Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Book Review: The Good Patient

By Sara Steven

Appearances can be deceptive...

I was taught that life is pain. That love is pain. It was unavoidable. Acceptable. I never had anything, or anyone I could count on. Not really. Not even myself.

Until I met Dr Menon...

To the outside world Lauren Taylor’s relationship with her boyfriend Josh is perfect. He is supportive and loving and has been there for Lauren during her darkest moments. But behind closed doors, secrets and lies can be hidden…

And when Lauren wakes up in a hospital bed and is told Josh is missing, those secrets come bubbling up to the surface.

Because the police think Lauren knows exactly what’s happened to Josh; that she could even be capable of his murder…

The only person who believes in Lauren's innocence is Dr Menon, who has cared for Lauren as his patient for the last few weeks. He can't believe she's capable of murder. He knows just how good she really is.

Isn’t she? (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)

The Good Patient is an incredibly unique story. While I’m aware of what FII (fabricated or induced illness) is, this is the first time I’ve ever seen it represented within a book. Lauren has dealt with a lot in her life pertaining to FII, and what’s even worse is that it wasn’t anything self-inflicted. Layered on top of that is the unhealthy relationship she shares with Josh, who seems to have taken Lauren’s past and exploited it for his own gain. Yet due to the connections she still holds to that past, it’s been hard for her to break ties with Josh, viewing how he treats her as acceptable behavior. 

The twist with Dr. Menon was really interesting, too. Lauren puts a lot of faith and trust in him, yet she’s not sure if it’s real or if she’s doing it because he’s the first person to appear to want the best for her. But is it for appearances? I wondered that myself, as the reader. Particularly during several scenes where his integrity is called into question. And I wondered if Lauren’s feelings towards Menon were rushed, due to her circumstances. I wanted so much for him to be a lifeline for her, but I felt just as cautious as Lauren does.

There is a lot that goes unsaid between characters. Lauren has never been honest about the type of relationship she has with Josh, other than with Menon. Due to this, she has become the number one suspect when Josh goes missing. During an interview with the police, when she is finally brave enough to voice the truth, no one believes her. For several years, despite having several opportunities to be forthright, she hasn’t been, which is quickly cited during the interview. Yet Lauren brings up a good point. Would they have even believed her anyway, with her FII background? It extends out into the other relationships she has–with her supposed best friend. Josh’s family. At one point in time, her mother. No one is honest about what is really going on.

I appreciated the past and present snapshots given by Lauren, so we have a better understanding of the choices she’s made. I do wish those snapshots had been a little longer, because it felt like it switched back and forth from the “then” and “now” a bit too quickly at times within the chapters. Yet I realize it was needed. It wasn’t a surprise to me that things ended the way they did, but I was still engaged and wanted to see what would happen next. The Good Patient really was an intriguing read!

Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase Links:  
Amazon UK * Amazon US

Alex Stone, originally an accountant from the West Midlands, is now a psychological suspense writer based in Dorset. This beautiful and dramatic coastline is the inspiration and setting for her novels. She was awarded the Katie Fforde Bursary in 2019 and her debut thriller The Perfect Daughter was published by  Boldwood in October 2021.

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