Another fabulous novel by Sarah Pearse, fast becoming a favourite author, I’m really very impressed with how established her writing feels by only her second thriller.
Elin Warner is still having a hard time, and isn’t quite ready for the intense and consuming nature of her role as a police officer, when she is thrust back into the role with a bang. A body has been discovered on a tiny island near her home and she’s been asked to check it out. What follows is murder and mayhem, with guests at the island retreat seemingly dropping like flies and a haunted back story to the island, that just muddys the waters.
Sarah Pearse has a wonderful knack of creating this larger than life character out of her location. We saw it in THE SANATORIUM and we are seeing it again with THE RETREAT. The setting is a character in itself and very much makes the book what it is. So much description and mystery surround this historical island, that we don’t need much more than that to have ourselves a story.
Elin is great, we root for her the whole time. She seems vulnerable and empathetic, and you can’t help but really get behind her. Of course, the rumpled detective with a haggard past is a staple of a good mystery novel, but it’s done really well here and I like how it feels quite fresh – she’s a woman, she’s relatively young, she’d in a stable (albeit slightly disjointed) relationship and she knows she isn’t quite ready to be back at work after her ‘sabbatical’.
Overall a fantastic book and one I would recommend to everyone who enjoys a good thriller, and if you enjoyed Sarah’s first novel then this will be right up your street.
*this book was gifted to us by the publishers, however all opinions are our own and not influenced by this.