cover image The Retreat

The Retreat

Sarah Pearse. Viking/Dorman, $27 (400p) ISBN 978-0-593-48942-0

Bestseller Pearse’s so-so sequel to 2021’s The Sanatorium takes British police detective Elin Warner to an isolated luxury resort off the coast of Devon, a setting much like the first book’s Swiss hotel. Elin used to investigate major crimes, but after she suffered a breakdown because she couldn’t catch the man who killed two young girls, she was assigned to less significant duties. Now, she’s dispatched to Cary Island, the site of a wellness retreat, where one of the guests has fallen to her death. The fatality appears to be an accident, with the victim’s last moments captured on video and no indication that anyone pushed her. But after another guest’s body surfaces, with ample evidence of foul play, Elin probes whether the deaths are related and whether they’re connected to the island’s grim history, which includes the slaughter of a group of teenagers on a school outing 20 years earlier. The plot twists and characters are unremarkable, as is the familiar story of a traumatized police officer getting an opportunity for redemption by catching a killer. Hopefully, Pearse will broaden her repertoire next time. Agent: Charlotte Seymour, Andrew Nurnberg Assoc. (July)