Book Review | The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

Book Review | The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

Title: The Sanatorium 

Author: Sarah Pearse

Publisher: Random House UK

Release Date: 18th February 2021

Source: NetGalley

Buy: Amazon UK

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.

“At first glance they’re magnificent, yet the more she looks, the more she realizes how sinister the mountains appear: raw, jagged spikes. It’s not hard to imagine, she thinks, looking out; this place somehow consuming someone, swallowing them whole.”

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 . . .

I’m a winter girl, I’m at my happiest when the temperature is low and snow is deep on the ground.  There is something comforting about a fresh fall of snow but there is also something slightly sinister about it.  Footprints unseen suddenly become obvious, bright colours stand out, especially blood red.....

Spending time in a luxury resort high in the Swiss Alps, what could be nicer?, fresh air, good food, your loving partner by your side.  Elin knows she is lucky to go to Le Sommet but she is also anxious.  As a detective currently on leave, getting away may help her chase away those demons she’s been carrying but the problem is one of those demons is waiting for her in Le Sommet, her brother Isaac and with him is his partner, her childhood friend Laure.

The creepy atmosphere is apparent from the get go, the resort is stark and clinical befitting its history as a TB sanatorium but its history has not been kind, protests about the development and a missing developer sit heavy on its walls.  When the first body turns up and the snow falls heavier and heavier, the need to escape the resort is apparent.

An avalanche renders retreat impossible and Elin has to put her detective hat back on to figure out if a murderer is in their midst, whilst trying to stop her past from messing up her future.

The Sanatorium uses the blanket of winter perfectly to enhance the pure menace of the surroundings, the creepiness comes in spades especially the description of the perpetrator and their choice of disguise, totally gives me the heebie jeebies!

I was also impressed with the twists in the story, the majority of the characters have been up to no good so you’ll have a hard time pinning down the guilty party until the end.

I really enjoyed this and for fans of a good murder mystery it should definitely be your cup of tea!

Thanks to NetGalley/Random House UK for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.



Book Review | The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse



19 comments

  1. Ooh! This is the first time that I have heard of this one and I am very intrigued! That setting really is perfect. I will have to keep my eye out for it.

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  2. I've seen this around but I don't think its available in the US yet. But it's on my list for sure, it sounds like a really good atmospheric mystery😁

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  3. Nothing better than a good mystery. I posted about a few I have read lately, one of my mini review posts.

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  4. This one was already high on my TBR list! That whole snowy setting combined with suspense and murder is one of my favorite combinations. :)

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  5. Okay, this sounds awesome. I think Winter is a great time for mysteries and thrillers - both to read, and to find ones set during that time. Thanks for sharing this one; it's new to me, but I must read it!

    Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. Winter is the perfect setting, snow is the best for these types of books!

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  6. There is something about the wintery setting that does lend itself to a creepy murder mystery! A TB Sanatorium doesn't sound like a place to build a luxury resort! I'd be totally wigged out by that, but what a fun concept for a thriller! I'm adding this one to my TBR! Fab review, Heather! :)

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    1. No I don’t think I’d stay there, I’d be too scared! But it’s the best setting, I love snow but it’s creepy too!

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  7. Your review makes me wish I liked Murder Mysteries. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 👏👏👏✨

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  8. I look at that cover and The Shining comes to my mind! Mind you, I didn't enjoy the Shining as a book so that might be a bad thing! Seriously, I love that cover and winter creepy things can be a lot of fun!

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    1. I’ve never seen the film or read the book of The Shining, I’ve always been too scared!

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  9. Winter or snow can make a good character in some mysteries. I felt that way about ICE by Lauren Carr. Personally, I get my share of winter, snow and ice here in Montreal Quebec that I always long for books set on the beach by the time February rolls along. LOL

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    1. I totally agree, I’ve read a few good books this year with snow playing the main part, it’s perfect.

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  10. I could feel the creepy atmosphere just from the blurb. It's awesome that the story held it as well.

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