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Paul's books

Darkness
Divergent
Darkness
The Pariah
Strangers
Danger in Cat World
The Criminal Mind: A Writer's Guide to Forensic Psychology
A Stampede of Westerns: Fourteen Novels, Novellas & Story Collections of the West & Weird West
The Crime of Our Lives
Wolf's Gambit
Dark Passions
Stories of Your Life and Others
The Druid King
Never Fear
The Inheritance Trilogy
One of Us: Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway
Marked / Betrayed / Chosen / Untamed
Eutopia
Choosing A Self Publishing Service 2013 The Alliance of Independent
The Hunter


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Horror, Fantasy, and Science Fiction writer

Paul Dale Anderson at a Steampunk Party
(photo courtesy of Tim Hatch)

06.12.2017
Paul Dale Anderson
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Abigail Ellery Hathaway is a survivor. She’s also a Woodbury, Massachusetts, police officer with secrets. In The Vanishing Season by Joanna Schaffhausen (Minotaur/St Martin’s Press, December 2017), everyone has secrets. But not everyone is a survivor. This is the story that won the MWA First Novel competition, and it’s easy to see why. It doesn’t read like a first novel. The characters are fully developed, the plot twists are foreshadowed but practically invisible, and the only speed bump in this mile-a-minute thrill ride is a lovable dog named Speed Bump. Reed Markham is the disgraced FBI profiler who once rescued 14-year-old Abigail from certain death at the hands of a serial killer. Although Markham literally wrote the book on child abduction by serial murderers, one of his secrets is his wife really helped him write that book. Now she’s divorcing him, he’s fighting a possible addiction to alcohol, the FBI suspended him for making a mistake that cost a girl her life, and he’s not the hero everyone thinks he is. When Abby grew up, she moved from Chicago to Boston, changed her name to Ellery (a tip of the hat to Ellery Queen?), became a cop, and moved to Woodbury where she thinks no one knows her past. Although Abby/Ellie hides her scars from prying eyes, she’s sure someone stalks her who has somehow discovered her identity. Every year for the past three, a Woodbury resident disappears on Abby’s birthday. Every year, for the past three, Ellie receives a mysterious birthday card. Is it a coincidence? With her birthday nigh and  Ellie still can’t convince Chief Sam Parker or Detective Jimmy Tipton there’s a serial killer loose in Woodbury, she goes over their heads and asks Reed Markham for help. Everyone becomes suspect as  body parts and secrets are revealed. Was Abby so traumatized as a child that she’s now a killer herself? Is philandering Chief Parker so infatuated with Ellie that he’s stalking her? Is bumbling detective Tipton covering up his own crimes? Inquiring minds want to know. Well-written and riveting, The Vanishing Season is a fascinating first novel by a writer to watch.
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