Alicia Berenson, the woman who shot her husband five times in the head and became silent, is the subject of Alex Michaelides’ novel The Silent Patient, which brings together two parallel stories that weave in and out of one another. Faber, her forensic psychotherapist, is there to try and break this silence. Michaelides always keeps the reader guessing, planting clues and red herrings, and then revealing something that takes you back to the beginning. Thrillers like The Silent Patient, which are not all thrillers, each have a twist that shakes the reader in their narration and storytelling.
My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult
As a result, many of Picoult’s novels have unreliable narrators or ones who don’t tell us everything for one reason or another. My Sister’s Keeper is probably her most popular novel. When Anna, a “test-tube baby” born to save her younger sister’s life, decides to sue her parents for the rights to her own body, it throws the Fitzgerald family into turmoil, unable to make the impossible choice of which sister’s life is more significant.
Anna and Sara’s story is primarily told from their viewpoints, but we also hear from their father, brother, lawyer, and a slew of other characters along the way. With the use of multiple timelines, books like The Silent Patient can easily distort events, making the reveal all the more intense.
The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield
There are so many twists and turns in The Thirteenth Tale, it’s hard to put it down, and the ending is one of the most shocking I’ve ever seen in a book. I can’t wait to read more by this author.
At first, when novelist Vida Winter approaches Margaret Lea about writing her biography, Margaret is adamantly opposed to the idea of chronicling the life of the reclusive author. Vida has been a mystery and fascination to the press for years, but when she learned she was dying, she decided that Margaret was the only one who could tell her story.
Before meeting Vida, Margaret had decided to reject the offer. But after hearing Vida’s story, Margaret became enthralled and had to know the ending. To some extent, this is similar to books like The Silent Patient, in which you are drawn into a protagonist’s quest to discover the truth and then regret it later.
The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins
In books like The Silent Patient, multiple timelines and multiple points of view are used, creating a web of half and muddled truths that need to be untangled in order to understand what’s going on in the story. A divorcee and a drunk, Rachel struggles to keep her life together in The Girl on the Train, but she is cheered on her way to work by the happy marriage of a young couple who live right next door to her ex-husband and can be seen from the train.
Megan, Rachel’s wife, goes missing and her obsession with the case drives her to the brink of madness because she can’t remember anything about the night Megan went missing. As in The Silent Patient, there are multiple suspects and potential perpetrators in The Girl on the Train; as you learn more about Rachel, Megan, and Anna you begin to question whether any of them are completely innocent.
Is this your first time reading it? Find more books like The Girl on the Train on our list!
Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro
Never Let Me Go’s twist, when I realized what Kathy, Tommy and Ruth were, and how their lives came to mean, will never leave me. The twist in this novel, which is one of the saddest on this list, never ceases to astound or depress me.
At Hailsham, the boarding school where she and her two best friends, Ruth and Tommy, spent their formative years, Kathy tells her story. As Kathy tells us, she is a carer in the future who travels from hospital to hospital tending to the sick. There isn’t anything out of the ordinary about the world they live in.
The strangeness of Hailsham, the emphasis on staying healthy, and the fact that students never appear to leave or even question whether leaving is something normal school children would do cannot be ignored as she describes the school. An allegory about our own lives and the way we live them, this book is less of a thriller than The Silent Patient. But just like with that book, the twist will stop you dead in your tracks.
What do you think of this book so far? We’ve compiled a list of other books that are similar to Never Let Me Go.
The First Phonecall from Heaven, by Mitch Albom
Despite the fact that Albom is best known for his novel The Five People You Meet in Heaven, this other work of his is just as good. Mass hysteria and a media crisis ensue when residents of a Lake Michigan town begin receiving phone calls from long-deceased relatives and friends.
Police chief Jack Sellers gets a call from his deceased son Robbie, but can’t believe it’s real because the calls defy logic. As a result of this, he begins an investigation into what’s really going on, hoping against hope that the calls aren’t real. Is everyone being honest about the phone calls they’re getting, too?
Getting to the bottom of a story like The Silent Patient or The First Phonecall from Heaven, however, is always a long wait. However, the journey that the characters go on is well worth the wait. The journey the characters take is often more compelling than the destination itself.
Shutter Island, by Dennis Lehane
The book Shutter Island was adapted into a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio, but it was originally published as a novel. At Ashecliffe Hospital, a psychiatric institution, U.S. Marshall Teddy Daniels is assigned to pursue Rachel Solando—a patient who escaped and is believed to have committed several murders—as well as other escapees.
Meanwhile, Teddy comes to have grave doubts about Ashecliffe and their possible malpractices as a result of what he learns about them throughout the investigation. If you enjoyed The Silent Patient, you’ll love Shutter Island because it takes suspense and twists to a whole new level.
Is this book on your TBR list? See our collection of titles that are similar to Shutter Island.
Sharp Objects, by Gillian Flynn
Preaker is a reporter who is trying to find out what happened in her hometown of Wind Gap, where a murder was committed. Camille, like Theo in The Silent Patient, is trying to uncover the truth about what happened while also battling her own inner demons.
Camille’s search for the murderer intensifies as everyone in Wind Gap appears to be guilty as she struggles to fit back in with her old life, dealing with her difficult relationship with her mother, the memories of her deceased sister, and her current problems with her living sibling.
You’ll find a gut-wrenching twist in books like Sharp Objects that are similar to The Silent Patient, and that will fill the void left by Michaelides’ novel in your heart.
What do you think of this book so far? Check out our list of additional books that are similar to Sharp Objects!
We Need to Talk about Kevin, by Lionel Shriver
We Need to Talk about Kevin, by Lionel Shriver, was awarded the Woman’s Prize for Fiction for its masterful prose and attention to detail in describing Kevin’s upbringing and crimes.
When Eva, Kevin’s mother and Franklin’s father, write letters about their lives together, they are trying to figure out what went wrong, and whether Kevin’s decision to massacre a group of teenagers in his school was the result of nature or nurture.
Like The Silent Patient, this is a chilling novel based on the real-life shootings of children in American high schools that makes you think you know all there is to know – until it doesn’t.