Just the title of this book is enough to send chills down your spine, isn’t it? I love the cover too, which gives off a very eerie vibe.
The Sanatorium was just what it suggests, a clinic for TB sufferers, but now it’s a fancy hotel in the Swiss Alps. Elin Warner is there with her boyfriend, Will, to celebrate her brother’s engagement. Longstanding family issues mean she hasn’t seen Isaac for a while but it’s time to try and put those issues to rest and Elin thinks facing it head on is the way forward. She’s also on long term leave from her job as a detective and is trying to decide whether she is able to go back to her job.
From the moment Elin and Will arrive everything seems to go wrong. Bad weather, missing people, strange attacks, whispering in corners, and just a general sense of unease pervade. This is certainly an atmospheric read with the weather and the sinister feel of the hotel adding an extra dimension to this thriller. The setting really stands out for me.
Once I was into the story I found it hard to put this book down. It’s fast-paced, often with cliff-hangers at the end of chapters, so it compelled me to keep reading. Also, every time I thought I knew what was happening a curveball was thrown at me and I really appreciated that element of suspense throughout.
It’s hard to believe this is a debut novel. It’s plotted so well with twists and turns galore. The hotel is unnerving and its past proves even more so. I think this is very much a plot-led story and so the characters felt kind of secondary to that, but that’s often the case with thrillers and isn’t a criticism, just an observation.
I enjoyed The Sanatorium very much. I’ll most definitely be looking out for Sarah Pearse’s next book which I hope will also be suitably chilling.
Review by Nicola Smith – Short Book and Scribes
Bantam Press, hardback, out now