When the police work is finally completed and the plot-points resolved in Joanna Schaffhausen’s “Last Seen Alive,” the author breaks the unwritten rules for such books by writing another 75 pages. In them, writing with empathy and psychological insight, she reveals how FBI Agent Reed Markham and Boston police officer Ellery Hathaway at last come to terms with the nightmare they shared through five fine novels and how they plan to live the rest of their lives.
It works not only because it is beautifully crafted but because, unlike nearly all other serial killer books, these novels were never about the killer and his pursuers.
They were about Reed and Ellery, and by extension, all victims of this brutal brand of violence.
In doing so, Schaffhausen has set a new standard for how such books can, and perhaps often should, be written.
For the full text of my review for The Associated Press, please click here.