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The Vanishing Season

(Ellery Hathaway #1)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  5,198 ratings  ·  916 reviews
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
Hardcover, 274 pages
Published December 5th 2017 by Minotaur Books
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Mommooshka The author, Joanna Schaffhausen, was very nice and answered my question within 24 hours when I sent the same question directly to her! She wrote: "Tha…moreThe author, Joanna Schaffhausen, was very nice and answered my question within 24 hours when I sent the same question directly to her! She wrote: "Thank you! I'm delighted you enjoyed the book. As for why Ellery was out alone at midnight on her birthday, it's a combination of factors: benign neglect from her absent mother, who was busy with her sick brother; an innate rebelliousness on Ellery's part; and the extreme heat that turned the family's walk-up apartment into an oven. I hope this helps! Cheers, Joanna"(less)
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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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
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
Feb 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, adult-reads
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
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Diane S ☔
Dec 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-read
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
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

Nov 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Sep 04, 2021 rated it really liked it

Ellery Hathaway is a survivor.

She was the 17th Victim of serial killer Francis Michael Coben, abducted on her 14th birthday.

She is now an officer on the police force in Woodbury, MA, where domestic disputes and bicycle thefts are the usual crimes until people start to vanish, one per year, right around her birthday-at the same time that she receives an anonymous birthday card.

When her Chief, refuses to believe that the cases are connected, she calls the FBI agent who saved her, Reed Markha
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
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
Nov 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
The trauma of being a victim ends when you willingly head to its exit door.

That's exactly what Detective Ellery Hathaway has been trying to do for the last few years. Presently, she's on the police force of the small town of Woodbury, Massachusetts where crime is on a small scale. She's even found herself in an on-again-off-again affair with the police chief, Sam. Experiencing trauma holds you back from commitments of all kinds.....fear that someone will find you out.

And in the past, Ellery was
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
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
Sarah Joint
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
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
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
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller, 2019
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
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
Monica (is working the heck out of
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
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-arcs
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
Nov 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, kindle, series
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
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Cindy Burnett
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley
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 ...more
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
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
Pat (on partial hiatus)
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 22, 2022 rated it really liked it
Having won a copy of "Last Seen Alive", Book #5 in this series, in a Goodreads giveaway, I thought I'd read the first book, which has been on my TBR for years, to give me some background on the characters even though reviewers said #5 could be read as a standalone.

Ellery (Ellie) Hathaway is an officer in Woodbury, MA, where no one knows she was once victim number seventeen of imprisoned serial killer Francis Michael Coben - the only one who lived. The disappearance of three people from her town
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 ...more
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5

My reviews and (maybe) some other random thoughts can also be seen at


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
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Goodreads Librari...: Combine editions 3 21 Jan 04, 2018 02:01AM  

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Joanna Schaffhausen wields a mean scalpel, skills she developed in her years studying neuroscience. She has a doctorate in psychology, which reflects her long-standing interest in the brain―how it develops and the many ways it can go wrong. Previously, she worked as a scientific editor in the field of drug development. Prior to that, she was an editorial producer for ABC News, writing for programs ...more

Other books in the series

Ellery Hathaway (5 books)
  • No Mercy (Ellery Hathaway, #2)
  • All the Best Lies (Ellery Hathaway, #3)
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