A fantastic, convoluted thriller – Gone for Good (2021) by Joanna Schaffhausen

This newest serial killer, dubbed the Lovelorn Killer, last struck in Chicago 20 years ago, so Annalisa Vega should not be investigating him. During her teenage years, she dated Colin, the son of the seventh murder victim.

Despite Annalisa’s profession as a detective, she dives into Joanna Schaffhausen’s multi-layered mystery, Gone for Good, as a way to help her father, who still hasn’t solved the case.

With an amateur sleuth club called the Grave Diggers, the current victim, local grocery store manager Grace Harper, was investigating the original outbreak of killings. Grace, as well as the earlier victims, was found gagged and bound. As a result, Vega came to believe that the killer was closer to solving the case than she may have previously thought, and this pushed the killer to return to the scene of the crime.

A doctorate in psychology, as well as having previously worked in television journalism, allow Schaffhausen to investigate her characters’ minds and find equal parts of hope, desire, and fear.

Annalisa’s relationships with the characters around her are depicted brilliantly in the piece. She’s back with Colin, who she hasn’t seen in years, and not only is she partnering with her ex-husband on the case, Nick is also a cop. An influx of emotions leads to Annalisa’s being clouded by emotion in both of these situations.

Cunningly interspersed with Annalisa’s traditional gumshoe detective work, each chapter includes Grace’s voice in order to add new perspectives to the overall story.

Schaffhausen, while adding a few red herrings, leaves no stone unturned. Even if readers may be able to deduce the ending ahead of Annalisa, the dramatic and surprising ending is more than worth reading the conclusion.

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