Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Elin Warner #01 - The Sanatorium

According to Penguin Random House, Sarah Pearse grew up in Devon, UK and studied creative writing and English at the University of Warwick. Her debut book, The Sanatorium, was published in 2021 and became a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller. Apparently, actress Reese Witherspoon knows a thing or two about books, and has a Book Club in which she selected The Sanatorium as a featured novel. Witherspoon is irrelevant to me, but I'm a sucker for locked room mysteries and this one looked appealing on Target's bookshelf. 

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. 

Get the book HERE.

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