The Vanishing Season

the vanishing season

Ellery Hathaway knows a thing or two about serial killers, but not through her police training. She’s an officer in sleepy Woodbury, Massachusetts, where a bicycle theft still makes the newspapers. No one there knows she was once victim number 17 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.



Abducted on her 14th birthday, Ellery Hathaway knows about serial killers.  Now a police officer in the small town of Woodbury, Massachusetts she questions three unsolved murders that have occurred in three years.  Ellie knows something is up but nobody takes her seriously.  She also knows another murder is going to happen any day.  The problem is Ellie has hidden her past from her police department.  They don’t know she is Abigail Hathaway, once abducted teen by the most notorious serial killer.  They also don’t know that she has received a birthday card each year on her birthday from an unknown admirer.  It’s possible that this information could help with credibility, but she doesn’t want pity.

There’s one person in Ellie’s life who might be able to help her.  FBI agent Reed Markham rescued Ellie from the serial killer.  He told her he would be there for her if she ever needed him.  That was over 14 years ago, but she needs to try.

The Vanishing Season, debut novel by Joanna Schaffhausen is very intriguing.  Packed with suspense and tension, interesting twists and turns lead to an “oh so” unexpected ending.  That and Ellery’s entertaining sidekick Bump, a basset hound buddy and watch dog (who by the way, steals the show) make this book a must read!

4/5 stars


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