As someone who loves thrillers, I was super excited to give The Patient by Jane Shemilt a read. The plot is largely crime-related, a very familiar genre for me, so I was keen to jump in. The pace of the book was quite varied at times; however it included a lot of twists that I didn’t see coming and as a result, at times, I couldn’t put the book down. I particularly liked the strong development of the characters and the recurring flashbacks. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who is into thrillers!
In this crime fiction novel, Rachel is introduced to us as a very average woman. She has a stable job as a doctor and a seemingly loving husband. However, with her daughter all grown up and living independently, Rachel reaches a monotonous spell in her life. We quickly learn that Rachel is going through menopause and her marriage seems to be lacking in love. With this initial build-up of a loveless marriage, it comes as no surprise when Rachel is immediately drawn to an attractive patient that stumbles into her office.
This made me question Rachel and her intentions multiple times throughout the book
The story unfolds in many different stages. Quickly upon learning about the new attractive patient, Luc, we discover that the story is indeed a flashback. In the present, Rachel is being questioned by detectives. Although at first, we don’t know what Rachel is being questioned about, it is evident that Luc plays a part in it. We get a deep insight into Rachel’s mind and her feelings towards Luc, however, the information she gives the police is limited. This made me question Rachel and her intentions multiple times throughout the book. If she is innocent like she claims to be, then why is she withholding parts of the truth?
Throughout the book, we learn more about how their feelings developed for each other, despite both parties being married. As this happens, many lines are crossed and boundaries are broken, both professionally and in her marriage. However, Rachel also begins to notice strange things occurring. At first, it’s footsteps following her, then it’s shadows of people lurking in the darkness. All this is quickly dismissed by her husband who is quick to tell Rachel she is delusional. In the eyes of the reader, this changes our perception of Rachel multiple times throughout the book. The development of her character makes it easy to feel sympathetic yet at the same time disapproving of her.
I did not foresee the ending and the twists involved
The beginning of the book was quite slow. Apart from the blossoming relationship and a few footsteps, not much seems to be going on. However, in the second half of the book, the pace swiftly picks up. First, Rachel’s colleague Carol is murdered. While everyone is trying to process this, and the police are trying to piece the puzzle pieces together, a patient named Brian is also murdered. This all happens really quickly and makes the book really addictive. With every page turn, we start to edge closer to the truth and closer to solving the mystery of these murders.
The tone and atmosphere quickly shift and everyone, including Rachel, is soon terrified of the unfolding events. At the same time, a lot of the storylines seem to unravel all at once and loose ends start to be tied together. Upon reflection, certain clues were dropped throughout the book however I did not foresee the ending and the twists involved. Compared to the first half of the book, the ending feels a tiny bit rushed. Nonetheless, the story is brought together, and we soon find out the fate of all of the characters.