A serial killer suddenly reappearing after being dormant for decades is an overused trope of both crime novels and TV cop shows. So is having the detective on the case targeted by the killer. In other words, Schaffhausen’s new book starts off with two strikes against it. When the book’s climactic confrontation takes place in an abandoned mental hospital — something else we’ve seen too many times before — that seems like strike three. And yet, there is a lot to like about this novel. Harper, the latest victim, was a member of The Gravediggers, a group of amateur sleuths obsessed with cold cases. Her notes on her investigation of 'The Lovelorn Killer,' interspersed with the main narrative, are an artful touch ... 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 ... the portrayal of Vega’s relationships with her parents, her siblings, and her fellow-detective former husband, as well as the sudden reappearance of the boyfriend she’d loved in high school, give the story a human touch often absent in novels marketed as thrillers.
Schaffhausen, who has a doctorate in psychology and previously worked in broadcast journalism, uses her expertise to delve into the minds of her characters, extracting their hopes, desires and fears in equal measure. The author brilliantly explores Annalisa’s emotional connections with the characters around her ... Chapters told from Grace’s perspective are cunningly interspersed with Annalisa’s traditional gumshoe detective work, yielding additional insights along the way. While Schaffhausen throws in a few red herrings, all the clues are there for readers if they pay keen attention. And even if readers should figure things out ahead of Annalisa, the action-packed ending and final twist are more than worth seeing Gone for Good to its finish.
Schaffhausen seamlessly weaves past and present together and easily manipulates strong romantic and family-loyalty subplots that might otherwise sink a poorly constructed story. In this strong series debut these multiple story lines provide layers to a heroine who sacrifices everything she loves in pursuit of justice, emerging with an optimistic eye toward what comes next.
Schaffhausen spins a dark, intriguing tale...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 ... 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.
... exceptional ... 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.
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.