The Devil's Sanctuaryby Marie Hermanson Published by Grand Central Publishing, Hachette on September 3, 2013
Genres: Adult, Crime, Mystery
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I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
When Daniel arrives in Himmelstal -- a private Swiss psychiatric facility -- to visit his twin brother Max, he has no idea what's in store for him. He finds himself unquestioningly accepting Max's plea for help and the brothers swap places in order for Max to take care of some business. All he claims to need is a couple of days in the outside world to settle his debt.
But soon Daniel realizes Max isn't coming back, and that the clinic is far from a place of recovery. Struggling to get anyone to believe who he really is, Daniel finds himself trapped in a cruel and highly secretive prison: this is no sanctuary, it's a living nightmare . .
Identical twins Max and Daniel were raised separately when Max was too reliant on his brother as a baby and wasn’t developing as a normal toddler should. Their parents ultimately divorced and one twin went with each parent. The brothers only saw each other once a year on their birthday, and the visits never went well since they twins were virtually strangers but were still drawn to each other. While Daniel lived a life being doted upon by his loving mother and soaking up books and history with his grandfather, Max didn’t have such a nice upbringing with a virtually absentee father who left the parenting to his nanny/researcher step-mother.
Fast forward to adulthood and Daniel is a successful interpreter while Max was a successful businessman, but now Max is spending time in an expensive rehab clinic in Sweden. When Daniel receives a letter from his brother asking him to come for a visit, Daniel reluctantly agrees–but only because Max is footing the bill. The clinic is situated in an isolated valley in the mountains, and while the area is beautiful, the facility and nearby village seem a bit strange. But Max has an ulterior motive for wanting Daniel to visit, and soon he’s asked Daniel to stay in Himmelstal in his place while Max sorts out some shady financial things so he can pay his bill. Before Daniel can really agree, Max slips away in the night with all of Daniel’s identification, leaving the unwitting twin locked in a psychiatric facility that is not what it seems.
The Devil’s Sanctuary is much more than a book about identical twins swapping places. Daniel doesn’t have any idea what kind of place he’s been abandoned in, and the tension mounts as the story unfolds and the secrets are revealed. Not all of the people are what they seem, and I had a hard time guessing which doctors and fellow patients were good or bad. Daniel is a trustworthy, brave, and stand up individual, and I was hoping that he’d come out on top through it all.
I give The Devil’s Sanctuary a four out of five. The English translation from Swedish was great and flowed well. The book was fast paced with interesting characters, some sinister, some just plain creepy, but all were multi-layered. Most things came together in the end quite nicely, wrapping the story up without too many loose ends. This is a great read for lovers of mystery and psychological thrillers.
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