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Awards

  • Mystery Writers of America/St. Martin’s Minotaur First Crime Novel Award 2016

The Vanishing Season

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—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….

Praise for The Vanishing Season

Dark, disturbing, and relentlessly sinister–this intense thriller plumbs the darkest corners of terror, survival and psychological damage. Be warned: leave on the light! But start reading right now.

—Hank Phillippi Ryan, author of THE WRONG WOMAN

A twisted story with an unforgettable protagonist and a drop-book-in-lap, sneaky twist that will make you say WOW!

—Shannon Kirk, author of METHOD 15/33

The Vanishing Season introduces small-town police detective Ellery Hathaway, a former child victim of an infamous sadistic psychopath. While attempting to hide the scars of past trauma, Ellery must hunt a terrifying serial killer whose methods eerily echo her former abuser’s. Is she next on his list? Schaffhausen does equal justice to Ellery’s inner and outer struggles as she keeps the plot twists coming in this gripping, compulsively readable debut. Be prepared to lose sleep.

—Elisabeth Elo, author of NORTH OF BOSTON

Joanna Schaffhausen’s THE VANISHING SEASON is a gripping debut with a plot twist readers won’t see coming. The main character, Ellery Hathaway, is a survivor whose grace, intelligence, and grit reminded me of Clarice Starling.

—Hallie Ephron, author of NIGHT NIGHT, SLEEP TIGHT