Review: The Vanishing Season by Joanna Schaffhausen

Title: The Vanishing Season
Author: Joanna Schaffhausen
Pages: 288
Genre: Thriller, Fiction
Source: Free ARC from Minotaur/St. Martin’s

Rating: 5 stars

Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Minotaur/St. Martin’s via NetGalley. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.

Summary: A small-town police officer has strong suspicions regarding a series of disappearances that have occurred three years in a row, all around the same time of year, but no one in town believes her concerns are valid. She’s a young, newbie officer and there is nothing tying the disappearances together, no real evidence of a crime even. What they don’t know is that Ellery knows firsthand how a serial killer works, having been the final – and only living – victim of one of the most infamous serial killers in history. To help her investigate on her own, Ellery brings in the agent who saved her all those years ago, Agent Reed Markham of the FBI. But he brings baggage of his own that may skew his perspective. Working around the local department, while working through their past experience, they focus on figuring out the cause of these disappearances. Is there a tie between the serial killer who tortured her all those years ago? Is there a connection between the missing that they haven’t figured out? And will they figure it out before another person goes missing?

Review: What a great book! I was hooked from the very first chapter and I finished it in two reading sessions (would have been one if I could have kept my eyes open the first night!). This is my favorite kind of reading experience, the kind where you fall so deeply into the book that time ceases to exist until your body (very annoyingly) reminds you. Entrancing.

Ellery’s perspective as a previous victim turned cop was a huge hook for me. And her character felt genuine, human, believable. She isn’t a victim who turned into some genius serial killer hunter. She isn’t some super strong survivor who came out of her previous experience without issues. And the last thing she wants is notoriety. Her trauma is something she carries with her everywhere, and she tries to work around it, building as much of a life as she can, while trying to quietly battle the scars left behind. It all felt realistic. She felt realistic.

And having Agent Reed Markham come back into her life was ingenious. His character offered a whole other perspective on the events of her kidnapping and the aftermath. How those events changed his life vs. hers. How those events changed the lives of everyone directly involved, and the lives of those they loved or would eventually love. And having him come into the story also helped provide a lot of closure for the both of them, and I really love closure.

As for the whodunit part of it? So well done! From the onset, I had two potential perpetrators in mind, and that remained the case throughout. But. Just when I thought I had it figured out, a seed of doubt would be planted, and my theories would be turned upside down. So. Much. Fun!

What else can I say? This is her debut novel. Debut! It was fantastic. She is on my authors to be watched list. I recommend it to anyone who likes mysteries, thrillers, etc. Actually, I recommend it if you like great books. Period.

Good stuff, my friends. Good. Stuff.

3 Replies to “Review: The Vanishing Season by Joanna Schaffhausen”

  1. Pingback: Review: No Mercy by Joanna Schaffhausen – Mad Book Love

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