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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 one who lived. When three people disappear from her town in thre 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 one who lived. When three people disappear from her town in three years―all around her birthday―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 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.


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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 one who lived. When three people disappear from her town in thre 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 one who lived. When three people disappear from her town in three years―all around her birthday―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 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.

30 review for The Vanishing Season

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kaceey

    3.5* At the age of 14, Ellie was taken by an infamous serial killer. Close to death, she was rescued by FBI agent Reed Markham. Years later, Ellie is now a police officer in the small town of Woodbury, Massachusetts. Once again she turns to Agent Reed for help. People are suddenly vanishing in her small town. Is it even conceivable this could be tied to the monster from her past? Why is this happening again? More importantly how is this happening again? It all boils down to trust…and trust is in s 3.5* At the age of 14, Ellie was taken by an infamous serial killer. Close to death, she was rescued by FBI agent Reed Markham. Years later, Ellie is now a police officer in the small town of Woodbury, Massachusetts. Once again she turns to Agent Reed for help. People are suddenly vanishing in her small town. Is it even conceivable this could be tied to the monster from her past? Why is this happening again? More importantly how is this happening again? It all boils down to trust…and trust is in short supply in this small town. No one seems to have any for anyone. Ellie’s carefully crafted world is crumbling around her. Now it’s a race against time to discover who’s behind the disappearances, before another victim vanishes! I‘ve read several books dealing with serial killers lately. Though they all seem to morph from a similar theme, but this one did have an original flavor to it. Just right on the creepiness scale, and tastefully spread to make a delicious and frightening thriller. Even though I guessed the ending early on it was still an enjoyable read! A great debut for Joanna Schaffhausen, I will be watching for her next release. A traveling sister read with Brenda! Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin's Press and Joanna schaffhausen For this review and our full traveling sister review please visit Brenda and Norma's Fantastic Traveling Sister Book Blog http://www.twogirlslostinacouleereadi...

  2. 4 out of 5

    MarilynW

    This is my first Joanna Schaffhausen book and I've already started the next book in the Ellery Hathaway series and then still get to read the third book in the series. Happy days for me when I find a new author I want to follow. The Vanishing Season is book #1, followed by No Mercy and All the Best Lies and then the fourth book in the series, Every Waking Hour, will come out next year.  Ellery Hathaway was the only survivor of a serial killer who had raped, tortured and killed sixteen girls befor This is my first Joanna Schaffhausen book and I've already started the next book in the Ellery Hathaway series and then still get to read the third book in the series. Happy days for me when I find a new author I want to follow. The Vanishing Season is book #1, followed by No Mercy and All the Best Lies and then the fourth book in the series, Every Waking Hour, will come out next year.  Ellery Hathaway was the only survivor of a serial killer who had raped, tortured and killed sixteen girls before he grabbed Ellery. She was held for three days before a young FBI agent rescued her. The agent, Reed Markham, earned fame and recognition for saving Ellery and catching the serial killer, Francis Michael Coben, and even wrote a best selling book about the case. Now though, fourteen years later, Reed has fallen from grace after an error in judgement on his last case and he's been put on "stress leave" from his job and his marriage has fallen apart.  Ellery has been working as a cop in a small town, a town that has had three unsolved missing persons cases, that Ellery thinks are the work of a serial killer. But no one will listen to Ellery so she contacts Reed for help in solving the cases. Ellery and Reed make a good but cantankerous team, skirting rules, authority, and sometimes each other, as they try to stop another person missing, as the  disappearance anniversary of the first three people approaches.  To round out this team is Speed Bump, Ellery's slobbering Basset Hound rescue. Published December 5th 2017. Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for this ARC.

  3. 5 out of 5

    BernLuvsBooks

    The Vanishing Season is a Disturbing & Suspenseful Thriller Ellery Hathaway is a police officer with a traumatic past. Years before she was the sole surviver of a kidnapping at the hands of a sadistic serial killer. Now, girls are disappearing around her birthday and she knows these missing persons cases are connected to what happened to her in her youth. If only she could convince her superiors to take her concerns seriously without revealing the truth of who she is. Agent Reed Markham is the p The Vanishing Season is a Disturbing & Suspenseful Thriller Ellery Hathaway is a police officer with a traumatic past. Years before she was the sole surviver of a kidnapping at the hands of a sadistic serial killer. Now, girls are disappearing around her birthday and she knows these missing persons cases are connected to what happened to her in her youth. If only she could convince her superiors to take her concerns seriously without revealing the truth of who she is. Agent Reed Markham is the profiler who found Ellery all those years ago. Now, his marriage is over and his career is barely hanging on. When Ellery calls him for help he knows he can't refuse. His success was based off her case and their's was a bond formed in tragedy. I enjoyed Ellery's character immensely. Her strength, determination and vulnerability made me feel invested in her story. There was a definite creepy factor to the story as we work to figure out who the killer is and what their connection is to Ellery. The only drawback for me was that the details of Ellery's past were kept to a minimum. I would have appreciated more of her backstory but that might be intentional as this is the first book in an intended series. I hope Schaffhausen reveals more of Ellery's story in future books. I'll definitely be reading along with the series. Ellery and Reed's back and forth dynamic was great (dare we hope for a romance in the future?!) and Bump (the dog) was absolute perfection - what a furry little show stealer! 😉

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kendall

    Let's just pause for a moment to acknowledge that BEAUTIFUL cover. Not to mention how perfect it fits this cozy little mystery! Thank you to St. Martin's Press for granting my wish! What a wish this was :). The Vanishing Season is an addicting and unique thriller that will grab you from the first page. I am pretty impressed that this was a debut novel by Joanna Schaffhausen! Ellery Hathaway is a sole survivor of the famous serial killer Francis Michael Coben. Years later, Ellery Hathaway is livi Let's just pause for a moment to acknowledge that BEAUTIFUL cover. Not to mention how perfect it fits this cozy little mystery! Thank you to St. Martin's Press for granting my wish! What a wish this was :). The Vanishing Season is an addicting and unique thriller that will grab you from the first page. I am pretty impressed that this was a debut novel by Joanna Schaffhausen! Ellery Hathaway is a sole survivor of the famous serial killer Francis Michael Coben. Years later, Ellery Hathaway is living in Woodbury Massachusetts as a police officer. Let me tell you, ahem she is one strong and independent female character! Over the last three years, three missing persons have disappeared each year around Ellery's birthday and ironically the day she was kidnapped all those years ago. Ellery just has this haunting feeling that someone is watching her and knows her secret. Ellery decides to contact FBI agent Reed Markham who saved her all those years ago from serial killer Frances Coben for help. Loved agent Markham!!! Are these missing person's somehow connected to Ellery and this serial killer Coben? Or, is there someone else out there that has a deep and sinister obsession? Can, I just say I loved Ellery's partner in crime aka watchdog Bump! This little guy was adorable and in my opinion made the story that much better! Characterization was very strong and overall had me on the edge of my toes!! I give you props Joanna... you fooled me and didn't see the final ending coming ;). I would definitely recommend this to my fellow mystery/suspense lovers. This was a fun mystery to watch unravel! I was staying up wayyy past my bed time to finish this one! Overall, 4 solid stars! PUT THIS book on your radar my friends <3. A huge thank you to St. Martins Press, Minotaur Books, and Netgalley for granting my wish! Expected publication date is 12/5/17.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews

    3.5 stars The Vanishing Season was another Traveling Sisters read that I squeezed in with Kaceey between our Sister reads. The Vanishing Season is a haunting, enjoyable, fast-paced and suspenseful crime mystery thriller with a little creep added to it that had us intrigued but was a bit of a slow start for us. However, once we got to know our main characters Ellery and Agent Reed we loved the dynamics between them and we wanted to know more about them. Joanna Schaffhausen does a good job creating 3.5 stars The Vanishing Season was another Traveling Sisters read that I squeezed in with Kaceey between our Sister reads. The Vanishing Season is a haunting, enjoyable, fast-paced and suspenseful crime mystery thriller with a little creep added to it that had us intrigued but was a bit of a slow start for us. However, once we got to know our main characters Ellery and Agent Reed we loved the dynamics between them and we wanted to know more about them. Joanna Schaffhausen does a good job creating a strong and interesting yet flawed character here with Ellery and I liked her right from the start. I was intrigued by her tragic past and how her past tied to her present life. The suspense builds as clues and hidden secrets are revealed and the tension rises between Ellery and Reed leaving us questioning who to trust and not to trust. We loved discussing this between us and Kaceey figured a few things out that I, of course, didn’t. Joanna Schaffhausen weaved the past with the present well for a satisfying ending. I can’t leave this review without mentioning one of our favorite characters Ellery’s dog Speed Bump and we loved the humor, love, and devotion he brought to the story. We hope to see more of this furry character in the future. We recommend. Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Joanna Schaffhausen for a copy to read and review. Our Traveling Sisters Reviews can be found on our sister blog: https://travelingsistersbookreviews.c...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    3.5 Stars. Enticing prologue! Entertaining debut! WHO saw it happen 14 years ago and kept it a secret? Ellery Hathaway is a police officer with a scarred past working in the small town of Woodbury, Massachusetts, and she'll do just about anything (and has) to convince Police Chief Sam Parker that their missing person's cases may indeed be connected and the work of a serial killer....but he's not biting....so she calls in a trusted FBI agent who knows the horrific secrets of her past to give a fr 3.5 Stars. Enticing prologue! Entertaining debut! WHO saw it happen 14 years ago and kept it a secret? Ellery Hathaway is a police officer with a scarred past working in the small town of Woodbury, Massachusetts, and she'll do just about anything (and has) to convince Police Chief Sam Parker that their missing person's cases may indeed be connected and the work of a serial killer....but he's not biting....so she calls in a trusted FBI agent who knows the horrific secrets of her past to give a fresh perspective. And then....the package arrives.THE VANISHING SEASON is a fine crime-mystery with just enough suspense and scattered clues to keep the reader guessing while keeping the gore at bay....despite a killer with a weird fixation. As for Speed-Bump the dog....NICE addition to the cast of characters.Joanna Schaffhausen....another new author to keep an eye on.Many thanks to St. Martin's Press via NetGalley for granting my wish to read THE VANISHING SEASON in exchange for an honest review. Enjoyed it!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    This was a novel that suffered an identity crisis, not sure what it wanted to be: a thriller, police procedural or character study. Contained elements of all three, but for me this worked. There were a few instances where I had to suspend belief, but it also gave me some strong characters that I wanted to root for, and a wonderful little dog named speed bump, bump for short. Plus, the happenings, the case was addicting. Ellery is a police officer in a small town where three people have gone miss This was a novel that suffered an identity crisis, not sure what it wanted to be: a thriller, police procedural or character study. Contained elements of all three, but for me this worked. There were a few instances where I had to suspend belief, but it also gave me some strong characters that I wanted to root for, and a wonderful little dog named speed bump, bump for short. Plus, the happenings, the case was addicting. Ellery is a police officer in a small town where three people have gone missing, three years in a row. She knows there is more to this, but she can't get the Captain or other officers to tie them together, and investigate more fully. Of course, there is much they don't know about Ellery, the special knowledge she has that they don't. She calls Reed, an FBI agent she has connections with, a man who is now on official leave. Things start ramping up, and secrets to Ellerys identity will be revealed as well as new clues and terror unleashed on this town. I guessed the who done it, but not until I had read over 80% of the book. Not that I have a great track record in figuring these things out quickly, and I quite like it that way, makes the denoument more interesting. Think this writer will figure out her writing identity, and go on to write some stunning whatevers. Whatever she does next, as long as she can produce characters like these, she should have a stunning future. A good, solid read with a memorable little pup. ARC from Netgalley.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    4 stars for a well done mystery set in a small Massachusetts town. The suspense builds up continuously and has a satisfying climax. Ellery Hathaway is a patrol officer in fictional Woodbury, Mass. She believes that there is a serial killer in town. However, although there are 3 missing persons, there are no bodies, so the police chief doesn't believe her. Ellery was abducted by a serial killer when she was 14. She now uses her middle name, instead of Abigail. No one knows about her past except h 4 stars for a well done mystery set in a small Massachusetts town. The suspense builds up continuously and has a satisfying climax. Ellery Hathaway is a patrol officer in fictional Woodbury, Mass. She believes that there is a serial killer in town. However, although there are 3 missing persons, there are no bodies, so the police chief doesn't believe her. Ellery was abducted by a serial killer when she was 14. She now uses her middle name, instead of Abigail. No one knows about her past except her Mom and someone who sends her birthday cards. She hasn't told anyone in town her birthday. She believes the serial killer knows. She calls Reed Markham, the FBI agent who rescued her, for help. This mystery was a enjoyable read. I finished it in 2 days. There are some gory parts. It is not a cozy mystery. One quote: "When at last he took the exit for Woodbury, it was if the forest rose up around the road, trees thick as a bear's fur, the sun rendered as a distant, filtered light." Thanks to St. Martin's Press for sending me this book through NetGalley.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Maureen Carden

    Ellery Hathaway is the only survivor of the notorious serial killer, Frances Michael Coben. She was to be victim 17, but FBI agent Reed Markham swept in to rescue her from the fetid, locked closet where she had been kept, the closet where the unlucky 16 who didn’t survive had tried to claw their way out. No wonder she keeps the closets in her house nailed shut. Savor that image for a minute. Fourteen years later and she nails shut her closet doors. But now, Ellery is damned sure an almost- copy-c Ellery Hathaway is the only survivor of the notorious serial killer, Frances Michael Coben. She was to be victim 17, but FBI agent Reed Markham swept in to rescue her from the fetid, locked closet where she had been kept, the closet where the unlucky 16 who didn’t survive had tried to claw their way out. No wonder she keeps the closets in her house nailed shut. Savor that image for a minute. Fourteen years later and she nails shut her closet doors. But now, Ellery is damned sure an almost- copy-cat killer is at work. For the past three years someone has disappeared around her birthday. She knows another serial killer is at work but no one at her job will believe her since no bodies have been found and they all have reasons why they could be missing. This is extremely frustrating because Ellie is a police officer in the small town of Woodbury, MA. And she knows from serial killers. Not even her lover, the police chief takes her seriously. Ellery is sure she could convince the police chief, but that would mean giving up a few of her secrets, such as her real name and the fact that she was the seventeenth victim. She is also holding back real evidence. Instead she calls FBI S/A Reed Markham in to help her. He’s at a new low, even though for years he found fame and fortune on the back of his rescue of Ellery. Ellery does not resent this, as she herself has managed to make some good money from her ordeal. I found Ellery to be fascinating. She was fourteen when she was taken, but has managed to find and lead an almost normal life. She is really not one to completely admire, a welcome change with female protagonists. She is rabid about keeping her past hidden from everyone, even when it might help in establishing her case. She has turned into a bit of a user, not above using her sexual charms to advance her cause. She is also a loner with few friends. No man has ever been inside her house. S/A Markham is a mess, struggling to reach the surface and begin again in both his professional and personal life. He is aghast at one point to realize he may not have really rescued Ellery and must try to work through his mistrust of her. The academy award for best supporting actor goes to Bump, Ellery’s basset hound. Oh wait, I’m mixing my media. Oops doing it again. Anyway the dog is an award winner. The Vanishing Season is deftly plotted. It begins with a chilling prologue that stays with the reader and continues the thrills with a cold logic. The serial killer who took Ellery was one of the most chilling I’ve come across. I think by this time it must be hard for authors to be original in mining the serial killer plot. Joanna Schaffhausen has succeeded admirably with her cops, killers and story in The Vanishing Season This is Schaffhausen’s first book as she was the award winner for the Minotaur/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition. I hope she continues to find success as she is off to a fine start. I wonder though, if this is the beginning of a series, and if so, whose series, Ellery or S/A Markham? My thanks to publisher and NetGalley, for an advanced copy for review. The opinions are entirely my own.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jasmine from How Useful It Is

    This book is an excellent read! I love following Ellery and Reed’s thought processes and their detective work. I like seeing them connecting the dots to little clues available to what seems like dead end cases. I like how the evidence points to many people and each of them could be the suspect. My brain is so busy trying to solve the case and I couldn’t read fast enough to find out what will happen. It was tough to put down after each read. This book is told in the third person point of view foll This book is an excellent read! I love following Ellery and Reed’s thought processes and their detective work. I like seeing them connecting the dots to little clues available to what seems like dead end cases. I like how the evidence points to many people and each of them could be the suspect. My brain is so busy trying to solve the case and I couldn’t read fast enough to find out what will happen. It was tough to put down after each read. This book is told in the third person point of view following Ellery (Ellie) Hathaway, a patrol officer in a small town of Woodbury, MA and Reed Markham, an on-leave FBI Agent who is famous for his rescue of #17 victim to the Coben serial killer. Ellery harbor a big secret and has been living life under the radar. She deals with domestic disturbances on her job but what she really wanted was to solve the three missing person cases before another person becomes a victim. It has been three years and the victims have remained missing, Ellery decided to recruit Reed Markham to help solve the cases. As soon as Reed arrived into town, a severed hand of one of the missing victims arrived at Ellery’s doorstep gift wrapped. The news connected the dots and discovered Ellery’s darkest secret. Time is running out before another person goes missing and whether there is a copycat out there or if the serial killer from 14 years ago is acting out from death row. This book is very well written and carefully organized. I love the mystery and suspense. I like the chilling postcard and its mysterious background. I like Ellery and how she cared to make a difference as a police officer when she couldn’t protect Rosalie. I like Ellery’s name because it’s the first time I have come across. It’s unique, original, and easy to pronounce. I like the reminder about Reed’s life. His struggles to maintain his time for work and family is a good reminder to us all that we shouldn’t take family time for granted. I was able to guess the name of the killer but the reason behind it is surprising. It’s definitely interesting how people actually want to go down in history as killers instead of hero or inventor. Too bad there isn’t much romance, but that’s alright because the read is still fantastic and I highly recommend everyone to read it! Pro: mystery, suspense, page turner, fast paced, serial killer, abduction, connecting the dots, Con: none I rate it 5 stars! ***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Minotaur Books for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest. xoxo, Jasmine at www.howusefulitis.wordpress.com for more details

  11. 4 out of 5

    Norma

    3.5 stars rounded up to 4 stars! Thank you so much to St. Martin's Press for granting my wish to read this book. Covers of books are usually what initially draws me into deciding which books I want to read and when I seen this cover I just knew that I wanted to read this book! This was an intriguing, entertaining, fast-paced and suspenseful crime-mystery novel that I really enjoyed. Very impressive debut novel! Would recommend! Brenda's full Traveling Sisters Review along with Kaceey’s review for T 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 stars! Thank you so much to St. Martin's Press for granting my wish to read this book. Covers of books are usually what initially draws me into deciding which books I want to read and when I seen this cover I just knew that I wanted to read this book! This was an intriguing, entertaining, fast-paced and suspenseful crime-mystery novel that I really enjoyed. Very impressive debut novel! Would recommend! Brenda's full Traveling Sisters Review along with Kaceey’s review for THE VANISHING SEASON by JOANNA SCHAFFHAUSEN can be found on our blog: https://twogirlslostinacouleereading....

  12. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    Years ago Ellery Hathaway became victim number seventeen of serial killer Francis Michael Coben when she was abducted and held captive. Ellery was lucky enough that FBI Agent Reed Markham saw something other investigators hadn't and followed clues to Coben's home where he managed to rescue Ellery and put Coben behind bars making Ellery the one that survived. Now Ellery is in law enforcement herself and finds that she may just have another serial killer on her hands but no one wants to believe he Years ago Ellery Hathaway became victim number seventeen of serial killer Francis Michael Coben when she was abducted and held captive. Ellery was lucky enough that FBI Agent Reed Markham saw something other investigators hadn't and followed clues to Coben's home where he managed to rescue Ellery and put Coben behind bars making Ellery the one that survived. Now Ellery is in law enforcement herself and finds that she may just have another serial killer on her hands but no one wants to believe her. What the other officers in the sleepy little town of Woodbury, MA don't know is that the disappearances in town are happening at the time Ellery was taken all those years ago and she's been receiving cards every year at the time but she's hesitant to tell of her past. Looking for another angle to open a case into the missing persons Ellery makes a call to the man who saved her all those years ago. The Vanishing Season by Joanna Schaffhausen is a mystery/thriller read that takes a reader on a journey to catch a serial killer. The book is written with a small town vibe and a flawed main character that pulled me in immediately and kept my interest until the very end. Surviving a serial killer herself gave Ellery a strength behind her that she needed to survive but now puts toward helping others. While the story had plenty of twists and turns to make this one a solid mystery I did kind of question some of the actions of the police in this small town. Perhaps not the most realistic of investigating and actions at times so I just couldn't quite bring myself to go a full five stars but the story and characters do make this worth the read. I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley. For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.wordpress....

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Joint

    The Vanishing Season is an impressive first novel from author Joanna Schaffhausen. The cover and title initially grabbed my attention, so I was very pleased that St. Martin's Press granted my wish to read this book on Net Galley. No one around Ellery Hathaway really knows her. They know she's a good police officer with a caring heart... but they don't know her story. She never celebrates her birthday, because it serves as an unwelcome reminder of the birthday long ago when she was kidnapped. Ell The Vanishing Season is an impressive first novel from author Joanna Schaffhausen. The cover and title initially grabbed my attention, so I was very pleased that St. Martin's Press granted my wish to read this book on Net Galley. No one around Ellery Hathaway really knows her. They know she's a good police officer with a caring heart... but they don't know her story. She never celebrates her birthday, because it serves as an unwelcome reminder of the birthday long ago when she was kidnapped. Ellery was kept by an infamous serial killer, and remains his only survivor while he rots in prison. She's worked hard to keep her past a secret, but it seems someone knows her better than she thinks... she's been receiving a card on the anniversary of her birth for the last three years, postmarked from the same sleepy little town she's made her home. It also happens to coincide with one disappearance each year. The victims seem unconnected, being of different sexes and ages. They don't seem to have much at all in common, and Ellery has had a difficult time convincing her superiors these cases are likely by the same perpetrator. She contacts the one man she thinks she can rely on: Agent Reed Markham, the man who saved her life long ago and told her to get in touch if she ever needed anything again. She's convinced that someone else will disappear, now that it's "vanishing season" once more. They last saw each other when Reed was a young, determined detective and Ellery (then Abby) was a traumatized teenager. Can he live up to her expectations... and will she live up to his? I'm giving this one a 3.5 rounded up to a four. The characters are incredibly well-developed and the story is intriguing. There are moments that made me shudder, and moments that made me laugh. Bump, Ellery's rescue dog, was a bright spot. I loved whenever he featured. The strongest points of this book are the beginning and the last quarter or so. I did get lost with different names, leads, and side stories in the middle a bit, and I did predict a bit of the ending but not exactly how it would come to be. Still overall a great story and a really promising debut. I received a copy of this book from Net Galley and St. Martin's Press, thank you! My review is honest and unbiased.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Holly B

    3.5 Stars I'm not sure I would call this a thriller, but more of a crime, police-procedural mystery. This is a debut author and I did enjoy her writing for the most part. It started off very compelling as a kidnapping occurs, but ultimately does not keep up with the pace of the initial chapters. Abby (the kidnapped and serial killer survivor) becomes a police officer and becomes involved in cases of three people who have disappeared/vanished at or around the same time every year. She suspects it m 3.5 Stars I'm not sure I would call this a thriller, but more of a crime, police-procedural mystery. This is a debut author and I did enjoy her writing for the most part. It started off very compelling as a kidnapping occurs, but ultimately does not keep up with the pace of the initial chapters. Abby (the kidnapped and serial killer survivor) becomes a police officer and becomes involved in cases of three people who have disappeared/vanished at or around the same time every year. She suspects it may be some how connected to her own kidnapping case. There are some grisly details and uncomfortable descriptions, but it is a "serial killer" plot so be prepared for it if you read this one. I didn't feel the story evolved into the suspenseful story it could have been. It ventures off into a lot of side stories that bogged down the story line and had me distracted. I would still be interested in this author and what she comes up with next. If you enjoy serial killer plots with some twisted themes, you may enjoy this one very much! Thanks for my wish granted- St. Martin's Press and Netgalley Publication expected December 5,2017

  15. 5 out of 5

    Toni

    Although all novels in this series can be read as standalones, if you want to truly understand the development Ellery Hathaway and Agent Reed Markham go through, it is better to read the novels in order. Ellery Hathaway comes from a disadvantaged and broken family. She is also a survivor of a horrifying childhood trauma. At the age of 14, she was abducted and victimised by the notorious serial killer Francis Coben. There will always be a special link between Ellery and Agent Markham as he was the Although all novels in this series can be read as standalones, if you want to truly understand the development Ellery Hathaway and Agent Reed Markham go through, it is better to read the novels in order. Ellery Hathaway comes from a disadvantaged and broken family. She is also a survivor of a horrifying childhood trauma. At the age of 14, she was abducted and victimised by the notorious serial killer Francis Coben. There will always be a special link between Ellery and Agent Markham as he was the person who rescued her, although he will always wonder if it might have already been too late for the girl to ever truly recover. The characterisation in this novel is excellent. We see how the protagonists' past made them into the people they are now. Can they turn the tide and learn to live their life differently? The Vanishing Season is an excellent police procedural with a tight plot and interesting twists. I did guess a few things in advance, but this is actually due to the inner story logic and consistency of the characters, which are things I am always looking for in this genre. A well-written beginning of an engaging series with strong characters, The Vanishing Season is highly recommended for all lovers of mysteries and thrillers. Thank you to NetGalley and Minotaur Books for making this book available on NetGalley, so that the readers could catch up on books 1 and 2 of Joanna Schaffhausen's excellent series of police procedurals featuring Ellery Hathaway.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kelly (and the Book Boar)

    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ “It’s not up to you to stop it, not by yourself. You’re just one person, Ellie.” “Yeah, but I’m the one he wants.” The Vanishing Season would most definitely NOT pass the Ron 2.0 smell test . . . . Some of the reasons include: 1. Our leading lady was the “one who got away” from a serial killer . . . 2. Who then grew up to become a cop . . . . 3. And yet somehow no one knows who she was . . . . 4. In a sleepy little hamlet where sh Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ “It’s not up to you to stop it, not by yourself. You’re just one person, Ellie.” “Yeah, but I’m the one he wants.” The Vanishing Season would most definitely NOT pass the Ron 2.0 smell test . . . . Some of the reasons include: 1. Our leading lady was the “one who got away” from a serial killer . . . 2. Who then grew up to become a cop . . . . 3. And yet somehow no one knows who she was . . . . 4. In a sleepy little hamlet where she has decided three missing persons cases are somehow linked to a copycat killer. 5. Our leading male was the FBI agent who saved our leading lady when she was a kid . . . . 6. Who flubbed his last case and is now on leave . . . . 7. But has decided to be all mavericky and lend a hand when it comes to solving these new cases . . . . 8. And of course no one stops him and he calls in favors and they send him files he needs and whatever else would never happen. Guess what? Ron is totally right . . . . For whatever reason, however, I kinda have a great time with these “Lifetimey” selections of whodunits. They are my version of the cozy mystery and . . . . I enjoyed that Ellery was flawed (to the extent some readers might not even be able to sympathize with her character). I appreciated Reed and Ellery’s relationship in that they worked together, as equals, and there was never even a hint that things would turn sexual. I liked their dialogue . . . . “I did not cheat on my wife with any live women.” “That’s a creepy way to put it.” The storytelling here was captivating and the page count was spot-on without a bunch of filler. Really, the only downside was I immediately knew “whodunit” – but when there are like four characters being focused on and you know three didn’t do it . . . . It didn’t even matter, though. This was the perfect read for a rainy Sunday.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    The Vanishing Season, the first installment of Joanna Schaffhausen’s Ellery Hathaway series, kicks off with an obduction and races forward from there. Unlike most freshman installments, this one is concise and fast-paced, taking care to build the world and introduce each character while at the same time keeping mindful of the economy of language. I expected a dozen flashbacks to Abby/Ellery’s time with the monster she survived, but none came, something I found refreshing. The other thing I reall The Vanishing Season, the first installment of Joanna Schaffhausen’s Ellery Hathaway series, kicks off with an obduction and races forward from there. Unlike most freshman installments, this one is concise and fast-paced, taking care to build the world and introduce each character while at the same time keeping mindful of the economy of language. I expected a dozen flashbacks to Abby/Ellery’s time with the monster she survived, but none came, something I found refreshing. The other thing I really appreciate is that Ellery is a flawed character. She isn’t some judgmental paragon of virtue with a heart of gold who can do no wrong. Rather, she is a cunning, pragmatic woman with a survival instinct that stands her in good stead. That her cunning, pragmatism, and instinct all drive her to make questionable, even flat out wrong decisions is something readers are told to either take or leave. To continue, Schaffhausen, for the most part, dispenses with the usual sexist tropes that tend to dominate thrillers/mysteries featuring female protagonists. For example, I fully expected the “boys” to protect Ellery’s “delicate” feelings against a letter from her would be killer. I was pleasantly surprised when the hero respected her right and choice to confront the past, even if doing so reopened her invisible scars. Oh, there was the usual “I’m your shadow, whether you like it or not” crap but, it was clear that the guarding was *against* a killer rather than *of* a helpless female. I especially love the scene where she shuts down the high-handed hero when he decides he knows what’s best for her. She picks her battles but, when she means something, she means it, and you haven’t a chance in hell of getting her to do something she doesn’t want to do. Also, the fact that the heroine does the saving and is the one to neutralize the villain warms my soul. All that being said, I’d be remiss if I let the predictability factor go without comment. I guessed the killer’s identity long before the big reveal, even with Schaffhausen’s attempts to shroud him in the suspicious behaviors of three characters, mainly Ellery’s lover, a fellow officer, and her one-time savior. The “very last person you should suspect” plot device doesn’t work for me, especially because, more often than not, that's the very one I suspect, but YMMV. Ultimately, The Vanishing Season is a great read and has everything to offer to those who love cozies and thrillers; four stars.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Schizanthus Nerd

    I’ve done it! I’ve finally done it!! I’ve found an author whose writing is worthy of being compared to Tess Gerritsen in a sentence like “I’ve finally found an author as good as Tess” or “This book had everything I love about Tess books and more, and it’s not even written by Tess!” Friends, please allow me to introduce you (if you haven’t already discovered her) to Joanna Schaffhausen. I’m going to go out on a limb here and call it early ... remember this name because Joanna’s ability to immers I’ve done it! I’ve finally done it!! I’ve found an author whose writing is worthy of being compared to Tess Gerritsen in a sentence like “I’ve finally found an author as good as Tess” or “This book had everything I love about Tess books and more, and it’s not even written by Tess!” Friends, please allow me to introduce you (if you haven’t already discovered her) to Joanna Schaffhausen. I’m going to go out on a limb here and call it early ... remember this name because Joanna’s ability to immerse you in her character’s world has bestseller written all over it. I feel as though nothing I say here can possibly do justice to her debut but I’ll give it a shot and encourage you to read it yourself so we can gush together about how much we loved it. Ellery Hathaway is the sole survivor of infamous serial killer Francis Michael Coben. Saved by Agent Reed Markham before she became Coben’s seventeenth murder victim, Ellery now works as a police officer in a quiet town where no one knows who she really is. She is the only one who believes there’s a link between three seemingly unconnected disappearances in three years in her town, which all occurred around her birthday, the day she was abducted fourteen years ago. Ellery’s next birthday is approaching and she calls Reed, knowing he is the only one who will believe her. I wanted to both rush through The Vanishing Season and read as slowly as possible to draw the experience of the first read out for as long as possible. I became immersed by about paragraph 3 and each time I came back to where I’d left the story I got sucked straight back in. I wound up so engaged that I didn’t realise I’d said, not thought, “I knew it!” until one of the people that had been respectfully honouring my ‘don’t you dare interrupt me until I finish my book or there will be dire consequences’ look came from the other side of the house to find out what my outburst was about. Oops! I know a book has its hooks in me when I start repeating a phrase to myself while reading, as if the number of times I repeat it can magically increase the likelihood of my being able to influence the outcome. Yes, in my mind I wield that much power! In this case I had two magical phrases: 1. “Please don’t let Bump die!” 2. “Let the killer be anyone but 🤚.” (And, no, I’m not telling you who the hand represents but it seemed an appropriate substitute given the content of the book.) I adored Bump. The loyal and trustworthy male in Ellery’s life, Bump is a basset hound who loves walks and rides in the car, liberally distributing slobber over humans he likes and dreams of the day when someone will accidentally drop a piece of chocolate in his vicinity. Also, the story surrounding the choice of his name is wonderful and dog owners everywhere will relate and wonder why they didn’t think of naming their dog Bump. I loved the people characters as well. No one was perfect. All of the major players had pasts which influenced the way they thought and acted in the situation they found themselves in. There were questionable ethics and life choices, secrets galore and issues surrounding trust were hiding beneath the surface, and shame and guilt were both explored. I really enjoyed Ellery and Brady’s banter. Their friendship felt comfortable and their bond over 80’s music and quips about what they disagreed on made me feel like I was being included. I almost wanted to add my own opinion a couple of times. I’m looking forward to reading Ellery and Reed banter in future books. There were hints of it here but good banter takes time to develop in a friendship so I’m thankful it didn’t happen immediately. Coben gave me a what a fantastic yet disgusting and interesting in a disturbing way vibe that was similar to the way I felt when reading about Hannibal Lecter. Which brings me to the gore. It was gruesome enough to satisfy the disturbed side of me that watches B grade movies in part to cheer when the gigantic shark leaps out of the water and takes down a plane, yet it wasn’t so focused on the brutality of the murders that it detracted from the interactions between characters and the mystery of who was behind the murders and why. Trigger warnings include domestic violence and sexual assault. The references to sexual assault are not gratuitous by any means but I felt the character directly affected was so realistic that if this has been your experience you are likely to see parts of your own response mirrored back at you (which incidentally I applaud because life after sexual assault is rarely written well). I wasn’t personally triggered while reading, instead feeling hopeful when I encountered ‘me, too’ moments. I’m always interested, when someone is rescued after being kidnapped or otherwise traumatised, in what happens next. What becomes of the survivor? What does their life look like now compared to what it looked like prior to whatever happened to them? How do they cope? Do they think they’re a victim or a survivor? So many books that explore the effects of sexual assault portray the person who experiences it as either a victim hiding from the world in a corner or someone who’s taking on the world and has no residual physical or psychological impacts in their life. The character in The Vanishing Season who’s been sexually assaulted was irrevocably changed by their experiences and is a wonderful mix of strength and vulnerability. They’ve overcome so much but there are still physical reminders on their body and in their home that speak to the pain they carry with them. They’re at a point in their life where they’ve worked so hard to no longer be the victim yet they still feel the need to hide. I loved the dichotomies and the implication that healing from sexual assault isn’t a one size fits all process. If I were to nitpick I’d tell you that I wanted more details of the Big Bad’s background. It’s not as though we don’t know some pivotal moments in their life that help set their particular brand of crazy in motion and we’re given access to the twisted way they think, but I wanted more. To be fair, I have an obsession interest in what causes people with similar genetic and environmental factors to take drastically different paths in life, so my need to know more says more about me than it does about this book. I was also left wanting to know what happens to Anna after the book finished. And now for your chance to laugh at and with me, I’ll tell you my favourite How Stupid Am I moment I encountered while reading. Initially when I read the town’s name I got Woodbury confused with Woodsboro and for a while I was thinking of how funny it would be if there was a cameo of some random person in a Scream mask running through a scene. 🤪 I love debut novels but I often wind up disappointed by a feeling of knowing how good a book could have been if only that brilliant idea had the execution you usually only expect with experience. Joanna’s debut had the excitement of a first time author’s passion but was written with the character development, story arc, backstories, delightful twists and sucked into a reading black hole ability I only expect of the greats once they’ve found their feet. There were some sentences where the imagery made it feel like I was reading poetry. I don’t even know Joanna yet I feel proud of her for writing such an impressive debut. If this is what she can accomplish with a first novel I can only imagine how much fun it’s going to be to read her future novels. If anyone has any spare stars I’d love to borrow some because ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ aren’t enough. I received a copy of this book from NetGalley (thank you to NetGalley, Minotaur Books and St. Martin’s Press for ✨ granting my wish ✨ and giving me this opportunity) in exchange for honest feedback. I don’t know if I can wait for the next Ellery/Reed/Bump book to be released. I’ve found a new author whose books will be added to my to be read list sight unseen.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    For a debut novel this is an excellent police procedural / mystery. At the age of 14, on her birthday, Ellery Hathaway is kidnapped by a serial killer. After three harrowing days she is rescued by FBI agent Reed Markham. Fast forward several years into the future we find Ellery is now a police officer in the small town of Woodbury, Massachusetts. For the last 3 years around her birthday someone in this small town goes missing. Not only that but she receives ominous birthday cards in the mail fro For a debut novel this is an excellent police procedural / mystery. At the age of 14, on her birthday, Ellery Hathaway is kidnapped by a serial killer. After three harrowing days she is rescued by FBI agent Reed Markham. Fast forward several years into the future we find Ellery is now a police officer in the small town of Woodbury, Massachusetts. For the last 3 years around her birthday someone in this small town goes missing. Not only that but she receives ominous birthday cards in the mail from someone who seems to know her and who she is even though she's done everything in her power to hide her identity. Not even her closest friends know who she really is. When she approaches the chief of police with suspicions that the three missing people are some how connected to one another the chief scoffs at her idea because no bodies have been found. Since she now hit a dead end she makes a phone call to the one person that might actually believe her, Reed Markham. He immediately grabs the first flight and is on his way to help her look into the mysterious disappearances. From here we follow Ellery and Reed through out their investigation. I don't want to spoil anything but let's just say that who I thought the killer was turned out to be wrong. Really wrong. Well done, Joanna Schaffhausen for a genuine surprise. Oh, and one last thing, I am in love with (and you will be too) Speed Bump her adorable bassett hound. Thank you so much to NetGalley for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    3.5 stars Well, after thoroughly enjoying books 2 and 3 of the series starring Ellery Hathaway and Reed Markham, I discovered NetGalley still had book 1 available. It was interesting to go back and see how the two characters started solving cases together. Years before, Ellery survived a terrible ordeal and was a serial killer's only surviving victim and Reed was the FBI agent that worked her case. In The Vanishing Season Ellery, a deputy in a small town begins to wonder if there is more tha 3.5 stars Well, after thoroughly enjoying books 2 and 3 of the series starring Ellery Hathaway and Reed Markham, I discovered NetGalley still had book 1 available. It was interesting to go back and see how the two characters started solving cases together. Years before, Ellery survived a terrible ordeal and was a serial killer's only surviving victim and Reed was the FBI agent that worked her case. In The Vanishing Season Ellery, a deputy in a small town begins to wonder if there is more than a simple missing persons case, she contacts Reed to give her a hand. Of course, the chief of her police department and part time lover, Sam, is none to keen on this line of investigation. But as Ellery and Reed begin to explore the cases of three different individuals it soon becomes clear that someone just might be lurking in the shadows and Ellery is their target. As per usual, I just CANNOT put a book in this series down and was engaged in my reading experience from beginning to end. Goodreads review published 08/11/19 Publication Date 05/12/17( Available on NetGalley until Feb 2020)

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    For the past 3 years, Ellery Hathaway has received the same card on her birthday. From a relative? Perhaps a friend. Uh, no. The cards may be unsigned but she knows exactly what their arrival means. Ellie is a cop in the rural town of Woodbury. It’s a sleepy place where crimes range from petty to domestic. The cop shop is small & the only outstanding mysteries are 3 missing persons. One each July when Ellie turns another year older. She’s desperate to reopen the cases but until she comes up with For the past 3 years, Ellery Hathaway has received the same card on her birthday. From a relative? Perhaps a friend. Uh, no. The cards may be unsigned but she knows exactly what their arrival means. Ellie is a cop in the rural town of Woodbury. It’s a sleepy place where crimes range from petty to domestic. The cop shop is small & the only outstanding mysteries are 3 missing persons. One each July when Ellie turns another year older. She’s desperate to reopen the cases but until she comes up with some new info, her boss doesn’t want to hear it. As far as he’s concerned there’s nothing to connect the 3 & he’s satisfied with what they found. But Ellie has more insight than most & with good reason. Turns out she has a secret & it’s a whopper. When she was 14, she became famous as the final victim of a prolific & sadistic kidnapper. She only survived because of a brilliant FBI agent named Reed Markham. But survival can take many forms. The time she spent with a mad man & ensuing media crush left Ellie with obvious & hidden scars. In an effort to escape her past, she changed her name & broke all ties. No one in Woodbury knows who she is or at least that’s what she thought. As another July approaches, Ellie fears someone else will disappear & there’s only one person who can help. Because she just got another card. Got your attention? I hope so because this taut, atmospheric read deserves a space on your TBR pile. It succeeds on several levels but I’ll just speak to a few. First, the setting. A small town is the perfect backdrop for setting the tone. Everyone knows everyone…or thinks they do. There is a closed culture that desperately wants to believe in “stranger danger” because horrific crimes couldn’t possibly be committed by someone they know, right? The sense of security borne of familiar faces & routines can be the first casualty when a killer strikes. But that familiarity also means that someone must know something. Then we have the 2 MC’s. Their personalities are very different but both are dealing with fallout from the case that brought them together all those years ago. There’s a plethora of crime protagonists out there that come saddled with PTSD/tortured/hidden pasts & how much I enjoy their story often depends on how they’re portrayed. When it comes to Ellie, this author struck a perfect balance (IMHO). Her public persona is cool & collected, designed to discourage anyone from getting too close. But we are privy to private moments where her thoughts & habits reveal how she copes with the permanent psychological damage from her ordeal. Especially effective are the descriptions of her home which provide a telling mirror reflection of its owner. Reed is also well developed, a likeable flawed man whose career peaked when he rescued teenage Ellie. A subsequent screw-up erased his status as golden boy of the FBI’s Behavioural Unit. When Ellie calls it’s a chance to revisit his greatest success & perhaps find a little personal redemption in the process. There’s a subtle underlying unease that gradually builds as we, like Ellie & Reed, wait for the killer to make their next move. Questionable behaviour from several characters means you may change your mind more than once as you try to identify the bad guy. And just so you know, details from Ellie’s past are sparing & kept to a minimum. The author chose to reveal a few choice tidbits instead of full on graphic descriptions which allows your imagination to run amok & fill in the blanks. It all adds up to deliver a creepy, satisfying read & I sincerely hope a book #2 is in the works.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Burnett

    The Vanishing Season kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading it. It’s a highly entertaining read with a sympathetic, likeable protagonist and a clever mystery with a satisfying and realistic resolution. As the story careens towards its ultimate thrilling conclusion, Schaffhausen includes lots of twists and turns and several red-herrings which add to the building tension. It wasn’t too hard to figure out who the murderer was but that didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the The Vanishing Season kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading it. It’s a highly entertaining read with a sympathetic, likeable protagonist and a clever mystery with a satisfying and realistic resolution. As the story careens towards its ultimate thrilling conclusion, Schaffhausen includes lots of twists and turns and several red-herrings which add to the building tension. It wasn’t too hard to figure out who the murderer was but that didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book. The book is pretty creepy which I would have preferred to know going in, but it wasn’t so creepy that I had to stop reading it. My favorite thing about the book is that it is a page-turner. I didn’t want to set it down to do anything else. The two small things that did not appeal to me as much were the amount of graphic detail included (it is fairly gruesome at times and the bizarre cover – the girl looks pregnant. I had to look at it for a long time to finally make sense of the picture. I am a firm believer that a good cover is invaluable to a book, and this one just doesn’t hit the mark. The Vanishing Season is an entertaining and thrilling debut, and I look forward to Schaffhausen’s next book. Thanks to Minotaur Books and NetGalley for my copy. All opinions are my own.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mandy White (mandylovestoread)

    The Vanishing Season by Joanna Schuffhausen is a fantastic story.. Ellery Hathaway is a tough character and I am looking forward to reading more about her in future books. This book kept me guessing and on edge right til the end. The premise was intriguing and original which was really refreshing. Ellie, at age 14, was taken by infamous serial killer Francis Michael Coben on her birthday. She is the only survivor of his killing spree, but she keeps this to herself. Years later she is a police of The Vanishing Season by Joanna Schuffhausen is a fantastic story.. Ellery Hathaway is a tough character and I am looking forward to reading more about her in future books. This book kept me guessing and on edge right til the end. The premise was intriguing and original which was really refreshing. Ellie, at age 14, was taken by infamous serial killer Francis Michael Coben on her birthday. She is the only survivor of his killing spree, but she keeps this to herself. Years later she is a police officer in Woodbury MA where nothing much really happens. But for the past 3 years people have been disappearing around her birthday and her superior officers are not taking her seriously. In desperation she reaches out to her rescuers all those years ago - FBI agent Reed Markham. Reed's like is a mess at the moment - his marriage is falling apart and his colleagues are losing faith in him. Together they try to find these people and who took them and why. Is it all connected to Ellie and why? Thanks to St Martin's Press, Minotaur Books and Netgalley for granting my wish for this book. All opinions are my own and are in no way biased.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kristy

    Ellery Hathaway is the only female police officer in Woodbury, Massachusetts. She's also the only one on the force who believes Woodbury has a serial killer--one who is picking off people every July. Ellery was once Abby Hathaway, who was kidnapped at fourteen in a very famous case: she was the seventeenth victim of serial killer Francis Coben. And the only one who lived. Now Ellery is convinced these people in Woodbury--who are going missing around her birthday--are tied to her own incident. So Ellery Hathaway is the only female police officer in Woodbury, Massachusetts. She's also the only one on the force who believes Woodbury has a serial killer--one who is picking off people every July. Ellery was once Abby Hathaway, who was kidnapped at fourteen in a very famous case: she was the seventeenth victim of serial killer Francis Coben. And the only one who lived. Now Ellery is convinced these people in Woodbury--who are going missing around her birthday--are tied to her own incident. So she calls the only person she can think of: Reed Markham, the FBI agent who rescued her from the Coben's closet all those years ago. But Reed is battling his own issues. While Ellery's case--and the subsequent book he wrote--made him famous, he's on forced leave after messing up an investigation, and his wife has kicked him out. His most famous moment revolves around Ellery, but did he truly save her? And now they both are about to be sucked back into the case. Wow, what an excellent start to a series! I loved this book and was drawn immediately to Ellery ("Ellie") and Reed! They are a dynamic duo, with a truly complicated history, and this was a compelling page-turner from the beginning. Schaffhausen has an easy writing style that brings Ellie and Reed to life (along with Ellie's awesome hound dog "Bump"), and I sped through the book in a couple of hours. "Ellie knew 'touched' could mean gifted or insane. Maybe she was both. But she wasn't wrong, and if anyone out there was ever going to believe her, it was Reed Markham. Because he'd been touched once too." The story is an exciting one, tying back to Ellie's original kidnapping, but working in present-day disappearances in the town where she's escaped. Ellie is desperately trying to start over: no one on her police force knows about her old life. (This is the one thing that seems a little crazy--how did that background check fly? And how does she get so far along in these new cases without spilling the beans?) Still, I'm willing to overlook it, because this is a captivating dark read that keeps you guessing. I figured out a few things here and there, but it in no way diminished my interest. The dynamics between Ellie and Reed are sizzling, and the twists and turns exciting. I love a good mystery/police procedural, and this one did not disappoint. It's deep and creepy, with a powerful lead female character, and I cannot wait to read the next two books! (I finished this book three days ago, and I'm already in the middle of the third book, just to illustrate how much I enjoy this series!) 4 stars. I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and Minotaur Books in return for an honest review. Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ PaperBackSwap ~ Smashbomb

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lori Lamothe

    Can you ever really become someone else? On the evening of her fourteenth birthday, Abby Hathaway goes out for a bike ride when she falls victim to a serial killer. Unlike the first sixteen girls, however, Abby survives thanks to FBI profiler Reed Markham. But there's a difference between surviving and living. Years later, Abby has dyed her blonde hair brown and changed her name to Ellery. She's a cop who lives with her dog in an isolated farmhouse where all the closets are nailed shut. No one i Can you ever really become someone else? On the evening of her fourteenth birthday, Abby Hathaway goes out for a bike ride when she falls victim to a serial killer. Unlike the first sixteen girls, however, Abby survives thanks to FBI profiler Reed Markham. But there's a difference between surviving and living. Years later, Abby has dyed her blonde hair brown and changed her name to Ellery. She's a cop who lives with her dog in an isolated farmhouse where all the closets are nailed shut. No one in Woodbury, Massachusetts has any idea she's the famous “little girl lost”--the final victim who helped put Francis Coben behind bars for good. In fact, no one knows anything about Ellery at all. She has sealed off her past as tightly as her closets and that's exactly how she intends to keep it. Unfortunately, someone has other plans for Ellery. Not only does she receive eerie birthday cards every July, but she is also convinced that three local people who have gone missing during that same month have been murdered. And she's got a sneaking suspicion that their deaths may be related to the past she so desperately wants to put behind her. The Vanishing Season is a fast-paced, gripping psychological thriller that is the first in Joanna Schaffhausen's Ellery Hathaway series. The second book, No Mercy, came out earlier this year and the third, All The Best Lies, is due out in February. Though the plot has plenty of twists that kept me guessing, the best thing about The Vanishing Season is Schaffhausen's ability to create complex, flawed characters whose relationships are equally flawed and complex. Ellery finds it almost impossible to form emotional connections with people but she's more than the typical innocent victim. She can be manipulative and she sometimes wonders if she just might be a little crazy. Reed, the courageous hero who wrote a bestselling book about her, is a wreck of a man who has been spending most of his time drinking and sleeping around. His marriage is in shambles and he's not about to win Father of the Year either. Not surprisingly, Ellery and Reed have doubts about each other--but there is still a strong connection between them because of what they went through together. I loved watching their relationship (which is not romantic--yet?) develop over the course of the novel. I also liked the novel's small-town setting. Having spent much of my life in remote New England, I found Woodbury eerily familiar. My only critique of The Vanishing Season is that the ending felt a little too fast-paced. There were a couple of plot points that needed more explanation, I thought. Still, this is an impressive, well-written debut novel. I'm currently reading No Mercy (Ellery Markham #2) and look forward to seeing more of Ellery, Reed and even Woodbury. Much thanks to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Pat (not getting friend updates currently)

    I first read this book quite a while a while ago and could remember nothing about it. Re-read just recently so I could buddy read the three book series. Strangely I enjoyed it more this time around. Fourteen years ago FBI agent Reed Markham carried a traumatised 14 year old Abigail Hathaway from a locked closet in a murder house. She had been held, tortured and raped for three days. Later in the hospital Reed had given Abby his card and told her to call him anytime. Fourteen years later, she did I first read this book quite a while a while ago and could remember nothing about it. Re-read just recently so I could buddy read the three book series. Strangely I enjoyed it more this time around. Fourteen years ago FBI agent Reed Markham carried a traumatised 14 year old Abigail Hathaway from a locked closet in a murder house. She had been held, tortured and raped for three days. Later in the hospital Reed had given Abby his card and told her to call him anytime. Fourteen years later, she did just that. Now calling herself Ellery (her middle name) Hathaway and serving as a police officer in a small rural town, she has been troubled by the disappearance of three people in three years in seemingly unrelated incidents. Coinciding with these disappearances, and her birthday (which is when she was originally abducted), she receives a creepy, anonymous birthday card. This year, she wants to stop it happening again. Her boss doesn’t believe her theory so she has no option and calls Reed Markham. He is on ‘leave’ from the FBI after misjudging a kidnapping which resulted in the death of a young boy so, having little else to occupy him, he hastens to meet up with Ellery. After the publicity surrounding her original abduction she is trying to keep a low profile so no one else in town knows her background and she wants to keep it that way. But when it becomes apparent that she is again being targeted by a monster who does know her story, it all comes tumbling out - along with a whole bunch of other, unpleasant truths. Tension mounts throughout the book as the monster gets closer to Ellery and Reed and she doesn’t know who to trust. This book had a chilling premise and the story was very well told. It had me guessing throughout and sitting on the edge of my seat as the final denouement approached. I’m looking forward to book 2 - No Mercy.

  27. 4 out of 5

    ABookwormWithWine

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5 My reviews and (maybe) some other random thoughts can also be seen at https://readingbetweenwinessite.wordp... ____________________________________________________________ It would appear that I liked The Vanishing Season more than a lot of other people I know. Overall I thought it was pretty impressive for being Joanna Schaffhausen's first novel. I did notice a couple of editing things like a word missing, word misspelled, and repeated words, but that only happened a couple of times ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5 My reviews and (maybe) some other random thoughts can also be seen at https://readingbetweenwinessite.wordp... ____________________________________________________________ It would appear that I liked The Vanishing Season more than a lot of other people I know. Overall I thought it was pretty impressive for being Joanna Schaffhausen's first novel. I did notice a couple of editing things like a word missing, word misspelled, and repeated words, but that only happened a couple of times and didn't bug me too much. Plus, people make mistakes right? I thought it was a very solid 4 star book. Schaffhausen does a good job of creating suspicion in a bunch of characters to make you wonder "whodunnit". I didn't see the ending coming and I didn't guess who the culprit was, not even a little bit. I thought there was also a good amount of depth to the characters. I wasn't really attached to them all that much, but I was definitely rooting for Ellery throughout the book. I also thought this book had a fair amount of suspense, unlike some other reviewers. It held my attention the entire time and was a very fast read. And I have to say that I really loved Ellery's rescue dog Bump!! My husband wants a basset and I loved the parts of this book that involved the little guy. I think going into this book blind doesn't hurt either. I like doing that so I don't have too high of expectations, and I think that's good advice for this one. I didn't read the blurb again before I read it and it worked well for me. Final Thoughts: I think this is a good choice for mystery/suspense lovers that don't need continuous action the entire book. While The Vanishing Season did manage to hold my attention, it may not have been action packed enough for some people. The beginning and ending are very strong, but some people could get bored in between. I really liked it though, and really hope Joanna Schaffhausen releases more novels ASAP! *The hardcover was published on 05 Dec 2017*

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The Vanishing Season follows Ellery Hathaway, small town cop and one time serial killer victim, as she's faced with the awful truth that her past may be coming back to haunt her. Ellery was abducted on her birthday 14 years ago by a notorious serial killer. Now in a new town, where no one knows her past, for the last three years she's been receiving mysterious cards, followed by a missing person report almost like a birthday gift. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The Vanishing Season follows Ellery Hathaway, small town cop and one time serial killer victim, as she's faced with the awful truth that her past may be coming back to haunt her. Ellery was abducted on her birthday 14 years ago by a notorious serial killer. Now in a new town, where no one knows her past, for the last three years she's been receiving mysterious cards, followed by a missing person report almost like a birthday gift. Can she stop whoever it is before the next person is taken? Ellery is a deeply flawed and interesting character. We get to see how the traumas of her past are manifesting in her present life. She's vulnerable - nailing her closest shut so she'll never be forced into one again, and she never invites a man into her home. I loved her relationship with 'Speed Bump' in particular, and it showed that although she's been through an experience few have ever come back from, she's still able to love on an emotional level. Bump in return is a wonderful little character. Although his interactions were relatively few and far between, each one was delightful - especially his liking for Reed. The novel itself is short at just over 200 pages, meaning the action is succinct, to the point and fast paced. However some of the character development suffers because of this. Reed, we don't know much about other than he's a workaholic with family issues. I wanted to know more about his personal relationship with Ellery, but other than a small flashback we don't see this. We also don't know much about the other towns people, meaning it wasn't too difficult to work out the ending. I also wanted to see more of Rosalie and her abusive husband. I felt that Ellery's involvement in their situation was very brief, and didn't add all that much to the plot. The ending felt a little rushed. There was a lot of build up, with a variety of plot developments and twist, then the conclusion took two pages. I felt a little bit let down by that, and felt the execution could have been better. Overall however, I thought this was a relatively well written novel that kept me interested all the way through.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Zoe

    Clever, disturbing, and highly suspenseful! In this debut novel by Schaffhausen, The Vanishing Season, we are introduced to the tenacious, scarred Officer Hathaway and the once heroic now spiritless Agent Reed as they hunt for a serial killer with an all-consuming obsession and a penchant for violence. The writing is taut and precise. The characters are flawed, complex and intriguing. And the plot is an intense, intricate police procedural full of twists, turns, surprises, cunning brutality, manip Clever, disturbing, and highly suspenseful! In this debut novel by Schaffhausen, The Vanishing Season, we are introduced to the tenacious, scarred Officer Hathaway and the once heroic now spiritless Agent Reed as they hunt for a serial killer with an all-consuming obsession and a penchant for violence. The writing is taut and precise. The characters are flawed, complex and intriguing. And the plot is an intense, intricate police procedural full of twists, turns, surprises, cunning brutality, manipulation, and murder. The Vanishing Season is truly a gripping, sinister page-turner that had me on the edge of my seat from the very first page and left me hoping this isn't the last but only the first case for Hathaway and Reed. Thank you to St. Martin's Press - Minotaur Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. All my reviews can be found on my blog at https://whatsbetterthanbooks.com

  30. 5 out of 5

    Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede

    The Vanishing Seasons is a fabulous book! This is the kind of book that I breezed through, and that I felt from the very start that I would love and I was not wrong. The story is engrossing. Officer Ellery Hathaway is a young woman, the only surviving victim of a serial killer, and she is the only one that sees the signs out there that there is a serial killer loose. She tries desperately to get her boss who is also her secret lover to see that and when she fails to do so will she turn to the ma The Vanishing Seasons is a fabulous book! This is the kind of book that I breezed through, and that I felt from the very start that I would love and I was not wrong. The story is engrossing. Officer Ellery Hathaway is a young woman, the only surviving victim of a serial killer, and she is the only one that sees the signs out there that there is a serial killer loose. She tries desperately to get her boss who is also her secret lover to see that and when she fails to do so will she turn to the man who saved her as a child FBI Agent Reed Markham. But, is there really a serial killer out there, or has she imagined that? This is just my kind of book, intense, intriguing and utterly spellbinding. I loved every second of it and I was both disappointed and amazed that this is a debut book. Disappointed that Joanna Schaffhausen hasn't written more books for me to read and amazed that this debut book is so amazingly good! Honestly, I can't wait to read the next book by Schaffhausen! Ellery Hathaway is an interesting character, and I loved that she ended up being an officer and that her dog is the only male creature that she allows into her home. She has her demons which one will find out as the story progress. Agent Reed Markham as well has his share of problem, both in his personal life and at work and I quite enjoyed their reunion and hunt for a serial killer. This is if I haven't been clear enough a pretty awesome book and I recommend it warmly! I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!

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