Like a lot of people, my reading budget is finite, and I am forced to pick and choose which books I buy in which format. Hardback books are pricey, so I am particular about them. (There’s also a space issue. My house has 10 full bookcases. Any more books, and one of the kids will have to go because we need their bedroom for more bookshelves.)
Lately, I’ve been trying to support debut authors when I buy a hardback. I figure very well established authors can do without the little bit they’d earn from me, but newbies, not so much.
Having said that, when I make a purchase, especially from one of the big 5 publishers, I really do expect a fairly high level of polish on a work. That isn’t too much, right?
So much about The Sanitorium by Sarah Pearse intrigued me, especially the setting. What’s not to like about a resort high up in the Alps? It takes the standard isolation factor of a traditional mystery and kicks it up a notch. Pease also deftly conjures up the frigid and oppressive atmosphere quite well. Instead of keeping with standard gray architecture, she creates a bizarrely modern interpretation that is far creepier.
Her characters are varied and layered. My biggest gripe is that the main character’s personality arc didn’t flow enough for me, and at times, I found her annoying. There are some plot points I’m not fond of, either, but none of that is fatal to the book.
What really, really turned me off were the grammar errors and the typos. Radom dangling modifiers can happen in a manuscript. I get that, but weird fragments–not for emphasis or character development–are inexcusable. Even worse, is this epic proofing fail.
It’s hard to tell from just the photograph, but NO ONE is speaking at this point. It’s just a stray quotation mark that got left behind, probably when Pearse deleted something a character said. The proofer should most definitely have caught this, but ultimately, it’s on Pearse’s shoulders.
The sad part is, the random errors distracted me as a reader. The fact I’d paid a chunk of change for a book with several clear errors from a major publishing house that most definitely has the resources to keep foolishness like this from happening compounded my dissatisfaction.
The Sanatorium is a decent beach read, and I’m curious to see where Pearse goes next in her writing. Just don’t pay for hardback. Support your local library.