About the Book

Book Protagonist: Patrick Bateman
Publication Date: 1991
Genre: Horror


American Psycho

By Bret Easton Ellis

Though he claims to be interested in world issues, Patrick Bateman hides a secret from the world, his obsession. 'American Psycho' exposes Patrick's secret.

‘American Psycho’ is a novel about Patrick Bateman, a vain and pathologically obsessed Wall Street investment banker who goes on a rampage of killing and torturing people. When he realizes how bad his habits have gotten, Patrick confesses but meets the shock of his life when he learns that he may be severely mentally sick.

Spoiler Free Summary of American Psycho

Patrick and his friend Timothy Price go to Evelyn, Patrick’s girlfriend’s house, and Courtney. On reaching Evelyn’s house, they meet two people, Vanden and Stash, who look out of place. During the dinner, Patrick and everyone have a conversation about the state of the world. Patrick begins talking about making the world a better place, feeding people, and helping others, to everyone’s surprise.

After the event, Pat notices the over-fondness between Timothy Price and Evelyn; this makes him suspect something. Evelyn later reveals a secret about Stash. The next day, Pat gives a detailed explanation of his morning routine. He meets with his friends at Harry’s and later meets Paul Owen, a fellow investment banker at the same company as him, Pierce and Pierce.

In the office, Patrick talks to his secretary Jean about her dress, telling her to be more feminine. He then heads home and meets a movie superstar in the elevator. Bateman reaches his room and calls his date, Patricia Worrel, but she tells him about a concert of her ex. He lies about having a reservation at Dorsia. Unable to secure a spot at the fully booked restaurant, Patrick takes his date to the next best restaurant, to her disappointment. She later apologizes, and the next day, Patrick goes to the drycleaners with his bedsheets.

After the drycleaners, Patrick goes to a restaurant with Courtney and two other people. After the dinner, he returns to her house. The next day, he meets her boyfriend but hides the events. Patrick leaves the office and encounters a homeless man. Though he acts as if he will help him, he changes his mind and indulges in a sinister act.

On a date with Evelyn, he leaves and gets two prostitutes, who he does terrible things to. Patrick later indulges in more sinister acts and goes mental. In a state of confusion, he drops a message for his lawyer. However, when he meets his lawyer, he learns that the acts he committed and confessed to may not have occurred.

Plot Summary of American Psycho

Warning – This article contains important details and spoilers

During a dinner date with Evelyn Richards, Patrick Bateman’s girlfriend, Timothy Price, Courtney Lawrence, Evelyn’s best friend, Stash and Vanden, Patrick Bateman, a New York City investment banker, rants about ending the problems of the world. After dinner, he notices Tim Price’s closeness to Evelyn and realizes they are having an affair. 

Evelyn reveals to Patrick that Stash tested positive for HIV and will likely sleep with Vanden. The next day, Patrick gives details of his intense morning routine. He meets with his close colleagues, Timothy Price, David Van Patten, and Craig McDermott, who explains how he scored a handjob with a woman. Later, they notice Paul Owen, a man who looks identical to Patrick; this annoys Bateman as he mocks Paul’s heritage.

At Pastels, Patrick and his coworkers meet Scott Montgomery, who introduces them to a French woman Vicki. As Scott leaves, the group mocks Craig for admitting he would love to sleep with Vicki. As the conversation continues, Patrick brings out his new personal card to impress his colleagues. However, he almost mentally breaks down when he notices Tim and Montgomery have better cards than him. He and Tim leave for a club where they get high on drugs.

In the office, Patrick meets Jean, his secretary, and admits that she may be the woman he eventually marries as he notes that she loves him. He tells her to dress more feminine and leaves for his health club, Xclusive. After exercising, Patrick begins reminiscing and regrets not masturbating to the scene of a woman getting drilled to death. He heads home and meets Tom Cruise in his building’s elevator. After a conversation, Tom notices Patrick’s nosebleed and tells him. 

On reaching his apartment, Bateman calls Patricia Worrel, a woman he planned a date with. However, she tells him she may not attend as her ex-boyfriend had a concert. Patrick then lies to her, stating he got reservations at Dorsia, a famed restaurant. After hanging up, he tries calling Dorsia but gets laughed at. He eventually takes Patricia to Balcadia and later to a club where they get high on drugs. 

Patrick heads to the dry cleaners with his blood-stained sheets. On leaving, he sees a homeless girl and places a dollar into her cup. Bateman notices she is not helpless and hurriedly leaves the scene. He later suggests to Paul Owen that they meet up sometime. Bateman goes to dinner with a high Courtney and a couple. After the date, he and Courtney go to her house, where they have sex. 

Patrick attends a board meeting and meets Luis Carruthers, Courtney’s boyfriend. He goes on a date with Evelyn, and when she suggests they get married, he tells her he is too young and leaves. After an office party, Patrick kills a homeless man. He goes to a concert with his girlfriend, Courtney, and Luis. 

While out on lunch with his friends, Patrick tries sneaking into the men;’s bathroom and strangling Luis. However, the encounter turns sexual as Luis kisses his wrists. Patrick leaves Courtney while on a date and gets two prostitutes, Christie and Sabrina, who he tortures after sleeping with them.

Patrick also murders a Japanese delivery boy before attending Evelyn’s Christmas dinner party. On a night out with his high friends and three girls, Bateman meets Allison, a girl he raped with his hands. However, she does not say anything, making him realize she never knew what happened. 

Patrick and Paul Owen meet at a restaurant, and when they retreat for the night, Patrick kills Paul with an ax. He then meets Bethany, his former girlfriend, and brutally rape, torture, and kill her. Patrick goes out with his secretary Jean, and they share a kiss that touches him. Three months later, a police detective Mr. Donald Kimball visits Patrick and asks about Paul Owen’s disappearance. 

After summer, Patrick meets Christie and another woman, Elizabeth. After sex, he tortures and kills them. Bateman gets increasingly mental, killing a five-year-old boy in the zoo, two escort girls, and an unnamed girl. He breaks up with Evelyn and tries eating the intestine of one of the girls he killed. Patrick meets with his friends and tries to confess his crimes, but no one listens to him. He then goes on a rampage, killing a taxi driver, a man at a Korean Deli, and a night watchman. 

On reaching his apartment, Bateman places a voicemail for Harold Carnes, his lawyer, confessing to all the crimes he committed. He later visits Paul Owen’s apartment and meets a woman, Mrs. Wolfe, who tells him to leave and never return.

While at an event, Patrick runs into Harold and asks him if he got his confession. Harold laughs and says his story was incredible. Shocked by his lawyer’s comment, Patrick insists he killed Paul Owen, but Harold tells him it is impossible, as he had dinner with Paul in London ten days before.


Was ‘American Psycho’ all a dream?

Though many people would conclude ‘American Psycho‘ was a dream because of the credibility of Patrick’s story, it appears it was not. Patrick may have suffered from severe mental illnesses like Schizophrenia; this could have been the cause of his intense hallucinations.

What happened to all the people Patrick killed?

Except for Paul Owen, there is little information given as to what happened to all of Patrick’s victims. As he is an unreliable narrator, they may be alive and well or be dead and hidden.

Why did Patrick want to kill?

Patrick had a twisted mind and gained ecstasy when he watched others scream in pain. The thought of killing someone made him feel alive, and because there was no other avenue to express himself, he took the path of a serial killer.

Did the police catch Patrick Bateman?

No, Patrick never got caught because he likely never committed a crime. If he had killed as many people as he stated, he would have been at the epicenter of a massive investigation, but there was nothing, not even a mention of a killer on the news.

Joshua Ehiosun
About Joshua Ehiosun
Joshua is an undying lover of literary works. With a keen sense of humor and passion for coining vague ideas into state-of-the-art worded content, he ensures he puts everything he's got into making his work stand out. With his expertise in writing, Joshua works to scrutinize pieces of literature.
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