Avid reader/reviewer and editor. I don't pull punches when I review, love it or hate it, you get what I think.
The Vanishing Season is an impressive debut from Joanna Schaffhausen, and an equally impressive series start. All too often lately, I've been sucked in by a great prologue only to be let down by what follows, but that was not a problem at all with this book. The mystery is suspenseful and kept me on my toes, the procedural part of the story was interesting and thought-provoking, and the characters were terrific - even the ones I didn't like. Our main characters, Ellery and Reed are both likable and even though I've never been in either's shoes, they were still relatable. Ellery makes for a great protagonist. She's stubborn, determined, and will stop at nothing to solve this case even when no one else thinks there is a case. Does she always make the right decisions? Not even close, and she's also a bit broken by her past and keeping secrets that could come back to bite her. She's got plenty of reason to keep secrets, and who wouldn't messed up by what she's been through. She lived through a nightmare and is still pushing through the other side. Reed is equally likable and also a little broken. His story tugs at the heartstrings as he deals with things in his personal life while also trying to help Ellery. I really liked Reeds chapters and the way his mind worked as they raced to find a killer before someone else could be taken. The mystery is laid out very well, and the author does give us a pretty good red herring or two as the story progresses. I did guess the killer's identity, but that didn't diminish my enjoyment of the story, and I will say that the author had me second-guessing myself more than once. All in all, this is a great start to the series, and I can't wait to see more of these characters.