Last seen alive A mystery

Joanna Schaffhausen

Book - 2022

"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"--

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Thrillers (Fiction)
Detective and mystery fiction
New York : Minotaur Books 2022.
Main Author
Joanna Schaffhausen (-)
First edition
Physical Description
320 pages 22 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Boston detective Ellery Hathaway and Special Agent Reed Markham, introduced in The Vanishing Season (2017), return for a foreshadowed showdown with serial killer Francis Coben. The trio has a dark history: as a rookie cop, Reed rescued teenage Ellery from Coben's torture room. Now, Ellery is a cop struggling to reconcile her feelings for Reed and her notoriety as Coben's "final girl." Coben reels Ellery and Reed back into his net with a promise to reveal the locations of previously unknown victims to celebrity crime reporter Kate Hunter, if she can snag Ellery's participation in the television production. Coben has provided a list of names, but one of them doesn't fit, as Ellery's BPD partner investigated Maxine Frazier's disappearance after Coben was apprehended. Is Coben hinting at a new copycat disciple? Whatever the game, Reed and Ellery's loyalty to Coben's victims demands that they play. An immensely satisfying resolution to the pair's unresolved issues with Coben and each other. The novel's complex plotting and explosive climax benefit from Schaffhausen's television-production experience.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

For two decades, many people have viewed Ellery Hathaway only as the sole survivor of serial murderer/kidnapper Francis Coben, as revealed in Schaffhausen's excellent fifth installment of this superior series (after 2021's Every Waking Hour). Ellery's rescue at age 14 by FBI agent Reed Markham has affected all aspects of her life, from home security measures to her career as a Boston police detective. To try to free herself from her past, she recently ended her relationship with Reed that began the year before. Now, Coben, responsible for the mutilation deaths of at least 17 young women, has a deal--he'll confess where he buried eight other women if Ellery visits him in prison. Ellery agrees, but the meeting has some surprising consequences. The author highlights Ellery's emotional state and the grief of the families desperate to know what happened to their loved ones as the suspenseful plot builds to a stunning finale. The chilling Coben, who shows that pure evil can lurk behind a handsome face, makes a memorable villain. Readers will be eager to see what happens next. Agent: Jill Marsal, Marsal Lyon Literary. (Jan.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

For her own peace of mind, Boston detective Ellery Hathaway must separate from FBI agent Reed Markham, with whom she's been involved; she can't forget the scary moment when he had to rescue her from serial killer Francis Coben. But Coben has other plans: if Reed sets up a meeting between him and Ellery, he will reveal where his victims are buried. The victims' families are hopeful, but Ellery doesn't trust Coben. With a 40,000-copy first printing.

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

Boston police detective Ellery Hathaway finally steels herself to confront the sociopath who abducted, tortured, and nearly murdered her as a teenager. The reunion doesn't go as planned. Kate Hunter, host of TV's true-crime show On the Hunt, thinks a great way to mark the 20th anniversary of self-styled artist Francis Michael Coben's conviction and imprisonment would be to interview him on camera, and she insists on inviting Ellery, who was snatched from his clutches years ago by FBI Agent Reed Markham, to the party as well. Ellery reacts to this coldhearted proposal first with denial, then with dread, but ultimately agrees for several reasons. In return for his hour on prime time, Coben's agreed to give information about the fate of Tracy Trajan, one of his 16 victims who didn't get rescued, who's been missing since 1998--a revelation Ellery thinks could help Tracy's parents achieve closure. In addition, she can't help being interested in the chance to put Coben in his place by showing that now he's the helpless one, not her. Mainly, though, she wants to help Reed get evidence that could connect the recent murder of Maxine Frazier, a sex worker killed by a copycat who shares Coben's unhealthy fixation with severed hands, to Coben's own crimes. Nothing all that terrible happens during the interview, but shortly after, an E. coli outbreak in the Indiana prison where Coben is serving time sends him to the hospital, and you can just guess what happens next. When you invoke Hannibal Lecter this pointedly, you deserve to know: Francis Coben is no Hannibal Lecter. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.