The Vanishing Season

Joanna Schaffhausen. Minotaur, $24.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-250-12604-7
In Schaffhausen’s powerful if implausible first novel, Ellery “Ellie” Hathaway is the only cop in Woodbury, Mass., convinced that the baffling disappearances from the small town—one every July for the past three years—are connected to each other, and to sadistic imprisoned serial killer Francis Michael Coben. She’s also the only one of Coben’s victims to survive. Fearing the worst as the July window once again looms, Ellie reluctantly reaches out to the one person she thinks might be willing to help: FBI profiler Reed Markham, who cracked the Coben case 14 years earlier and rescued her. The other members of the Woodbury force are less than pleased by Markham’s arrival, especially when it’s followed within days by a grisly present on Ellie’s porch—a severed hand, Coben’s signature. Although the book’s eventual big reveal feels contrived, until then the complex plot and affecting characters—especially gritty survivor Ellie and her basset hound, Bump—make for some nail-bitingly tense thrills. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 09/04/2017
Release date: 12/05/2017
Genre: Fiction
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