The Patient: Book Review
By Danielle Rose
The Patient by Jasper DeWitt
The Silent Patient by way of Stephen King: Parker, a young, overconfident psychiatrist new to his job at a mental asylum, miscalculates catastrophically when he undertakes curing a mysterious and profoundly dangerous patient.
The Patient follows Parker H—, a young psychiatrist who chronicles his short stint at a dreary mental hospital in New England. At Connecticut State Asylum (CSA), Dr. H— undertakes curing a mysterious and profoundly dangerous patient, Joe, who was admitted at age six. Now forty years old, Joe has no known diagnosis. His symptoms evolve over time, and every person who attempts to treat him is driven to madness or suicide. Despite blunt warnings, Dr. H—, brilliant and overconfident, takes it upon himself to discover what ails this mysterious patient so he can finally cure him. As things quickly spiral out of control, Dr. H— is forced to question everything he thought he knew.
Billed as "The Silent Patient by way of Stephen King," The Patient hooked me from its first page. An atmospheric, eerie tale about the depths of the human psyche and the uncanny dangers that lurk within that darkness, this was an unputdownable read. Finishing it in just one sitting, I was left in awe at the writer's storytelling.
Playing on today's digital era, the author tells the story by way of an Internet message board, with Dr. H— recounting his harrowing journey at CSA via blog posts. To successfully implement this method, DeWitt employs the use of "telling" rather than "showing," up until the heart-stopping, spine-tingling climax. As soon as the reader reaches the chilling final pages, the author abruptly changes pace. DeWitt's use of imagery at the conclusion links back to tiny details spread throughout the novel. Each word describing the aftermath is intentional. I found this method rather ambitious, because readers who skim will miss the signs and what is intended as the novel's obvious conclusion; however, it was incredibly well done—and admirably so. My recommendation for those who tackle The Patient: pay close attention!
Perfect for fans of Stephen King or dark medical thrillers, The Patient is an engrossing horror novel with minor supernatural elements. An entertaining, fast-paced read, it's sure to keep you up way past your bedtime.
Danielle Rose is a USA Today bestselling author, a book reviewer, an occasional editor, and an always Oxford comma enthusiast. She graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in English from UW-Parkside, and in 2014, she obtained a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine. Currently, Danielle resides in the Midwest, where she lives with her husband and their five rescue pets. When she is not writing, she is usually reading, renovating and decorating her historic Victorian manor, or sating her wanderlust. More about Danielle can be found at www.droseauthor.com.