Book Review: The Sanatorium

(Detective Elin Warner #1)
02.02.2021 | Pamela Dorman Books
Rating: 4/5 stars


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. An imposing, isolated getaway spot high up in the Swiss Alps is the last place Elin Warner wants to be. Elin’s just taken time off from her job as a detective, so when her estranged brother, Isaac, and his fiancée, Laure, invite her to celebrate their engagement at the hotel, Elin has no reason not to accept. Arriving in the midst of a threatening storm, Elin immediately feels on edge. There’s something about the hotel that makes her nervous. When they wake the next morning to find Laure has gone missing, panic ensues. With the storm closing them off from outsiders, Elin is forced into her detective position in order to solve the case. 

I absolutely adore locked room mysteries and when I first heard the premise for THE SANATORIUM I knew it was a book I wanted to check out. Nothing screams murder mystery perfection like an isolated former sanatorium turned hotel with guests trapped amidst a storm. From the minute I started reading this one I fell in love with the location and the atmospheric qualities that the setting brought to the story. In addition to a great location, Pearse provided insight into the sanatorium itself that I found fascinating. Our main character, Elin Warner, has an interesting backstory and history with her brother, Isaac, that starts to get unraveled throughout the progression of the story. At times I found Elin’s personality to be a bit annoying, but she did ultimately grow on me once I learned more about her. 

The mystery kept my attention throughout and had me accusing everyone Elin encountered. I can’t end this review without mentioning the ending…eek! I need to know more! I’ll definitely be picking up the sequel!

[I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews for THE SANATORIUM and I think it’s a case of reader preference when it comes to this story. Some will love it and others won’t, but that’s what makes reading great! If you’re on the fence, snag a copy from the library and go in with an open mind!]

This book is available to buy from: Amazon | Book Depository

Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

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