Friday, May 6, 2022

✱✱Book Review✱✱ Last Seen Alive by Joanna Schaffhausen


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.

Momma Says: 5 stars⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I became a fan of Joanna Schaffhausen when I read her debut, The Vanishing Season, and she hasn't disappointed me a single time. Oh, and that debut was also our introduction to Ellery and Reed. And Bump, we can't forget Bump, the hound has been a big part of Ellery's life and he definitely has a way of getting what he wants. I've enjoyed every book in this series; they've all been gritty, suspenseful, and downright addictive. So, they've all been good, but this fifth book absolutely knocked it out of the park.
The series has followed Ellery and Reed, and there's been a continuing storyline from the start–Francis Coben, the monster who changed both their lives, the monster who brought them together and tore them apart, the thing that Ellery has been trying to get past since she was a young girl. Ellery's history with Coben has been at the forefront of her life and shaped everything she's done. So, with all that in mind, I hope I'm not revealing too much by saying that I feel like everything was leading to this book. This is the one I've been waiting for since the beginning. And it was everything I expected. It's dark, jarring, and a little gory, but it's also Ellery's coming into her own story, so to speak. I finished the fourth book in this series a little worried about things on the personal front for these characters. There was so much left up in the air - actually, there was unfinished business all the way around. Things kind of come full circle here, and while I'll be disappointed to not get more Ellery and Reed, this book feels like the end of the series to me. There is an open-door scene in this book, which surprised me, but with Ellery being the way she is along with everything happening around them, that scene was more than just an on-page bit of steam. Really, it wasn't even what I'd call steamy. Instead, it helps to show where these characters are mentally and emotionally.
With that, I've come as close to spoiler territory as I'm going to, so I'll just finish with Last Seen Alive is another gripping, fast-paced book in a series of gripping, fast-paced books.

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