My Rating: 4/5 stars
Verdict: Buy Borrow Bypass
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
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 three years, all around her birthday—the day she was kidnapped so long ago—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’s closet 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.
I really enjoyed the premise of The Vanishing Season. I always enjoy mysteries and thrillers in which a main character’s past comes back to haunt them, so this book was right up my alley from the beginning. But I must say, Ellery’s past is…haunting. She survived a remarkably horrific attack at the hands of a serial killer. This book is not for the faint of heart! Although I guessed a couple of the plot twists, I was still surprised by much of the plot development and character motivation. For me, that’s the hallmark of a good thriller! More specifically, this is a great psychological thriller. This book and its characters will get inside your head in a way that makes it very difficult to put this book down. Also, you’ll be wary of closets for awhile.
I found the characters in this story to be engaging, for the most part, despite a lack of diversity. My favorite characters were Ellery and Reed and I loved reading about their interactions. There’s no real romantic exchanges between them, which I found to be quite refreshing. Yes, they have a past, but it’s certainly not your typical backstory. The book follows these two pretty closely to the point where virtually every other character is a side character. To be honest, the side characters were pretty forgettable or interchangeable. Or, in the case of police chief Sam, downright annoying. But I’m hoping that as Schaffhausen progresses as a writer, her other characters will be more developed.
As for the lack of diversity, there were a fairly mixed amount of men and women. But there were almost no characters of color and definitely zero non-heterosexual individuals. I understand that this book takes place in a small town, but there are all sorts of people who live all over the world. With just a few small changes, this book could quickly be more diverse and reflective of our world.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book! I’m pleased with Schaffhausen’s debut and I think she’ll continue to write engaging books. I would definitely recommend this book, especially for fans of the television show The Killing or Final Girls by Riley Sager.
This book is…
a quick read
Page Count: 288
Available here from Book Depository.
Have you read The Vanishing Season? What book are you currently reading?