Friday, December 6, 2019

The Vanishing Season by Joanna Schaffhausen


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.

Winner of the Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition, Joanna Schaffhausen’s accomplished debut The Vanishing Season will grip readers from the opening page to the stunning conclusion.

Add to Goodreads –


Book 1
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Avid Reader☆☆☆☆
M/F Thriller
Triggers: Click HERE to see Avid Reader’s review on Goodreads for trigger warnings.

Ellie is a police officer in a small town. She is known to be a strong, independent woman who isn't afraid of anything. But Ellie's past is something that haunts her daily. It's also not something that she discusses. When she notices that people have gone missing and nobody is doing anything about it, Ellie does everything in her power to get her fellow officers to listen. She even goes as far as to use her sexuality at times.

With nobody listening to her, she reaches out to the one person who might. Agent Reed is on a downward slide. He is on thin ice with the FBI and his family. When Ellie contact him, he can't help but be intrigued with her request.

Ellie and Reed are on the hunt for a killer that nobody else sees. But when the facts start to line up and more people go missing, Ellie's department can't help but see what she's seen all along. This is a fast-paced thriller that is very entertaining.

It was fairly predictable and I figured out the killer quite early on in the story, but I didn't feel that hindered my ability to enjoy the story until the end.


Sarah☆☆☆☆
Just a few chapters into this book, I knew that Ellery Hathaway was going to be my new favourite heroine. She’s fabulous. Damaged but resilient. Defiant, abrasive, and a complete loner. I warmed to Ellery as immediately as I did to Jessica Jones, Mercy Thompson, or Temperance Brennan.

But while I completely fell in love with Ellery, I didn’t completely love this first book. The plot moves slowly. At one point I realised I was 75% through the book and Ellery and Reed didn’t have any real suspects. The end is exciting but I’m not sure there are enough clues for readers to guess the whodunnit alongside Ellery and Reed. I enjoyed the story but I’d like to see the plotting and pacing improve in the next books.

While Ellery is definitely the hero in this story, I really enjoyed the working relationship between her and Reed, the FBI agent she works with. Tied together by a horror story many years ago, Reed and Ellery are very different people who manage to make each other stronger. Reed is a bit of a cliché. He’s a washed-up agent on the brink of both divorce and a formal suspension from his job. Burned out cops are a bit overdone so it’s his complicated relationship to Ellery that makes him interesting. I’m not sure he’d be interesting on his own but I love him as Ellery’s overqualified and slightly reluctant sidekick.

Having already read the second book in this series, I will say that I felt like the writing gets tighter and the suspense more exciting in the second story. Anyone new to the series will need to read this one first because it is impossible to understand Ellery without it. And this book is worth a read – even if just to get to know a fabulous new heroine.



Joanna Schaffhausen wields a mean scalpel, skills developed in her years studying neuroscience. She has a doctorate in psychology, which reflects her long-standing interest in the brain—how it develops and the many ways it can go wrong. Previously, she worked for ABC News, writing for programs such as World News Tonight, Good Morning America, and 20/20. She lives in the Boston area with her husband and daughter. The Vanishing Season is her first novel.

Connect with Joanna

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads


https://us.macmillan.com/minotaurbooks/


Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of The Vanishing Season (Ellery Hathaway #1) by Joanna Schaffhausen to read and review.

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