Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Joanna Schaffhausen

Joanna Schaffhausen wields a mean scalpel, skills she developed in her years studying neuroscience. She has a doctorate in psychology, which reflects her long-standing interest in the brain―how it develops and the many ways it can go wrong. Previously, she worked as a scientific editor in the field of drug development. Prior to that, she was an editorial producer for ABC News, writing for programs such as World News Tonight, Good Morning America, and 20/20. She lives in the Boston area with her husband, daughter, and an obstreperous basset hound named Winston.

Schaffhausen's new book is Long Gone: A Detective Annalisa Vega Novel.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
My most recent read is The Disinvited Guest by Carol Goodman. Goodman is madly talented, and her gifts are on full display here. The book is tense, atmospheric, compelling and just a tad otherworldly. It’s also the first fiction I’ve read that bravely tackles the pandemic head-on, as this book is set ten years down the road during the onset of another pandemic. The characters are isolated together on a remote island in Maine, so when the bodies start dropping—from murder, not a virus!—they are already on edge. Read this one with the lights on.

Confession time: I am part of a mystery book club in which all the participants are also mystery authors. It is doubly fun to tackle the books from a reader and writer point-of-view. One of our recent reads was All Her Little Secrets by Wanda Morris, and we all heartily enjoyed it. The book centers on a lawyer, Ellice Littlejohn, who finds her boss dead in his office. She’d been having an affair with him and now risks winding up the prime suspect in his murder. One aspect we all loved about this novel were the flashbacks to Ellice’s childhood, which are lovingly drawn and harrowing at the same time.

I also really enjoyed Edwin Hill’s first standalone, The Secrets We Share. The first chapter made me gasp at the end of it, it was so good. There are twists and surprises galore in this story about two sisters, Glenn the food blogger and Natalie the cop. Their lives were upended by the death of their father when they were young and a fresh murder in the present brings back all sorts of family secrets. Fast-moving and fun.

Another mystery I’ve enjoyed recently is Dead Wind by Tessa Wegert. It’s third in her terrific Shana Merchant series, and while you can read it as a stand-alone, it’s richer if you start with Death in the Family to get Shana’s full history. In this story, Shana is tackling the murder of a woman on Wolfe Island that may be related to local environmental and political battles…or it could be connected to serial killer Blake Bram who hovers menacingly at the edge of this twisted tale. Part psychological thriller, part procedural, total badass female detective.
Visit Joanna Schaffhausen's website.

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Q&A with Joanna Schaffhausen.

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--Marshal Zeringue