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The Retreat, by Sarah Pearse

The Retreat book cover


An allegedly cursed island becomes the setting for unexplained deaths. One death could have been accidental but a second the following day seems unlikely to be coinicidental. DS Elin Warner tentatively returns to work but is she ready for this case…?
The Retreat is the second book to feature Elin Warner but the first that I have read. Elin seems quite fragile and I’m assuming that the first book depicted a case that had a hugely damaging effect on her. I definitely think that it would be beneficial to have read the first book as the events have had a huge impact on the police team especially Elin.
A family of sisters and their partners are visiting a retreat run by the sister of Elin’s boyfriend. Secrets and lies underpin the family relationships and these are exposed over the course of the book. There is quite a claustrophobic atmosphere to the book as all the action takes place on an island and this also reduces the number of potential suspects.
A case from the past also has an influence on the investigation. The island has been the scene of a series of murders many years ago. Elin believes that there is a link between the old case and the current one. Her relationship with her boyfriend Will is a bit strained due to her work-life balance. This is further complicated by his sister’s involvement in the retreat.
The book is written in the third person so that we can see the complex relationships between the family as well as Elin, her police colleagues and her personal relationships. I felt that the tension and mystery were sustained well with the ending really ramping up the drama and action. There were twists and cliffhangers dotted throughout the plot and I’d like to find the first book to see Elin’s character development.
The Retreat is an interesting police thriller with an action packed ending.

The Retreat blog tour

Book Description
Most are here to recharge and refresh. But someone’s here for revenge. . .
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 . . .

About the author…
Sarah Pearse lives by the sea in South Devon with her husband and two daughters. She studied English and Creative Writing at the University of Warwick and worked in Brand PR for a variety of household brands. After moving to Switzerland in her twenties, she spent every spare moment exploring the mountains and still has a home in the Swiss Alpine town of Crans Montana, the dramatic setting that inspired her novel.
Sarah has always been drawn to the dark and creepy – remote spaces and abandoned places – so when she read an article in a local Swiss magazine about the history of sanatoriums in the area, she knew she’d found the spark of the idea for her debut novel, The Sanatorium. Her short fiction has been published in a wide variety of magazines and has been shortlisted for several prizes.

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