The Silent Patient was one of the most popular books of 2019. Written by British–Cypriot author Alex Michaelides, this thriller was an impressively successful debut.
The novel’s style is heavily inspired by the writing of Agatha Christie and is narrated by psychotherapist Theo Faber. The story is all about a patient in a psychiatric facility.
So let’s say you’ve read the Silent Patient, and are looking for other gripping books like it. Where is the best place to start?
If you’re wondering about this, then you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’re going to give you a list of the 10 best books like The Silent Patient.
If you enjoyed The Silent Patient, you’ll love titles like The Therapist, Thirteen, Gone Girl, Sister, The Girl on The Train, and many more. We’ve also made sure to include a short Frequently Asked Questions section to help answer anything else you might be wondering about.
Main Themes Of The Silent Patient
Tragedy And Fate
Author Alex Michaelides modeled The Silent Patient after the plot of a classic Greek Tragedy play called Alcestis. By using the work of the Greek Playwright Euripides, the story shares many of the same themes.
Greek Tragedies tend to follow two important story beats. The first is the idea of an impending tragedy—usually brought on by the protagonist’s own ego.
The second is the idea of fate and how characters are unable to escape it.
This idea of fate is one of the themes that makes The Silent Patient so interesting, as fate is not something often seen in modern storytelling; especially thriller novels.
By using these ancient storytelling devices, Michaelides creates fantastical elements in his story that make the plot unique yet familiar.
Another key theme of The Silent Patient is the idea of empathy. Since the novel takes place inside a psychiatric institution, a lot of the novel is to do with psychological pain and trauma.
Theo Faber—the novel’s main character—attempts to understand the pain his patients are feeling. This stems from his own childhood trauma, which he was unable to process for a long time.
Childhood Trauma is a big theme of this novel and one that links to our previously mentioned themes of Tragedy, Fate, and Empathy.
The main character of these novels has a belief that all pain and trauma stem from childhood. This ties to the idea of Greek tragedy and fate.
The novel explores the idea that perhaps childhood trauma is the modern version of fate, and whether or not a person is able to escape this.
Linking back to the title of the novel, the ‘silent patient’ is Alicia Berenson, who is completely mute due to past trauma. The concept of silence is one that her therapist—Theo Faber—finds difficult to overcome.
His brand of therapy is all to do with speaking, uncovering truths, and finding talking over the root of trauma. The novel explores the idea of communication and how humans can reconcile with their past.
Books Like The Silent Patient
Gone Girl is a 2012 thriller novel by Gillian Flynn. It is widely regarded as one of the most impressive crime-thriller novels of the 2012s.
Blending a mysterious plot with an unreliable narrator and a lot of tension, this is a great choice if you love the mysterious, crime-themed characters of The Silent Patient.
- Fast Paced: With lots of plot twists and constant mind-bending revelations.
- Prose: Very well written.
- Iconic: One of the most iconic novels of the 2010s.
- Mental Health: Doesn’t share much with The Silent Patient in terms of theme.
Themes: Identity, Dishonesty, Manipulation, Media, Marriage
Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh is the third novel concerning fictional criminal defense attorney Eddie Flynn.
If you’re looking for a shocking crime thriller that shares a similar pace with The Silent Patient, this is really going to grip you.
As Eddie Flynn tries to clear the name of his movie-star client, he begins to suspect that the real killer might be very close; perhaps close enough to be on the jury.
- Thriller Pace: Extremely fast-paced.
- Realism and Law: Great realism from crime to the judicial system helps the books feel alive.
- Mystery: The book is a well-constructed puzzle that keeps you guessing.
- Judicial Setting: Leans heavily on the judicial setting which is quite different from The Silent Patient.
Themes: Crime, Punishment, Justice, Lies, Deception, Secrets
This novel by Paula Hawkins takes place in a familiar setting. The main character Rachel watches a couple each day on her morning commute, wondering about their life.
When the woman of this couple goes missing, Rachel begins to insert herself into the investigation, and the story transforms into a twisted psychological thriller.
This is a great choice if you’re interested in the psychological aspects of the Silent Patient and want something that will challenge your perception in the same way.
- Unreliable Narrator: An unreliable narrator that makes the novel intriguing on re-reads.
- Psychological Thriller: Many twists and turns, all related to psychology.
- Clarity: You might be left confused at the end of the novel, and have to re-read in order to understand everything.
Themes: Family, Love, Identity, Secrets, Morality.
Sister is a thriller/suspense novel by Rosamund Lupton.
After her pregnant sister allegedly commits suicide, protagonist Beatrice refuses to believe this and embarks upon an obsessive investigation into her death and her past.
When she discovers evidence of a serial predator, she begins to unravel secrets. If you’re looking for a lightning-fast read that will keep you hooked on some shocking twists, then this is a great choice.
- Family Relationships: The close connections of the characters in this novel fuel the narrative and create relatable tension for the reader.
- Pace: extremely fast-paced with a plot that will keep the reader guessing.
- Depth: Lacks some of the thematic depth of other novels on this list.
Themes: Family, Crime, Murder, Predators, Sisterhood.
Before I Go To Sleep is the debut novel from S.J Watson. It is a fast thriller that deals heavily with the disorder known as ‘anterograde amnesia. Each day, she awakes with no knowledge of the past or who she is.
As the story progresses, we begin to learn more about her life and that something truly strange is going on under the surface of things.
If you’re interested in reading a thriller grounded in a psychological condition, then this is going to enthrall you from start to finish.
- Unique Character: Christine’s mental condition makes her perspective thrilling and unique to read about.
- Pace: A fast-paced novel that will have you turning the pages without even thinking.
- Ending: The ending has been seen as unsatisfactory by many readers.
Themes: Identity, Motherhood, Family, Memory, Psychology.
If you particularly enjoyed the setting of The Silent Patient, then you might be interested in Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough.
This novel tells the story of Louise, a single mom, and secretary to a renowned psychiatrist. As the story progresses, she begins to learn a lot about their couple and finds that nothing is as it seems.
We would suggest this novel if you’re looking for something that reads like a mix between The Silent Patient and The Girl On The Train, then this novel is going to be a great choice.
- Unreliable Narrator: Aspects of unreliable narration allow you to read this novel more than once.
- Plot Twists: Big plot twists that will keep you gripped throughout.
- Originality: Does feel like old ground if you’ve read a lot of this genre before.
Themes: Mental Health, Recluse, Mystery, Relationships, Narrators.
Next up we have a page-turning read that explores the mental state of career women trying to find their way in the world. The Rival is a double-narrative that follows two characters—Helena and Ashley.
If you’re interested in the mental health aspects of adulthood, weaving an intriguing, character-focused plot that will keep you reading for
- Characterization: Great, deep characters that will leave you captivated.
- Mental Health & Psychology: The novel becomes an interesting exploration of motherhood and mental health.
- Dual Narrative: Makes for an interesting read as the novel switches perspectives.
- Lack of Mystery: If you’re looking for a novel with a lot of mystery, this might not be the book for you.
Themes: Work, Motherhood, Feminism, Mental Health, Identity.
Next up, we have a novel that is all about twists, heartbreak, and a thriller plot that will take you away.
Him by Claire Empson follows the story of Catherine—who is mute and treated in a psychiatric facility after experiencing a traumatic experience.
If this sounds similar to The Silent Patient, that’s because it is, only with some key differences.
Him will then take you back sixteen years into the past as you learn more about Catherine and the events that led her to her current mental state.
If you’re looking for a dark story about the passage of time and the impact of relationships, then this is going to be a book that you pick up and don’t put down for quite some time.
- Mental Health & Psychology: Like The Silent Patient, this novel explores a mute character being treated for their mental health.
- Characterization: Him will take you on a long journey through the lives of two characters and explore them in great detail.
- Pace: A little slower than some of the other novels on our list, mostly due to its deep character development.
Themes: Mental Health, Relationships, Mutism, Trauma.
What was one of the most successful thriller novels of 2018, The Woman In The Window by AJ Finn makes its way to number 9 on our list.
If you are a fan of Gillian Flynn or Tana French, expect a similar kind of pace that will sweep you off your feet and deep into long reading sessions.
The story follows an agoraphobic woman who refuses to leave her New York City house. When new neighbors move in across the street, a glance out of the window reveals a series of shocking secrets that change her life forever.
- Pace And Plot: Lighting-fast plot where every chapter changes your perception of the story.
- Psychological Thriller: Combines a unique perspective with a lot of suspense for a gripping read.
- Beginning: Although the plot gets fast and gripping later, it is a little slower to get going than some of the other books on our list.
Themes: Mental Health, Relationships, Secrets, Betrayal, Trauma
This is a novel that explores the complexities of a relationship. Behind Closed Doors follows the couple Jack and Grace, who appear from the outside to be the perfect, traditional couple.
However, there is something very strange about their relationship. The more you read, the more things begin to unwind, and the more you find out about their strange and deadly relationship.
- Pace: A fast-paced novel where secrets are revealed every few chapters.
- Deep Characters: Characters with layers that become more interesting the more you read.
- Similarities: Only similar to The Silent Patient in terms of mystery and pacing.
Themes: Relationships, Romance, Secrets, Family
So there you have it! That was our list of 10 gripping books like The Silent Patient. We hope that this guide has helped you to find something similar that you’ll enjoy just as much.
We made sure to include the works of many different contemporary authors, as well as novels composed of some of the same themes and settings.
One of the problems with trying to find a book like The Silent Patient is trying to pick a book with the same level of understanding to do with psychology and the inner workings of a psychological institution, however, one of the main reasons that the novel works so well is because of its pace.
The novels we included all create similar mysteries and deliver enthralling payoffs. If you still have some questions about this guide, check below for our short FAQ section.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is The Silent Patient A Scary Book?
Although The Silent Patient is not a horror novel, it has an aura of intense psychological distress that some readers may find scary.
It’s not a novel for the faint of heart and deals with difficult themes of childhood trauma, mental health, and tragedy.
What Does Alcestis Represent In The Silent Patient?
In Short, Alcestis (and Alicia’s self-portrait) represent repressed pain and the impossibility of transforming trauma into words. This is a central theme of the novel.
What Makes A Good Thriller Novel?
Thriller novels are complex novels to write and often take a lot of experience for a writer to be able to capture the reader.
A good thriller novel will usually have a tight plot, a fast pace, and simplistic but impactful prose.
What Is A Psychological Thriller?
A Psychological Thriller—often mistaken for a horror book—is a thriller that takes advantage of the reader’s psychology in order to evoke interest, fear, disgust, or any other strong emotion.
Psychological thrillers are often difficult to read but gripping, and usually feature complex central characters who struggle with both internal and external plot devices.