All the Best Lies (Ellery Hathaway: Book 3) by Joanna Schaffhausen

All the Best Lies: A Mystery (Ellery Hathaway Book 3) by [Schaffhausen, Joanna]

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Series: Ellery Hathaway

The Vanishing Season—Book 1 (Review Here)

No Mercy—Book 2 (Review Here)

All the Best Lies—Book 3

Where you can find All the Best Lies: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

FBI agent Reed Markham is haunted by one painful unsolved mystery: who murdered his mother? Camilla was brutally stabbed to death more than forty years ago while baby Reed lay in his crib mere steps away. The trail went so cold that the Las Vegas Police Department has given up hope of solving the case. But then a shattering family secret changes everything Reed knows about his origins, his murdered mother, and his powerful adoptive father, state senator Angus Markham. Now Reed has to wonder if his mother’s killer is uncomfortably close to home.

Unable to trust his family with the details of his personal investigation, Reed enlists his friend, suspended cop Ellery Hathaway, to join his quest in Vegas. Ellery has experience with both troubled families and diabolical murderers, having narrowly escaped from each of them. She’s eager to skip town, too, because her own father, who abandoned her years ago, is suddenly desperate to get back in contact. He also has a secret that could change her life forever, if Ellery will let him close enough to hear it.

Far from home and relying only on each other, Reed and Ellery discover young Camilla had snared the attention of dangerous men, any of whom might have wanted to shut her up for good. They start tracing his twisted family history, knowing the path leads back to a vicious killer—one who has been hiding in plain sight for forty years and isn’t about to give up now


First Line:

Camilla Flores has always been in the wrong place at the wrong time, starting with the day she was born, six weeks early, in Puerto Rico, before her mother could cross the ocean and land on continental American shores.

All the Best Lies by Joanna Schaffhausen

My Review:

All the Best Lies is Reed’s story. Reed’s biological mother was brutally murdered when Reed was four months old. A prominent senator adopted him and but he always had questions about his mother. Then, a DNA test threw his world into a tailspin. The results of that DNA test makes Reed take another look at his mother’s unsolved murder. But, someone doesn’t want that murder solved, and they will do anything to keep it that way. What was in that DNA test, and who killed Reed’s mother? And what is tying them together?

All the Best Lies is the 3rd book in the Ellery Hathaway series. This book cannot be read as a standalone. You do need to read books 1 and 2 to understand Ellery and Reed’s relationship as well as Reed’s relationship with his family. If you do decide to pick the book up and read it, be prepared to be confused.

I loved Reed. He was determined to find out exactly what happened to his mother. His reactions to certain people in the book were right on. I would have been mad too!!! The only thing I didn’t agree with was when he went off on his own towards the end of the book.

I liked that Ellery took a step back in this book. What I mean by taking a step back is that her backstory and issues weren’t made the focal point of the book. She was still the same kick-ass ex-cop who went out of her way to help Reed.

I didn’t agree with the romance angle of the book. It didn’t seem right to have a romance between Ellery and Reed. I understood why the author did it (to show how far Ellery had come) but still.

The plotline about Reed’s mother’s murder was fantastic. The author did a great job of keeping the killer under wraps. Several red herrings were thrown out. I went back and forth about who killed Camilla and mentally kicked myself when the killer was revealed. I also loved the twist that was thrown in at the end. I did not see that coming.

The plotline about Ellery and her father broke my heart into little bits. I wanted to smack the crap out of her father. I understood her feelings about what he asked. I would have been torn too.

The end of All the Best Lies was terrific. The author did a great job of wrapping up all of the plotlines and bringing them together. I loved how Ellery was able to get the killer. Well, she had help but still. It was fantastic. I do wonder if there is going to be a book 4.


I would give All the Best Lies an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread All the Best Lies. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

No Mercy (Ellery Hathaway: Book 2) by Joanna Schaffhausen

No Mercy: A Mystery (Ellery Hathaway Book 2) by [Schaffhausen, Joanna]

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books

Date of publication: January 15th, 2019

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Series: Ellery Hathaway

The Vanishing Season—Book 1 (Review Here)

No Mercy—Book 2

All the Best Lies—Book 3 (expected publication date: February 11th, 2020)

Where you can find No Mercy: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Police officer Ellery Hathaway and FBI profiler Reed Markham take on two difficult new cases in this stunning follow-up to The Vanishing Season.

No Mercy is award-winning author Joanna Schaffhausen’s heart-pounding second novel.

Police officer Ellery Hathaway is on involuntary leave from her job because she shot a murderer in cold blood and refuses to apologize for it. Forced into group therapy for victims of violent crime, Ellery immediately finds higher priorities than “getting in touch with her feelings.”

For one, she suspects a fellow group member may have helped to convict the wrong man for a deadly arson incident years ago. For another, Ellery finds herself in the desperate clutches of a woman who survived a brutal rape. He is still out there, this man with the Spider-Man-like ability to climb through bedroom windows, and his victim beseeches Ellery for help in capturing her attacker.

Ellery seeks advice from her friend, FBI profiler Reed Markham, who liberated her from a killer’s closet when she was a child. Reed remains drawn to this unpredictable woman, the one he rescued but couldn’t quite save. The trouble is, Reed is up for a potential big promotion, and his boss has just one condition for the new job—stay away from Ellery. Ellery ignores all the warnings. Instead, she starts digging around in everyone’s past but her own—a move that, at best, could put her out of work permanently, and at worst, could put her in the city morgue.


First Line:

You kill one guy, one time, and suddenly everyone thinks you need therapy, Ellery Hathaway thought as she stood in the biting wind of the subway T platform overlooking the icy Charles River.


My Review:

No Mercy’s plotline was simple. Ellery is on involuntary leave after killing the person who had kidnapped four people and killed them. She is also forced into group therapy for people who have survived violent crimes. Figuring that all she needs to do is show up, Ellery is soon drawn into two different crimes. One involves a woman who survived a brutal rape and is desperate for the rapist to be found. The other crime consists of a woman who lost her son in a fire set by an arsonist, 25 years ago. The man convicted for the crime has been paroled, and Ellery isn’t sure if he did it. Instead, she thinks that someone close to the family set the fire. So, what does Ellery do? She calls Reed and asks him for his help. Will Ellery be able to help the rape victim? And will she get to the bottom of the arson?

When I started reading No Mercy, I didn’t know what to expect, plotwise. Because it is book 2, I was expecting this to be more of a filler book. I was expecting the pacing of this book to be slower than The Vanishing Season. Then I started reading it, and all of those preconceived expectations were blown away. This book was not a filler book. The pacing of No Mercy was as fast as The Vanishing Season, if not faster. I did not expect that and loved it!!!

I loved Ellery in No Mercy. She was the same wiseass woman, but there was more of an edge to her. She didn’t hide who she was or what had happened to her. That did cause some minor issues in the book. What amazed me about her was her character growth during the book. Instead of holding people at arm’s length, she started slowly letting them in. She showed empathy towards Wendy. It was beautiful to watch, knowing that her past hindered her. I hope that in the next book, there is even more character growth.

I liked Reed in this book. I liked that the author made his character flawed. There were some parts of the book where I didn’t feel bad for him, though. Like when he made promises that he couldn’t keep (taking his daughter to Disney World) or when he kept missing visitations with her. Because he was with Ellery, helping her with those two cases. But, at the same time, it was evident that he loved his daughter. He did help Ellery with her two cases. His insights lead to some significant breaks in those cases.

The one thing that I wasn’t crazy about in this book was the romance scenes between Ellery and Reed. While it did add to Ellery’s recovery (remember she was sexually assaulted), I didn’t think it had a place in the book. I could have done without it.

The plotline with Wendy, the rape victim, was heartbreaking. To see a woman beaten down the way she was broke my heart. When she reached out to Ellery, she was nearing rock bottom. I did like how the author kept that storyline going without it intertwining with the main storyline. I do wish that there was a better ending. But, unfortunately, that ending of that plotline was all too realistic.

The plotline with Mayra and the fire was interesting. There were so many twists and turns that I genuinely didn’t know how it was going to turn out. The author had me choosing between 3 people as to who set the fire and guess what; it was neither!! I did like how she wrapped that plotline up.

No Mercy cannot be read as a standalone book. It would be best if you read The Vanishing Season before reading this book. I can’t stress this enough.

The end of No Mercy was exciting. There was a small secondary storyline about Reed and his biological mother that was intertwined with one about a family DNA test, what Reed finds out at the end of the book set up for book three perfectly. I can’t wait to read it!!


I would give No Mercy an Adult rating. There are sexual situations. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread No Mercy. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

The Vanishing Season (Ellery Hathaway: Book 1) by Joanna Schaffhausen

The Vanishing Season: A Mystery (Ellery Hathaway Book 1) by [Schaffhausen, Joanna]

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books

Date of publication: December 5th 2017

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Series: Ellery Hathaway

Vanishing Season—Book 1

No Mercy—Book 2

All the Best Lies—Book 3 (expected publication date: February 11th, 2020)

Where you can find Vanishing Season: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Ellery Hathaway knows a thing or two about serial killers, but not through her police training. She’s an officer in sleepy Woodbury, MA, where a bicycle theft still makes the newspapers. No one there knows she was once victim number seventeen in the grisly story of serial killer Francis Michael Coben. The only victim who lived.

When three people disappear from her town in three years, all around her birthday—the day she was kidnapped so long ago—Ellery fears someone knows her secret. Someone very dangerous. Her superiors dismiss her concerns, but Ellery knows the vanishing season is coming and anyone could be next. She contacts the one man she knows will believe her: the FBI agent who saved her from a killer’s closet all those years ago.

Agent Reed Markham made his name and fame on the back of the Coben case, but his fortunes have since turned. His marriage is in shambles, his bosses think he’s washed up, and worst of all, he blew a major investigation. When Ellery calls him, he can’t help but wonder: sure, he rescued her, but was she ever truly saved? His greatest triumph is Ellery’s waking nightmare, and now both of them are about to be sucked into the past, back to the case that made them…with a killer who can’t let go.


First Line:

It’s too dark to go out but too hot to sleep.

The Vanishing Season by Joanna Schaffhausen

My Review:

When I saw the blurb for The Vanishing Season, I was intrigued. The victim of a serial killer becomes a cop who then sees a coincidence when people go missing each year around her birthday. The book had me at that. Forget that a famous profiler got involved, I wanted to read about how Ellery was dealing with the aftermath of her trauma. And the author more than delivered!!

The Vanishing Season takes place in the town of Woodbury, Massachusetts. Ellery Hathaway, the only living victim of a sadistic serial killer, is a police officer there. Over the past three years, Ellery has noticed that a person has gone missing on her birthday. Suspecting a serial killer, she tries to get the chief to investigate and is written off. With days left until another person disappears, Ellery reaches out to the FBI agent who rescued her. Reed Markham. Can he help Ellery find the killer before he/she strikes again?

The plotline for The Vanishing Season was lightning fast, and it kept up that pace throughout the book. There was no lag, which was surprising considering how fast this book went. The author was able to keep my focus on the book for the entire book. Put it this way; I picked this book up at 9 am and finished it at 11 am.

I loved how the author portrayed Ellery’s character. It was Ellery that drew me to the book. I wanted to know, “How could someone live after being tortured like she was?”. I got my answer back tenfold. She had severe PTSD and couldn’t form attachments. But she managed to live a normal (if you could call that normal) life. I did want to smack her mother upside the head at points in the book. Your kid was kidnapped, sexually assaulted over and over, and tortured, yet you didn’t get her into therapy? That was a massive WTF from me.

I liked Reed. He was a washed-up version of the person he was when he rescued Ellery. I liked that he acknowledged that. I wasn’t too sure what to make of his dropping everything to help Ellery when she called. But I understood why he did it. He wanted to see how she turned out. He also understood the implications of the people missing on her birthday, and he believed her when she told him what was going on. The small sub storyline with his family did catch my interest.

The main storyline was well written. The author did a fantastic job of keeping how the killer was and why he/she was doing it under wraps. She had me thinking that it was several different people until the big reveal. I was surprised at who it was. I was also shocked at the twist in the plotline. I was not expecting it to go the way it did or what happened.

The end of The Vanishing Season wrapped up beautifully. There was enough left where I did wonder what the next book will be about. I can’t wait to read it!!


I would give The Vanishing Season an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread The Vanishing Season. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**