gets to live in a facility akin to a hotel. But a few pages later she talks about how looking into Benny’s eyes made her feel that he was innocent.

Honestly, even though Alex’s character kept giving me whiplash, and was treating other characters with disdain, I still felt for her. She was like a wary stray puppy to me who just needed some affection.

It was the storytelling, fast pace and the plotting that made it a very enjoyable thriller to me. The author kept it realistic.

The environment the author created was made for a perfect thriller. I didnt know what to expect. Even the ending was bittersweet. But I finally read a psychological thriller and mystery that kept me on my toes after a long time. I believe that it would make a great film adaptation!


review

★★★★★

Publication Date: 3rd December, 2018.
Source: ARC from Publisher (via Netgalley)

Links – Amazon | Goodreads | Book Depository

BOOK REVIEW : THE 7½ DEATHS OF EVELYN HARDCASTLE


The Rules of Blackheath:

Evelyn Hardcastle will be murdered at 11:00 p.m.
There are eight days, and eight witnesses for you to inhabit.
We will only let you escape once you tell us the name of the killer.
Understood? Then let’s begin…

Evelyn Hardcastle will die. Every day until Aiden Bishop can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others…

The most inventive debut of the year twists together a mystery of such unexpected creativity it will leave readers guessing until the very last page.


Another tick off the TBR List!

Right after finishing the book, a part of me needed to immediately write all my thoughts down, but another part of me needed to go to a cave somewhere and take a week to try make sense of what I just read. Well, obviously, I’m opting for the former.

The plot was brilliant. I had been told the gist of what the book was about before starting it, so I was confused for almost 100 pages about what was happening. I kept thinking – Is this part of the loop? Has it already started? Why does he keep talking about Anna instead of Evelyn? Who is dead? – I just couldn’t focus because I was too busy wondering when we would get to the point. That’s why, it’s always better to go into a book blind.

Yes, the plot was brilliant, but it made me feel dumb. Because I found myself rereading parts and going back to previous pages to make sense of some things. I felt overwhelmed for a long time. And there were so many characters that I had a hard time keeping track of them at first. Also, I felt like I didn’t get enough time with each of the characters to actually get invested in them. There were so many conversations and secrets and revelations to remember that at certain parts, I’d have to stop and try to recall them to understand what was happening presently. I could never see some of the twists coming. But I did find the final twist at the end to be convoluted.

This book was something else, entirely. I don’t think I can praise the creativity of the author enough. But I’m not sure if I’ve actually familiarized myself with all the plot details. It was a lot to take in. And I certainly need to reread this a couple of times to better appreciate this story.


★★★★☆


ARC Review : A Postmodern Love By Nick Totem

*I’d like to thank the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book in return of an honest review.*


Have you ever fallen in love and then had not just your life but your conception of life altered forever? Come and find out more in A POSTMODERN LOVE, a contemporary adult novel–romance, noire, psychological suspense.

In the end, a man is shot through the heart. Another man is driven to the edge of madness. Caught between them is Lana Fauves, a beautiful, intelligent woman, but one who is haunted by her past and the loss of her true love, a musical genius. In this fast-paced novel—romance, thriller, and noire—Thomas Wilde, a doctor and veteran of the Iraq War, will stop at nothing to win over the woman he has desperately fallen in love with. But amid the machinations of the modern world, will he find true love, or only heartache, deception, and murder?


A Postmodern Love slowly snuck up on me.  The prologue packs quite a punch. But the story itself takes time to build. I had a difficult time investing myself at the initial parts before the story slowly wielded its magic and began to engage me.

Obsessive love was the main theme here. And the protagonist who’s the narrator of the book is an obsessive person by nature. He makes it clear in the very first few pages where he gets infatuated by Lana the minute he lays his eyes on her. He even talks about a girl he was obsessed about back in college.

Thomas Wilde is a doctor who also served in the Iraq war. He quite possibly suffers from PTSD as nightmares about one tragic event from his time there keeps haunting him regularly. But when he meets Lana, it’s her mysterious beauty that begins to haunt him.

Lana was the most fascinating character. She’s written as a Femme Fatale to the T. You don’t know what’s going through her mind right till the end. The author quite cleverly keeps the readers wondering about her just as the protagonist.

The on and off relationship between Lana and Thomas only helps to exacerbate his infatuation for her. There are genuine postmodern elements of relationships at work here. On one hand, you can see Thomas willingly let his blind love for Lana leading him towards a point of no return. On another hand, you actually witness how Lana plays him perfectly. I didn’t like any of the characters but they were all intriguing. There is a depth to this book that I particularly enjoyed.

On a side note, I was distracted by the many grammatical errors which I hope won’t be in the final version.

My inability to empathize with the main characters created an emotional disconnection in me. But I would still call this psychological thriller an absorbing piece of storytelling


My Rating: ★★★☆☆


Publication Date: 29th January, 2019.
Source: ARC from Publisher (via Netgalley)
You can find this book on – Goodreads | Amazon

Book Review : Vicious (Villains #1) by V. E. Schwab

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.


Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?


I finally did it! Vicious is no longer on my TBR list and it feels so much lighter already!

There’s a reason it took me this long to start Vicious, even before the sequel was announced, despite seeing all the raving reviews about the book. The reason was my experience with The Monsters of Verity duology. It was an amazing series, no doubt. And it made me discover what a brilliant writer Schwab is. But that ending? It had brought me over the fence about reading anything else by her. I didn’t doubt Schwab’s masterful storytelling but I was wary of its impact on me. But I’m glad I finally took the jump and finished Vicious!



Vicious
was a roller-coaster ride and I enjoyed every moment of it. At the beginning, I was almost scared to proceed with the book when I was reading the Before parts. I knew that it was the calm before the storm. But I kinda wanted these two friends to not change despite feeling the undercurrents of more beneath the seemingly normalcy of their lives.

Having constant flash-forwards and flash-backwards can be a tricky thing to execute. It doesn’t always make for an effective method of story-telling. But Schwab makes it work. I don’t think the story would have been as intriguing if it was told in a linear timeline. It’s the anticipation of the cause and aftermath that makes Vicious so gripping right from the start.

The first half of the book has a simmering feel to it. I was engrossed but at the same time, kept wanting more. It was not until the dive into Serena’s psyche that I felt utterly captivated. Serena, to me, was the most chilling character, even among an ensemble of a crazy bunch of characters.

Almost all the characters in this book are substantial in not only the power they wield, but also in the way they are fleshed out. It is easy for some characters to lose their significance when you have so many things happening at once. But Schwab fleshed out each and every character with an unique voice that ensures none of them are dwarfed by another.

Victor, despite his eerie line of thinking, was endearing. The way he collects his strays, and cares for them without showing it, is just adorable. Even at the beginning, he seems to be the one giving more value to his friendship with Eli than the latter. Their enmity also feels to hold more magnitude for Vic than Eli.

I think, at the end, what differentiates Victor and Eli is Vic’s self-awareness. His awareness of his own faults and the darkness inside him makes him a much more logical character than Eli who lets his delusions rule him.

I don’t know who I wanted to hug more throughout the story – Vic or Sydney. The best part of the book for me was their bonding. And let’s not forget Mitch. He was the perfect addition to the duo of candy and spice that’s Sydney and Vic. Heh…

Do I regret waiting this long to start Vicious? No. I get to devour the sequel immediately now. How lucky is that? But I kinda almost wish there was no sequel? After the experience with that first series by Schwab, I’m feeling very nervous about what direction the sequel will take.

Whatever it be, Vicious was a piece of masterful storytelling with beautiful character development that everyone needs to read!



My Rating: ★★★★★

 

ARC Book Review: The Found Child by Jo Crow

* I received this ARC from the publisher through Netgalley for the purpose of honestly reviewing the book*


One mother’s life will change in the blink of an eye—and there’s no going back.
Elaine’s worst fears become reality when her beloved son Jakob is diagnosed with cancer. She needs to find a bone marrow donor, and time is running out. But while awaiting test results to see if she’s a possible match, Elaine learns a shocking truth about her son; a truth that threatens to send her back to the pills that almost destroyed her life once before; a truth that pushes her already fragile mental state to the breaking point.
Even as the family faces this new crisis, a ghost from Elaine’s past emerges to jeopardize everything she’s built. But is the threat real, or is it all in her mind? Elaine needs to stay strong for her son, but as her whole reality continues to unravel, she can’t trust anyone—not even herself.


The Found Child is a psychological thriller/suspense through and through. You don’t know what’s happening and who to trust for majority of the book. This book is nothing short of a roller-coaster ride for your mind.Read More »