Friday, April 16, 2021

The Sanatorium

 This is a very dark thriller by Sarah Pearse.  It is set in a remote area of forest in the Swiss Alps at a new ultra modern hotel built on the footprint of an old Sanatorium.   There are mysterious deaths that play a role in the plot and at times the reader can even question if there is supernatural aspects to the story.  

The lead detective is Elin, a UK detective on leave for PTSD and at the hotel to celebrate her brother, Isaac's engagement to Laure.  Unfortunately the weekend is far from the pleasant vacation she and her boyfriend, Will, were hoping for when they flew to Switzerland.  

The story has plenty of plot twists and drama that leads the reader to suspect many of the different characters of being the guilty killer.   The reader is easily talked into suspecting different people and honestly I thought I had figured it out at points and then was shown why I was wrong.  

The remote setting and snowstorm definitely play a vital role in the story.  I also felt as though the hotel itself was a character with its own history and major role in the story.   It definitely played a key role and the story would have been weaker without the weather and location.  

Elin is a character rift with self doubt and questions her relationships with her brother and Will.  We slowly learn about her physical and mental stress and how it affects her entire being.  She is portrayed as someone haunted by her past and is obsessed with seeking answers.  I think it was an accurate portrayal of someone who suffered a tragedy at a young age and never had proper treatment to deal with it.   It affects her whole life and relationships.  

The only real issue I had with the story was the conclusion. I am not sure of the purpose of the epilogue unless it is to provide a setup for a sequel.  Otherwise, it is a very large unanswered question to the story.

The SanatoriumThe Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I thought this book was good. I don't agree with the negative reviews but I understand where they were coming from. I think I didn't have as high of expectations as some of those readers so I didn't build myself up. The cover absolutely made me think of the Shining as did the description. There is a creepiness factor with the setting of blizzards and avalanches in a remote location in the Swiss Alps. The body count does rise and makes the story suspense grow.
Elin as the main character definitely comes across as a damaged character. Her full story is revealed to us as the plot goes along and some of it is more believable than others. Her relationships with her boyfriend and brother are definitely not perfect and the story demonstrates that.
Pearse provides many different potential villains and each make sense in their own right. As a reader I kept thinking it has to be this person, they don't seem the most obvious. In the end the true culprit is revealed and while the motivation behind their crimes is a bit weak, the explanations make sense and are given but this is why I gave it a 3 instead of a 4 star rating. There is an epilogue that completely confused me though, not sure if it's a set up for a sequel or just meant to leave you wondering.

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Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  Book #42
  2. Literary Escapes  #LiteraryEscapes   Switzerland
  3. Beat the Backlist #BTB2021  #39 book where the woods/forest are important
  4. 2021TBR  #2021ReadingChallenge # 18 gothic novel
  5. Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2021   Book #50
  6. Back List Reader  #Backlistreader  Book #58
  7. Cloak & Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal  Book #42
  8. Around the Year in 52 Books #16. A book with a building in the title
  9. The Unofficial Magnus Archives Challenge  #TMARC21  #2. The Buried: a Bottle Episode (set in a single room/place)
  10. Pick your Poison #12-4 A book from a celebrity favorite list
  11. Medical Examiner Challenge   4 Toe Tags
  12. Beachcomber Challenge  
    • Crime Scenes 
      • Row 4
        • Hotel room
        • Swimming pool, spa, jacuzzi
      • Row 3
        • Drowning, water, ice
    • Detectives- Elin
    • Victims- Dennis/Margot/Laure/Adele
  13. 52 books in 52 weeks  #17 ice or snow bound

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