sanatorium sarah pearse
Book Review / Reviews with Spoilers / Sarah Pearse

Sarah Pearse | The Sanatorium

sanatorium sarah pearse

The Book: 

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse (Detective Elin Warner #1)
Published February 2nd 2021 by Pamela Dorman Books
Date read: July 15, 2021

The Characters: 

Elin and her husband Will
Her brother Isaac and his fiancée Laure

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Buy it on | Amazon

*Since I wrote this, I found out that there is a sequel coming. This answers some of my questions about the ending!

The Plot (from Goodreads):

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.

Click here for book spoilers for The Sanatorium
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read The Sanatorium, I suggest you turn back now.

Elin had been with Sam the day he died, not Isaac. She blacked out the memory. Isaac left for the bathroom, and when he came back Sam was in the water and Elin was standing there doing nothing. The blood was from when Isaac pulled Sam out of the water.

The Twist: 

Margot, a hotel employee, seems to be avenging the deaths of patients at the sanitorium. But then Elin and Lucas find her in a secret tunnel, tied up and injured. Lucas locks Elin in the tunnel, so she assumes he must be working with Margot. Elin goes to Cecile for help.

Turns out Cecile was the killer. Daniel raped her when she was a girl, and Lucas knew and didn’t help her. She got pregnant from the rape and had to have an abortion that left her unable to have children. She got Margot to help her, since Margot was angry about the former sanatorium patients (one of which was a relative). Cecile killed Adele because she helped Lucas cover up Daniel’s murder. Laure died because she found out about Cecile.

The Ending:

Cecile and Lucas are both arrested. Elin and Will leave to go home, but someone is stalking them on the way down. From the stalker’s perspective, we find out he was the one who pushed Elin into the plunge pool. Who do you think the stalker was?? My best guess is Isaac.

The Review: 

I’m all for the isolated mountain top thriller where people begin to disappear during an avalanche. This setting might be one of my favorites for a thriller, semi-closed room and unable to contact the police. I’ve really enjoyed Shiver, An Unwanted Guest, and One By One, which had similar settings. The cover is amazing, and begs to be read in the middle of winter, curled up by the fire (which I did not do!).

I’m not sure The Sanatorium lived up to my expectations, though. I read it as a buddy read with my sisters, and we all felt somewhat lukewarm about it. I actually started it and then put it down for over a month while they waited for me to finish so we could discuss!

The atmosphere was top-notch, but the plot fell a little flat. I didn’t really connect with Elin–she was a little odd, perhaps due to the incident that forced her to take leave from her job as a detective, but it made it hard for me to relate to her.

In regards to the ending, there’s not much I can say without spoilers, so click here for my final thoughts if you’ve read it.
The case itself is solved, but there is a cliffhanger about Elin. I liked how the history of the sanatorium played into the case, but I thought the killer’s motivations were too far-fetched for the ending to be believable.

I don’t love cliffhangers, so the epilogue didn’t really do it for me. When I read it, there was only some speculation online as to whether there would be a second book. However, I just checked and the sequel The Retreat has been announced on Goodreads! It comes out in April 2022. I’ll certainly be checking it out to see if we get some more answers that I wanted from The Sanatorium.

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sanatorium sarah pearse
sanatorium sarah pearse

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