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, 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...

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Title:The Vanishing Season
Author:Joanna Schaffhausen
Rating:

The Vanishing Season Reviews

  • Kaceey - Traveling Sister

    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

    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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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

    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?

    Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

  • Carol

  • 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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

  • Brenda - Traveling Sister

    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 we liked her right from the start. We were 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. We thought Joanna Schaffhausen weaved the past with the present well for a satisfying ending.

    We 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.

    All of our Traveling Sisters Reviews can be found on our sister blog:

  • 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.

  • Norma * Traveling Sister

    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:

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