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“Officer Ellery Hathaway is the ultimate damaged character. Kidnapped at age 14 and tortured by a serial killer before being rescued by FBI agent Reed Markham, Hathaway is now a woman who fiercely protects her privacy. But, every year on her birthday, three people have disappeared, and no one, including the sheriff, believes they are connected. To get to the bottom of the mystery, Hathaway reaches out to Markham. The Vanishing Season is a thriller, a police procedural, and a psychological study of PTSD and workforce burnout. It is a look at serial killers and the impossibility of knowing who will become one and why. But, most of all, The Vanishing Season is a terrific read that you won't be able to put down once you start.”
— Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC
Winner of the Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition, Joanna Schaffhausen's accomplished debut The Vanishing Season will grip readers from the opening page to the stunning conclusion.
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 three years--all around her birthday--Ellery fears someone knows her secret. Someone very dangerous. Her superiors dismiss her concerns, but Ellery knows the vanishing season is coming and anyone could be next. She contacts the one man she knows will believe her: the FBI agent who saved her from a killer all those years ago.
Agent Reed Markham made his name and fame on the back of the Coben case, but his fortunes have since turned. His marriage is in shambles, his bosses think he's washed up, and worst of all, he blew a major investigation. When Ellery calls him, he can't help but wonder: sure, he rescued her, but was she ever truly saved? His greatest triumph is Ellery's waking nightmare, and now both of them are about to be sucked into the past, back to the case that made them...with a killer who can't let go.