The Sanatorium introduces readers to British Detective Elin Warner, a character that Pearse is also featuring in the 2022 sequel The Retreat. Elin has been a successful, veteran detective for years, but after a particularly gruesome investigation, she's taking a sabbatical. What better place to rekindle energy than a formerly abandoned mental hospital in the Swiss Alps that has been lavishly restructured into a posh hotel? With a raging winter storm outside and the roads cut off, Elin and her husband discover that a killer is on the loose in the hotel, knocking off the trapped guests one by one as some sort of revenge tactic.
There's so much to like about the story – great main character, multiple murder investigations, an intriguing backstory, excellent atmosphere and location – but it just fails to be overly stimulating. It's nearly 400 pages, which has become the mandatory publishing requirement for thrillers, and that's an eternity for readers to become trapped in this cavernous hotel with dull and uninspiring guests. By page 300, I no longer cared to learn the killer's identity or to even suspect who's next on the chopping block. I had lost interest completely.
If you love modern thrillers that heavily rely on lengthy dialogue to devour a high page-count, then The Sanatorium is awaiting your stay.