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The Vanishing Season (Ellery Hathaway #1)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  1,729 Ratings  ·  387 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 victim who lived.

When three people disappear from her town in
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:…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)
jendlo In America, drunk driving terms vary by state: DWI (Driving While Intoxicated); DUI (Driving Under Influence); OUI (Operating Under Influence); and…moreIn America, drunk driving terms vary by state: DWI (Driving While Intoxicated); DUI (Driving Under Influence); OUI (Operating Under Influence); and variants of those.(less)

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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
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 Sister
Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
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. 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 she calls in a trusted FBI agent who knows the horrific secrets of her past to give a fr

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
Maureen Carden
Oct 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
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
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
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

“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 she has
Jasmine from How Useful It Is
About: The Vanishing Season is a mystery thriller written by Joanna Schaffhausen. It was recently published on 12/5/17 by Minotaur Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press, hardcover, 288 pages. The genres are mystery, thriller, suspense, and fiction. This book is the author’s debut.

My Experience: I started reading The Vanishing Season on 1/2/18 and finished it on 1/8/18. This book is an excellent read! I love following Ellery and Reed’s thought processes and their detective work. I like seeing
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
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
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
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
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
⭐⭐⭐⭐ / 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 and
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Clever, disturbing, and highly suspenseful!

In this debut novel by Schaffhausen, The Vanishing Season, we are introduced to the tenacious, scarred Officer Hathaway and the once heroic now spiritless Agent Reed as they hunt for a serial killer with an all-consuming obsession and a penchant for violence.

The writing is taut and precise. The characters are flawed, complex and intriguing. And the plot is an intense, intricate police procedural full of twists, turns, surprises, cunning brutality, manip
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2017
The Vanishing Seasons is a fabulous book! This is the kind of book that I breezed through, and that I felt from the very start that I would love and I was not wrong. The story is engrossing. Officer Ellery Hathaway is a young woman, the only surviving victim of a serial killer, and she is the only one that sees the signs out there that there is a serial killer loose. She tries desperately to get her boss who is also her secret lover to see that and when she fails to do so will she turn to the ma ...more
Laura/Mystery in Minutes
Please visit to read the complete MINM review.
Five very bright stars from me for The Vanishing Season by Joanna Schaffhausen.
One of the most accomplished crime fiction debuts read by Mystery in Minutes in 2017, with a plot that draws the reader in, and refuses to let go until the riveting resolution and beyond, The Vanishing Season by Joanna Schaffhausen is very deserving of its Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers Of America First Crime Novel Award.
Aug 25, 2017 rated it liked it
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Vanishing Season follows Ellery Hathaway, small town cop and one time serial killer victim, as she's faced with the awful truth that her past may be coming back to haunt her. Ellery was abducted on her birthday 14 years ago by a notorious serial killer. Now in a new town, where no one knows her past, for the last three years she's been receiving mysterious cards, followed by a missing person report almost like a birthday gift.
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Joanna Schaffhausen Fans, Mysteries, Thrillers
4.5 Winning Debut Stars
* * * *1/2 Spoiler Free-It's Live!!!
This had all the elements to cause continual reading...I took longer breaks at work... stayed up too late and got up early because I could not read this fast enough.

I have a history of being a Mystery reader so my mind was working from the start and had narrowed down what I thought all of the catches were...But then this new author would throw a few things out there to make me doubt myself and good on her... because even
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It kept me enthralled the whole time. I enjoyed every minute! Highly recommend! What a great start to 2018!!!
Liz Barnsley
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully done and tense thriller about a victim turned cop who believes another killer is on the loose but nobody will believe her. Turning to the man who saved her for help, together they uncover the secrets of the small town she now lives in. Compelling stuff.

I was very fond of Ellery, determined to keep her secret but also so very sure that a killer is stalking her locale, one who may know more about her than even she believes. The author captures the sense of community extraordinarily wel
Krystin Rachel
My book ish: Blog | Insta

This novel reads like the author really likes to watch the Hallmark Channel or Lifetime movies. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, if you’re into that.

Lort knows, I’ve binged all of the Aurora Teagarden movies like a fucking champ.

The Vanishing Season ticks off a lot of boxes on the “Cozy Lifetime Mystery Checklist.”

That’s a thing. Let’s go through it…

In a small town (✔), Abigail Hathaway, who now goes by Ellery and escaped a serial killer as a teenager, (✔) is now
THE VANISHING SEASON by Joanna Schaffhausen -

Thank you so much to the fabulous Minotaur Books for providing my free copy - all opinions are my own.


Ellery Hathaway is the soul survivor of a string of murders at the hand of a serial killer, Frances Michael Coben. She was abducted and held captive, but then, days later, rescued by FBI Agent Reed Markham.

Now, in present day, she’s an officer in the small town of Woodbury, MA. No one in this town knows who she is or what happened in her p
Dec 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This opens with a bang that grabbed my attention right away, fourteen years ago a young woman was kidnapped and tortured by a twisted serial killer and she’s the only victim to make it out alive. Someone saw Ellery the day she was taken, but they’ve remained silent all of these years, creepy right?! As much as the beginning sucked me in, the pacing throughout the bulk lagged a bit and left me wanting more, it didn’t match the initial intensity and felt sort of drawn out.

This felt more like a pol
Kristy K
Reminiscent of Mary Higgins Clark, The Vanishing Season is just dark enough and with the right amount of small twists to keep you guessing.

A serial killer may be on the lose the small town where Ellery is a cop, but no one else believes her. Worse yet, the crimes may be linked to her past. And the killer is taunting Ellery with that knowledge. She calls in the FBI agent that saved her all those years ago, and together they try to bring a killer to justice.

With so many people hiding secrets or
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I used to love creepy books about serial murderers but as I’ve aged and had children, I’ve found they scare me too much to make them regular fare. However, Joanna Schaffhausen is a good friend of a good friend of mine meaning I feel like I know her (even though the limit of our friendship is the occasional comment/reply on one of our mutual friend's Facebook posts, LOL) and, therefore, I felt obliged to pick up a copy of her debut novel.

For someone who doesn't read this genre often, The Vanishi
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
This award-winning debut novel is everything I want from a mystery thriller, which is my favorite sort of book. It hooked me from the get-go and kept me nearly running ahead of myself through each page because I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen next. The characters, from protagonist cop Ellery Hathaway to the members of her small town, were easy to fix in my head as I read, and right away she is a flesh and blood person who I wanted to know.

The mystery was clever and intriguing, no
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Goodreads Librari...: Combine editions 3 19 Jan 04, 2018 02:01AM  

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“Sometimes the law is about as useful as tits on a bull. Good people end up hurt.” 1 likes
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