Wednesday, October 13, 2021

The Vanishing Season by Joanna Schaffhausen

First Line: It's too dark to go out but too hot to sleep.
A police officer in sleepy Woodbury, Massachusetts, Ellery Hathaway knows a thing or two about serial killers, but it has nothing to do with her training. Ellery was the seventeenth victim of serial killer Francis Michael Coben... the only one of his victims to survive. No one else in Woodbury knows this.
When three people disappear from town in three years-- all right around her birthday-- Ellery starts to believe that someone knows her secret. Someone very dangerous. When her superiors dismiss her concerns and the vanishing season for a fourth victim approaches, Ellery turns to the one person she knows will believe her: FBI agent Reed Markham, the man who saved her from Coben all those years ago.
Even though I found the identity of the killer to be glaringly obvious, I still didn't want to put The Vanishing Season down. There's much more to this book than deducing whodunit. For one thing, there's Ellery Hathaway. Ellery, who was dragged into Hell and lived to tell the tale. Ellery who thinks, "They'd never sat in a killer's closet and felt the claw marks in the wood, left there by the girls who had already died." Ellery, whose best buddy is a Basset hound named Speed Bump and the only male allowed through her front door. Ellery, whose life has been turned into countless movies of the week, and who guards her privacy fiercely.

Then there's the layered, nuanced relationship she has with the man who saved her all those years ago. Reed Markham made his name and fame writing a book about Ellery Hathaway and the monster who locked her up in his closet. But his life has changed. His marriage is a train wreck. His bosses think he's washed up. He even blew the last investigation he worked on. So... he's certainly got the time to help Ellery out.

The Vanishing Season has a fast pace that keeps readers sucked in, and even though I've already said that whodunit was no mystery to me, I still enjoyed watching the investigation unfold-- mainly because of the interplay between Ellery and Reed. I am certainly looking forward to meeting these two fantastic characters again.

The Vanishing Season by Joanna Schaffhausen
eISBN: 9781250126054
Minotaur Books © 2017
eBook, 304 pages
Police Procedural, #1 Ellery Hathaway mystery
Rating: A
Source: Purchased from Amazon.


  1. I'm glad you enjoyed this one, Cathy, and it is interesting to look at a case (or a killer) from the viewpoint of a survivor. I have to admit, I've been put off from serial killers just lately. It's hard to do a 'serial killer' book well. But this one does sound like a good read, and I'm glad you liked it.

    1. I'm glad that serial killer mysteries aren't as common as they used to be.

  2. The killer wasn't much of a secret, and I wasn't completely enamored with this first book. I liked the characters well enough to read the next one and the next! No Mercy and All the Best Lies are even better. :)

  3. Yay! I'm so happy that you enjoyed this one, Cathy! And I do agree with Jenclair and her recommendations of the next books in the series. The characters grow and change and I think that marks a good series. Stuff happens and people learn from the 'stuff'. Sermon over now. LOL

  4. I love Ellery! She's the reason I enjoy this series so much. Her and Markham. And Speed Bump, too, of course. :)

  5. I like Speed Bump already. I don't know about this if there is a lot of gruesomeness. And I'm not sure I want to read about a woman whose past includes being locked in a closet.
    But it sounds like the series is well-written.

  6. This sounds a good one especially from the perspective of a survivor. Thanks for the review.


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