Det. Annalisa Vega of the Chicago PD, the strong, multilayered protagonist of this exceptional series launch from Schaffhausen (the Ellery Hathaway and Reed Markham mysteries), is called to a crime scene at the home of Grace Harper, who has been strangled by an ingenious system of knotted ropes. On the walls are photos of women in similar poses, all victims of the Lovelorn Killer, who murdered seven women in the late 1990s, then dropped out of sight. His last victim happens to have been the mother of a childhood friend of Annalisa’s. The police soon discover Grace was part of a group of amateur sleuths who attempt to solve cold cases. Had she come too close to identifying the serial killer, or was she the victim of a copycat? Interspersed with gripping chapters focused on Annalisa’s detective work are extracts from Grace’s journal that offer some tantalizing insights into a murderer’s mind. Excellent fair-play plotting, genuine surprises, and convincing characters make this a surefire winner. Mystery fans are in for a treat. Agent: Jill Marsal, Marsal Lyon Literary. (Aug.)
Annalisa Vega is the detective you’ve been waiting for. A second generation Chicago cop, she has the chops to take on a serial killer, a large family to keep her grounded, and personal experience with the secrets behind closed doors.”Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling author
"Gone for Good is a riveting exploration into the dark heart of violent crime and the scars it leaves behind. Joanna Schaffhausen is a master of the craft." Carol Goodman, New York Times bestselling author of The Lake of Dead Languages and The Sea of Lost Girls
"[An] exceptional series launch...gripping. Excellent fair-play plotting, genuine surprises, and convincing characters make this a surefire winner. Mystery fans are in for a treat"Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Schaffhausen...seamlessly weaves past and present together and easily manipulates strong romantic and family-loyalty subplots...in this strong series debut."Booklist (starred review)
"Schaffhausen builds the suspense chapter by chapter, and the tale’s clever twists will keep readers guessing, often wrongly, till the end. Her prose style, which has always been precise and clear, has taken a leap in this book, turning both grittier and, occasionally more lyrical. And, as usual, she excels at character development — even with minor characters."Associated Press
"With her extensive work in the field of psychology, Joanna Schaffhausen has chosen the right kind of novel to wield her powerful crime narrative."Bookreporter
"Schaffhausen presents a strong heroine with a complicated backstory in a compelling labyrinth of a plot. Gone for Good moves at a brisk pace as Schaffhausen employs realistic surprises, characters worth caring about and sparkling dialogue. Excerpts from Grace’s journal assist Annalisa, but mainly the detective relies on her own intelligence and affinity for ferreting out evidence and spotting clues."Sun Sentinel
"Visceral chills, a colorful cast, and a handful of effective twists add up to a promising series debut."Kirkus Reviews
"A dark, intriguing tale...As the case unfolds, the suspense builds. There is no neat ending here, which leaves room for more books in the series. A great read, recommended for true crime fans and mystery lovers alike."Library Journal
"Schaffhausen spins a deliciously complex and gratifyingly original tale of crime and the chaos it wreaks. Complete with a chilling climax and a superlative shock, “Gone for Good” eschews the mundane as it depicts danger and death—and the devastating damage inflicted on survivors." Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star
Detective Annalisa Vega is new to the Chicago PD squad, so she doesn't feel like she can object when her ex-husband returns to the force and ends up as her partner on the city's biggest murder case, the Lovelorn Killer case. The Lovelorn Killer file has been cold for 20 years, with no new murders in that time, though the serial killer was never caught. Then a new body is found; the murder appears to be the work of the Lovelorn Killer. As if Annalisa's personal life weren't complicated enough, the killer seems to be targeting her specifically, taunting her as the case unfolds. Annalisa is way too close to this case for comfort, but is she close enough to solve it? Schaffhausen ("Eller Hathaway" series) spins a dark, intriguing tale that's the first in a planned series. The drama of Annalisa's life, combined with her personal attachments to the case, will keep readers invested. The narrative is told both from Annalisa's perspective and through the diaries of the Lovelorn Killer's victims, which is attention-grabbing. As the case unfolds, the suspense builds. VERDICT There is no neat ending here, which leaves room for more books in the series. A great read, recommended for true crime fans and mystery lovers alike.—Kristen Calvert, Dallas P.L., TX
A dogged Chicago police detective becomes both hunter and prey in the search for a legendary serial killer.
Annalisa Vega is rescued from yet another disappointing blind date by a call to a crime scene. The victim is Grace Harper, found dead on her spotless kitchen floor, and Annalisa’s rugged partner, Nick Carelli, is already on the scene. The M.O. indicates that the crime could be the work of the Lovelorn Killer, who bound and garroted seven women to death in the 1990s before going underground. Grace also bears a strong resemblance to Katie Duffy, a close friend of Annalisa's who became the seventh victim. Annalisa has been haunted by her failure to catch the Lovelorn Killer ever since. Grace belonged to the Grave Diggers, a group dedicated to investigating cold cases. Had she discovered the killer’s identity? Revisiting the old crimes is a painful necessity if Annalisa is to find Grace’s murderer ahead of the FBI. The original investigators ignored many witnesses, and waitress Lora Fitz reported an encounter with the Lovelorn Killer shortly before Katie’s death. An additional thread is provided by Grace’s interspersed diary entries. As part of his pathology, the killer repeatedly contacted his would-be victims. Could the whispery voice calling Annalisa be his? Schaffhausen combines familiar tropes in an unsubtle but arresting way and concisely fleshes out the supporting cast, from Annalisa’s womanizing partner to her Pops, who’s battling Parkinson’s, to Police Commander Lynn Zimmer, nicknamed the Hammer.
Visceral chills, a colorful cast, and a handful of effective twists add up to a promising series debut.