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Book Review of Gone for Good by Joanna Schaffhausen

book review of gone for good by joanna schaffhausen

My Rating:

I believe you can live anywhere and be happy. But maybe only one place can ever be home. It’s the place you recognize with your heart as much as your eyes.

Gone For Good is the first in the Detective Annalisa Vega crime series by award-winning author Joanna Schaffhausen. 

The Lovelorn killer’s 19-year cold case heats up when Grace Harper, a member of the amateur sleuth group Grave Diggers, decides to sink her teeth into finding the sadistic killer. While the creator of Grave Diggers vehemently disagrees with their group trying to crack the Lovelorn case, disabled army veteran Jared Barnes is quick to offer his help. Grace believes she has unlocked the crucial evidence of the killer’s identity, but this knowledge ends in her demise.  

Called to Grace’s murder scene is Detective Annalisa Vega. A second-generation police officer, she too is familiar with the Lovelorn killer, having lost someone she loved to their work 19 years prior. Annalisa now has the chance to find the perpetrator and heal her family, but her emotional attachment to the case might prove to be her downfall. When she realizes the killer is gunning for her, Annalisa doggedly attempts to unravel the clues. She feels as if they are staring her in the face, with one vital part missing. 

The body count continues to rise, and her ex-husband, now partner, Nick, ends up in the ICU after he attempts to protect her from the Lovelorn killer’s clutches. It seems like this guy is always two steps ahead of her and three steps ahead of the cops. 

Dead people, she said. Is that something that excites you? 

Red herrings and plenty of twists engulf the reader in a devilish mystery that races to a heart-pounding conclusion. The Lovelorn killer is fashioned after the serial killers of old and is just as frightening in the modern age. The choices Schaffenhausen made about weapons, crime scenes, and DNA all felt well researched. The police procedural aspect of some mystery/crime novels does not hinder Gone For Good‘s flowIn fact, it barely rears its head, which is refreshing. 

Side characters Nick, Colin, the Grave Diggers, and even the Vega family fill out the narrative. They add depth to the story that will be highly intriguing to see unwind as the series progresses. The possibility of a love triangle, while fascinating, feels underdeveloped and shallow. It’s the slow reveal of hidden depths within the Vega family and the families of those in their inner circle that proves an intriguing mystery.

While it lacks the emotional distress readers might find in the Jack Caffery series by Mo Hayder or the relationship-building in the Maeve Kerrigan series by Jane Casey, the Detective Annalisa Vega series has an excellent foundation to grow on. 

Her skin broke out in a hot prickle as she realized he could see her.

If you like either of the series mentioned above, you will like Gone For Good and anticipate the books to follow. Annalisa has a lot going on in her little world and many dark avenues to tread in the Chicago setting. 

Many thanks to Joanna Schaffhausen, St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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