When rookie Boston police detective Ellery Hathaway and FBI profiler Reed Markham see missing 12-year-old Chloe Lockhart’s cellphone lying in a trash can at the edge of Boston Common, they know she’s been kidnapped. It was highly unlikely she could had simply given her nanny the slip, and what tween would abandon their phone? With this new certainty, a busy street carnival on a sunny day becomes a crime scene and Joanna Schaffhausen’s Every Waking Hour begins.
Chloe’s wealthy, busy parents (Teresa, a surgeon, and Martin, a financier) are delirious with worry. They kept her under strict surveillance and are terrified as well as confounded that their efforts were all for naught. Their hypervigilance stems from residual trauma: Twenty years ago, Teresa’s young son from her first marriage was murdered alongside their housekeeper, and the killer has not yet been caught.
Ellery can relate to this maelstrom of emotions more than most. She was kidnapped and tortured by a serial killer at age 14, and Reed was the young agent who rescued her. After reuniting many years after Ellery’s horrific experience, Reed and Ellery began dating, and they struggle to find equilibrium as romantic partners and workmates. Reed’s ex-wife ensures their co-parenting is contentious, Ellery has been diagnosed with PTSD, and Chloe’s case is reopening old psychic wounds even as the duo rush to find the girl before her captor completely unravels.
While Chloe’s disappearance kicks off the race-against-time detective work that propels the book—Schaffhausen is skilled at building delicious and inexorable tension—the relationships that are affected by her kidnapping give the book a special resonance. Trauma underpins so many of the characters’ reactions and decisions in Every Waking Hour, and Schaffhausen addresses it with fascinating detail and great empathy, drawing on her background in neuroscience and Ph.D. in psychology.
It all makes for a compelling countdown to a surprising resolution (several of them, really—there are numerous intriguing threads for reader-sleuths to follow). This book is the fourth Ellery Hathaway title, and the gasp-inducing goings-on in its final pages are sure to prime fans for yet another skillfully crafted, suspenseful installment.