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When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain

(1 customer review)



Book Summary

Anna Hart is a seasoned missing persons detective in San Francisco with far too much knowledge of the darkest side of human nature. When tragedy strikes her personal life, Anna, desperate and numb, flees to the Northern California village of Mendocino to grieve. She lived there as a child with her beloved foster parents, and now she believes it might be the only place left for her. Yet the day she arrives, she learns that a local teenage girl has gone missing.

The crime feels frighteningly reminiscent of the most crucial time in Anna’s childhood, when the unsolved murder of a young girl touched Mendocino and changed the community forever. As past and present collide, Anna realizes that she has been led to this moment. The most difficult lessons of her life have given her insight into how victims come into contact with violent predators. As Anna becomes obsessed with saving the missing girl, she must accept that true courage means getting out of her own way and learning to let others in.

Weaving together actual cases of missing persons, trauma theory, and a hint of the metaphysical, this propulsive and deeply affecting novel tells a story of fate, necessary redemption, and what it takes, when the worst happens, to reclaim our lives—and our faith in one another.


Condition: New

Hardcover, Published April 13, 2021 by Ballantine Books

ISBN: 9780593237892

1 review for When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain

  1. Chandra

    I had absolutely NO idea what I was walking into with this read. I typically don’t re-read synopses when I pick up a book because I figure if I have it, I probably wanted it and therefore, just read it! I kind of wish I had reread this one though. I love that it’s short, concise without giving a single thing away. However, since I didn’t, I felt a bit lost during the first 10% or so. However, I quickly caught on and the rest is… well, history. 😉

    Anna is an amazing character and I was very much drawn to her. And oh my heart, Cricket! McLain has a way of getting you to really feel for all the characters, primary, seconday and tertiary. But dangit, give me a pet that makes an impact and my heart soars.

    This definitely feels like literary crime fiction and is extremely well written. I didn’t quite love it as much as I thought that I would but I really appreciate what this book was doing. It may just be my mind set at the moment, or it could be that I would’ve had a different experience had I not listened to it. It’s really hard to say. What I loved the most is the atmosphere that it created. It kind of gives me The Sinner feels, if you know what I mean. No levity. Just straight, foggy mystery wrapped in a detective facing her own demons along the way.

    Y’all, if you’re looking for sunshines and rainbows you’re not going to find it here. HOWEVER, if you love a slow burn, atmospheric literary procedural that really tugs at your heart… welcome home.
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