The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

A bit of a slow burner I thought, but oh – that ending.
Well worth the slow bits

About the Book


An imposing, isolated hotel, high up in the Swiss Alps, is the last place Elin Warner wants to be. But she’s taken time off from her job as a detective, so when she receives an invitation out of the blue to celebrate her estranged brother’s recent engagement, she has no choice but to accept.

Arriving in the midst of a threatening storm, Elin immediately feels on edge. Though it’s beautiful, something about the hotel, recently converted from an abandoned sanatorium, makes her nervous – as does her brother, Isaac.

And when they wake the following morning to discover his fiancée Laure has vanished without a trace, Elin’s unease grows. With the storm cutting off access to and from the hotel, the longer Laure stays missing, the more the remaining guests start to panic.

But no-one has realized yet that another woman has gone missing. And she’s the only one who could have warned them just how much danger they’re all in . . .

What I thought

For some reason this book wasn’t quite as scary as I imagined it might be. I’m not really sure why I didn’t find it more thrilling as there were some quite gruesome kidnappings under very disturbing circumstances and yet at times I did feel the plot was a little slow.

On saying that it would be a very clever reader who could guess who might have done what and why. Told from the Protagonist Elin’s point of view most of the time, the plot is kept very close to the writers chest, she gives away very few clues along the way.

I think perhaps the main reason why I wasn’t as excited with this book as I thought I might be is Elin herself. The detective, on compassionate leave and on holiday at this luxurious hotel in the Swiss Alps with her boyfriend. Invited by her estranged brother to celebrate his engagement, Elin hoped it might be a chance to build some bridges with him and their shared past, and to decide whether she wanted to continue in the police force. Unfortunately Elin and her ‘problems’ is the main reason why I didn’t particularly enjoy certain aspects of the book, it was her constant anxiety and self doubt that to be honest just got on my nerves. I found her irritating and for a detective always seemed to be stating the blatantly obvious. To be fair though, the ending explains Elin’s anxiety issues so perhaps I was a little harsh.

So to the final chapters and the dénouement. Well, this is where the plot really picked up for me. When everything came together, a very tense part to the book with revelations falling over each other. I loved this bit and my interest really picked up. This is where everything is brought together and there are lots of ‘aha’ moments. Plus the very end! Wow, not too sure whether I was supposed to know or whether there is potential for a book 2, either way – eeek!! Well worth the slow bits.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

♥ Happy Reading ♥

With thanks to the publisher Transworld Digital for an advance copy of the book via Netgalley

The book was published yesterday 4 February in e-format and will be out in hardback on 18 February 2021.

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