The Sanatorium

The Sanatorium

By Sarah Pearse

What’s it about ?

From Goodreads:

You won’t want to leave. . . until you can’t.

Half-hidden by forest and overshadowed by threatening peaks, Le Sommet has always been a sinister place. Long plagued by troubling rumors, the former abandoned sanatorium has since been renovated into a five-star minimalist hotel.

An imposing, isolated getaway spot high up in the Swiss Alps is the last place Elin Warner wants to be. But Elin’s taken time off from her job as a detective, so when her estranged brother, Isaac, and his fiancée, Laure, invite her to celebrate their engagement at the hotel, Elin really has no reason not to accept.

Arriving in the midst of a threatening storm, Elin immediately feels on edge–there’s something about the hotel that makes her nervous. And when they wake the following morning to discover Laure is missing, Elin must trust her instincts if they hope to find her. With the storm closing off all access to the hotel, the longer Laure stays missing, the more the remaining guests start to panic.

Elin is under pressure to find Laure, 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 are all in. . .

What I think:

This is a book that everyone seems to be reading at the moment – so does it live up to the hype? For me, the answer was both yes and no.

I loved the setting. Le Sommet sounds beautiful and luxurious but the isolated mountain top is stark and dangerous. The design of the building is minimalistic and modern. And there is so much glass. While it allows views of the spectacular scenery it is also sinister. It feels like the people in the hotel are being watched.

The former Sanatorium brings a darkness to the hotel. Artefacts are displayed and medical equipment is used as art.

The initial murder happens years before Elin and her boyfriend arrive at the hotel. And it’s tense and dark and intriguing.

Elin is a really complex character – as a police detective she is used being in control and analytical, but a recent investigation has left her traumatised and questioning her abilities. She’s unsure whether she still has a career in the force and has only weeks to make a final decision about returning to work.

Her relationship with her brother Isaacs is strained and difficult. From the beginning he seems suspicious and some of his behaviour does not prompt either Elin or the reader to trust him. When his fiancé, Laure, goes missing it seems to confirm Elin’s doubts about him and his past.

Elin’s mental state throughout the book and her increasing paranoia and to the tension and sense of foreboding that eminates from the hotel.

I was a little disappointed with the ending – no spoilers I promise! – but the explanations were not as interesting as the crimes.

That being said, this is a really compelling thriller. It builds slowly but the short chapters really drag the reader into the story as you stay just to read one more. And it definitely keeps you guessing right until the end.

Thank you Tandem Collective and Dead Good Books for the gifted copy of this book as part of The Sanatorium readalong.

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