Half-hidden by forest and overshadowed by threatening peaks, Le Sommet has always been a sinister place. Long plagued by troubling rumors, the former abandoned sanatorium has since been renovated into a five-star minimalist hotel. Arriving in the midst of a threatening storm, Elin immediately feels on edge--there's something about the hotel that makes her nervous. And when they wake the following morning to discover Laure is missing, Elin must trust her instincts if they hope to find her. With the storm closing off all access to the hotel, the longer Laure stays missing, the more the remaining guests start to panic. Elin is under pressure to find Laure, but no one has realized yet that another woman has gone missing. And she's the only one who could have warned them just how much danger they are all in. . .
... atmospheric debut ... Pearse not only creates believably fallible characters, she also vividly portrays the frigid landscape of Le Sommet buffeted by blizzards, and a chilling epilogue cries out for a sequel. Crime-fiction readers will want to keep an eye on Pearse.
The chief success of Sarah Pearse’s debut novel, The Sanatorium, is her use of place ... There is a pleasing pressure-cooker feel to proceedings, reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s classic And Then There Were None. Pearse uses clever red herrings – secrets, pills, affairs, mental illness – and the stand-off scenes between Elin and the murderer are genuinely scary. The setting proves ideal: slippery outdoor swimming pools, floor-to-ceiling glass windows, the austere beauty of the glacial mountains, the shadows and low lighting of the posh hotel. Right from the beginning, in a claustrophobic scene in a mountain funicular, there is the sense of no escape.
Pearse’s engrossing debut boasts a highly atmospheric setting ... The discovery of a body raises the stakes. Readers will applaud as Elin, for all her anxieties, emerges as a competent sleuth. This dark tale of family dynamics is sure to please suspense fans.