Published by Minotaur Books on December 5th 2017
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Thriller
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Ellery Hathaway knows a thing or two about serial killers, but not through her police training. She's an officer in sleepy Woodbury, MA, where a bicycle theft still makes the newspapers. No one there knows she was once victim number seventeen in the grisly story of serial killer Francis Michael Coben.
The only victim who lived.
When three people disappear from her town in three years, all around her birthday—the day she was kidnapped so long ago—Ellery fears someone knows her secret. Someone very dangerous. Her superiors dismiss her concerns, but Ellery knows the vanishing season is coming and anyone could be next. She contacts the one man she knows will believe her: the FBI agent who saved her from a killer’s closet all those years ago.
Agent Reed Markham made his name and fame on the back of the Coben case, but his fortunes have since turned. His marriage is in shambles, his bosses think he's washed up, and worst of all, he blew a major investigation. When Ellery calls him, he can’t help but wonder: sure, he rescued her, but was she ever truly saved? His greatest triumph is Ellery’s waking nightmare, and now both of them are about to be sucked into the past, back to the case that made them...with a killer who can't let go.
The Vanishing Season is Joanna Schaffhausen’s first novel, and wow was it a good one. It had all the things that I want in a thriller, it’s haunting, flawed characters that you don’t know whether to trust or not, and plenty of suspenseful moments.
Ellery Hathaway is an officer in a small town, where crime is low with the occasional call here and there. That is, until people start to go missing. Each year, and the same day which is her birthday. She has told no one her birthday, let alone her past or how she changed her name. She is the girl who was abducted 14 years ago and is the lone survivor of a sadistic serial killer. Ellery knows that these disappearances are linked but she isn’t sure how, but she is determined to find out and with the help of the man who rescued her as a child she might be able to catch who is behind the disappearance that are happening now.
The characters are the types that you want to like, but the more you learn about them, the more you question them. Ellery has come a long way from the little girl who was kidnapped all those years ago, she carries all that with her in everything she does though. She keeps to herself, doesn’t let people close. She herself was a mystery to those around her. But, knowing what all she went through, made me want to feel for her. The connection she has with Agent Reed Markham I can understand, he did rescue her so it wasn’t a surprise he was who she called for help. Reed’s success after the case with Ellery made his career, but it was short lived and now his home life and career were a mess, but he was still willing to help. He seemed to genuinely want to help to. The are some other characters like, the police chief and a couple of officers that were well developed, and played a great role in all of this.
As the story progresses, and the clues that Ellery and Reed discover, they begin to question whether other one is behind it all and well, so did I. I couldn’t decide if Ellery was having a mental break down? Was Reed just trying to get his career back on track? Did someone in town learn who she was? Or was someone wanting revenge? So many ideas went through my head as all the pieces came to together. Some the clues just didn’t go together, and the suspense continued to build. It was a roller coaster ride right up the big reveal too. I’m not one who like to admit that I am wrong, but I have to this time, I did not get this one right at all. Didn’t see it coming, but jeez it was a good ending.
The Vanishing Season is labeled as a psychological thriller, and that is exactly what you get. A suspenseful, page turning story, that keeps you on your toes till the very end. I will be keeping on eye out for more works from Mrs. Schaffhausen for sure.