Wednesday 22 June 2022

Book Review | The Retreat by Sarah Pearse | prettylittlewriter

'An eco-wellness retreat has opened on an island off the English coast, promising rest and relaxation—but the island itself, known locally as Reaper’s Rock, has a dark past. Once the playground of a serial killer, it’s rumored to be cursed.
Detective Elin Warner is called to the retreat when a young woman’s body is found on the rocks below the yoga pavilion in what seems to be a tragic fall. But the victim wasn’t a guest—she wasn’t meant to be on the island at all.
When a guest drowns in a diving incident the following day, Elin starts to suspect that there’s nothing accidental about these deaths. But why would someone target the guests, and who else is in danger?

Elin must find the killer—before the island’s history starts to repeat itself . . .’

Well, Sarah has impressed me yet again! Her first novel, The Sanatorium, was eerie, clever and full of tension, and I wasn’t sure how she could top it, but she has definitely done that with The Retreat!

When Elin arrives at The Retreat to investigate what seems to have been an accidental death, more bodies are found and you are left wondering who and why they are killing their victims.

Sarah delves into Elin’s life a little more, including her anxiety around returning to work and the pressure she feels to succeed, which really adds depth to her character and makes you feel that bit closer with her. We also get introduced to Will’s sister (Elin’s boyfriend) Farrah, and see the interaction between all three characters, with a little suspicion also thrown in.

One thing I will say about the character of Will is, I don’t really like him. I feel that he is selfish and doesn’t think about Elin and how she must be feeling when she’s had some tough issues to deal with in her job. I actually think she should leave him and date her partner, Steed!

There are quite a few coincidences in this novel, with certain guests having major ties to the retreat, which get you thinking that one of them must be the killer.

I was definitely surprised when the character I thought it would be was completely innocent!

We also see more from Elin’s stalker (as introduced in the epilogue of The Sanatorium) in the way of quite scary tweets to her police district. I’m really intrigued as to where that story is going, but I hope that Sarah doesn’t keep us waiting too long to find out!

Finally, there is a second twist near the end, which I thought I’d guessed at one point, but then I ended up being wrong! I always enjoy it more when I’ve been proven wrong!

Overall, a brilliantly clever, twisty and eerie thriller, which I would definitely recommend to any ‘locked in’ location thriller!

4.5/5 stars

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