TITLE/AUTHOR: The Sanatorium; Sarah Pearse
PUBLISHER: Pamela Dorman Books
YEAR PUBLISHED: 2021
GENRE: Fiction / Psych Thriller
FORMAT: Hardcover LENGTH: 400 pp
SETTING(s): Swiss Alps
ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY: A slow psych thriller that ended up disappointing for me.
BRIEF REVIEW: This novel had been hyped all over the place but, for me, it was the title and the cover that made me want to read it. I tried to stay away from reviews and honestly, I thought it was about a "sanatorium" --well, not exactly. It's the sanatorium's dark and troubled past that is significant here.
Once a remote "sanatorium", Le Sommet, is now a modern, minimalist, 5-star luxury hotel in the Swiss Alps. The hotel sets the stage for a celebratory engagement party for Isaac and Laure where Laure is an Assistant Manager. Among the invited guests is Elin Warner, the estranged sister of Isaac. She is a former police detective on leave from her job and also suffering from PTSD since her mother's death six months earlier and she is also still troubled by the death of her younger brother. Elin is not keen on attending the celebration since she has not been on speaking terms with her brother but, Laure was her best friend so she feels compelled to attend especially since she is not currently working. She brings her boyfriend Will along for emotional support.
Rather quickly, things go from bad to worse - a blizzard makes the steep access road to the resort impassable, Laure ends up missing another person found dead. Elin feels compelled to find out what is going on. She even begins to suspect her own brother. The truth is Elin is a hot-mess.
While I loved the atmosphere of the novel, the set up reminded me very much of Ruth Ware's most recent novel, One By One. In both novels - a resort, a blizzard or avalanche cuts off access and people end up missing or dead and both, for me, had a less than satisfying plot. While I wanted to like Elin because she had been through a lot, I soon found her super annoying and wondered how she was ever able to function as a detective. I didn't like how the author decided to leave nothing to chance and so she spelled out Elin's every move and thought, even some ridiculous ones. I didn't find the motives compelling enough for murder nor did I find the twists all that believable. Finally, the ending seemed quite abrupt and it made me wonder about a possible sequel? If so, count me out.
RATING: 2/5 stars
Sorry it wasn't a win for you, Diane.ReplyDelete
Also want to add that I like your new header!
Thanks Mary, time for a little change.Delete
I guess not every book can be a winner for us.
I love the cover! Sorry it was a miss for you, think I'll give it a pass.ReplyDelete
Too many better books to spend time with IMO.Delete
The Sanatorium was so creepy on its own. I thought it would be more critical to the story.ReplyDelete
Me too, I'm now kinda sick of these kinds (remote locale, who's the killer etc.) of stories.ReplyDelete
I was actually looking forward to reading this one. I think I have the advantage of not having read Ruth Ware's One by One to compare. I might see if I can borrow this one.ReplyDelete
Maybe like some other reader you will like it. I hope you do.Delete
I've read a few similar reviews for this book and it makes me nervous because I'm supposed to read this one with Melody, another blogger next month. Hope it's not a total disappointment.ReplyDelete
Don't go by me, some have loved it. I hope you do too.Delete
I like your new header! I am impressed that you continued to read this book when you ranked it a 2. At some point, I would have given up.ReplyDelete
Thanks Helen, actually, I initially planned to give this one a 3/5 but, the more I thought about it and how I almost found the hype misleading I dropped it down even more. Glad I borrowed this one.Delete
I, too, was very disappointed in this novel. Hyping a book, in my opinion, does no good because in the end, it disinterests a reader in the author's future works. It's interesting, Diane, that you mention Ruth Ware. I'm not sure how you feel about her novels, but I feel they are lacking. I believe I've read three now.ReplyDelete
And what's not lacking? These days I'm reading more and more Ann Cleeves!
I've read all of Ruth Ware's books and I can't say I loved any of them but some I found better than others. I will be reading more Ann Cleeves as well.Delete
Not a book I'd even heard of but judging by your excellent description I'll probably not be bothering.ReplyDelete
Cath, too many other books -- better ones.Delete
I've had this kind of let-down happen so often in recent years that I've become a little cautious about books that get an unusual amount of hype. Too many times I've come to the conclusion that a publisher depends way too often on its publicity department to hype a book - that would otherwise drop into the void and never be heard from again - because it's already invested so much money in the book and its author. The sunk costs are lost, so they figure that over-publicizing the book is cheap in the long run and gives them their best chance to recoup some of that spent money.ReplyDelete
You make a lot of good points here and especially the fact that once I am disappointed by an author or feel like I've been misled, I tend to avoid them in the future.Delete
I'm sorry this was a disappointment. I got so burned out on thrillers of this sort that I wasn't even tempted when I saw all the rave reviews. Glad I'm not missing out on a great read.ReplyDelete
I do like psych thrillers but, admittedly some are just silly or disappointing and a waste of precious time.Delete
I'm so glad to see your review but sorry this didn't really work for you. From your description I don't think this would work for me either. I don't mind not wanting to be friends with characters in a thriller but I hate when characters make such stupid decisions that I question if they are actually in the profession they claim to be in. I think I'll read the Ruth Ware book instead.ReplyDelete
Ha. I guess the cover might be one of the few pluses about this one. Too bad! I will pass.ReplyDelete
Well, guess I can safely skip this one...ReplyDelete
Guess I'll give this a miss, as well.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the warning!ReplyDelete