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The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides Read Online (FREE)

“I’m curious how you can be so positive, given the evidence—”

“I don’t give a shit about that. I’ve got my own evidence.”

“You do?”

“You bet. But first … I need to know if I can trust you.” Barbie’s eyes searched mine hungrily.

I met her gaze steadily.

Then she came out with it, just like that: “You see, there was a man.”

“A man?”

“Yes. Watching.”

I was a little taken aback and immediately alert. “What do you mean, watching?”

“Just what I said. Watching. I told the police, but they didn’t seem interested. They made up their minds the moment they found Alicia with Gabriel’s body and the gun. They didn’t want to listen to any other story.”

“What story—exactly?”

“I’ll tell you. And you’ll see why I wanted you to come over tonight. It’s worth hearing.”

Just get on with it, I thought. But I said nothing and smiled encouragingly.

She refilled her glass. “It started a couple of weeks before the murder. I went over to see Alicia, and we had a drink, and I noticed she was quieter than usual—I said, ‘Are you okay?’ And she started crying. I’d never seen her like that before. She was crying her eyes out. She was normally so reserved, you know … but that day she just let go. She was a mess, honey, a real mess.”

“What did she say?”

“She asked me if I’d noticed anyone hanging around in the neighborhood. She’d seen a man on the street, watching her.” Barbie hesitated. “I’ll show you. She texted this to me.”

Barbie’s manicured hands stretched for her phone, and she searched through her photos on it. She thrust the phone at my face.

I stared at it. It took me a second to make sense of what I was seeing. A blurred photograph of a tree.

“What is it?”

“What does it look like?”

“A tree?”

“Behind the tree.”

Behind the tree was a gray blob—it could have been anything from a lamppost to a large dog.

“It’s a man. You can see his outline quite distinctly.”

I wasn’t convinced but didn’t argue. I didn’t want Barbie to get distracted. “Keep going.”

“That’s it.”

“But what happened?”

Barbie shrugged. “Nothing. I told Alicia to tell the cops—and that was when I found out she hadn’t even told her husband about it.”

“She hadn’t told Gabriel? Why not?”

“I don’t know. I got the feeling he wasn’t all that sympathetic a person. Anyway. I insisted she tell the police. I mean, what about me? What about my safety? A prowler’s outside—and I’m a woman living alone, you know? I want to feel safe when I go to bed at night.”

“Did Alicia follow your advice?”

Barbie shook her head. “No, she did not. A few days later, she told me she’d talked it over with her husband and decided she was imagining it all. She told me to forget it—and asked me not to mention it to Gabriel if I saw him. I don’t know, the whole thing stank to me. And she asked me to delete the photo. I didn’t—I showed it to the police when she was arrested. But they weren’t interested. They’d already made up their minds. But I’m positive there’s more to it. Can I tell you…?” She lowered her voice to a dramatic whisper. “Alicia was scared.”