Synopsis from Macmillan Publishers:
Last Seen Alive is the fifth book in Joanna Schaffhausen’s heartpounding Ellery Hathaway mystery series.
Boston detective Ellery Hathaway met FBI agent Reed Markham when he pried open a serial killer’s closet to rescue her. Years on, their relationship remains defined by that moment and by Francis Coben’s horrific crimes. To free herself from Coben’s legacy, Ellery had to walk away from Reed, too. But Coben is not letting go so easily. He has an impossible proposition: Coben will finally give up the location of the remaining bodies, on one condition—Reed must bring him Ellery.
Now the families of the missing victims are crying out for justice that only Ellery can deliver. The media hungers for a sequel and Coben is their camera-ready star. He claims he is sorry and wants to make amends. But Ellery is the one living person who has seen the monster behind the mask and she doesn’t believe he can be redeemed. Not after everything he’s done. Not after what she’s been through. And certainly not after a fresh body turns up with Coben’s signature all over it.
About: Last Seen Alive is a mystery thriller written by Joanna Schaffhausen. It was recently published on 1/25/2022 by Minotaur Books, paperback, 320 pages. The genres are mystery thriller, psychological thriller, and adult fiction. There are five books to the Ellery Hathaway series: book 1 is called The Vanishing Season, book 2 is called No Mercy, book 3 is called All the Best Lies, book 4 is called Every Waking Hour, and book 5 is called Last Seen Alive. According to Macmillan’s website, “Minotaur established in 1999, Minotaur is a premier publisher in the bestselling category of crime fiction. St. Martin’s Press has a long and respected history of publishing a solid and varied list. We are dedicated to publishing emerging new authors, and offering a fresh perspective on classic genres, while maintaining a diverse and interesting range of books.” Please see below for more information about the author and publisher.
My Experience: I started reading Last Seen Alive on 1/19/2022 and finished it on 1/31/2022. Another great installment to the Hathaway series which deal with the surviving victim versus the serial killer. Every book in this series the author didn’t fail to surprise me with where the story was heading. This story seemed to remind readers that it’s okay to sometimes do things you’re told not to. That’s how you stand out and that’s how you succeed. Reed followed his gut feeling and became the hero. Ellery seemed reckless sometimes for not being able to stay put to keep herself safe but I’m glad she found a way to save herself in the end. I liked the reminder that wicked people can be found hiding underneath a handsome exterior, intellectual, and wealth. It helps us to beware of strangers in every form not just the creepy looking ones. All well liked characters and good humor. Dorie’s my favorite. I enjoyed the suspense and thrill ride especially when the killer was on the loose. There were some good twists I was not expecting.
This book started with a prologue following Abby after she was rescued at age 14 by Agent Markham. He went to check up on her and informed her that Coben, the man who kidnapped her and tortured her was now locked up. Then the story began with Reed as he wait in line for his morning coffee. It’s been 17 years now that Coben had been locked up. Reed was contacted by Coben recently as well as the crime TV host, Kate. She was given a new victim name by Coben, but Reed didn’t recognize. The alternative view was Ellery. She was with Evan after her date when she caught sight of Reed at her door. She hadn’t seen him for 5 months since they broke up. Reed told Ellery about Kate wanting to put Coben on TV and that Coben wanted Ellery present. Reed told Ellery of the new victim and Ellery recognized that name. They both went to the victim’s house and was surprised by their discovery. At first Ellery resisted seeing her torturer Coben after 17 years, but later decided to go because she wanted to question him about his first and last victim. The story ended with an epilogue.
Last Seen Alive was well written and a fast paced read. I enjoyed the love story in this series and I’m glad there’s a happy ending. My heart was breaking for Reed so many times in this one but I’m glad he got rewarded for his patience. He’s definitely a great guy. Good dad and attentive boyfriend but also very good with his job. I enjoyed the investigation, strategizing, and clues. The ending was great. I agreed with Ellery. There’s no punishment in a quick death so leave the killer in jail is the way to go. I wouldn’t say that this read was gruesome but there were blood and body parts mentioned; however, readers were spared the details of the torture as it happened. I totally forgot about what’s in the freezer when I went for ice cream yesterday but I wouldn’t guarantee you will forget that image! A series but each book can be read as a standalone.
I rate it 5 stars!
About the Author:
Joanna Schaffhausen wields a mean scalpel, skills developed in her years studying neuroscience. She has a doctorate in psychology, which reflects her long-standing interest in the brain—how it develops and the many ways it can go wrong. Previously, she worked for ABC News, writing for programs such as World News Tonight, Good Morning America, and 20/20. She lives in the Boston area with her husband and daughter. The Vanishing Season is her first novel. (Photo and info obtained from Macmillan’s website).
More Information about Minotaur Books
***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Minotaur Books for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.