When The Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain | Ballantine Books {Book Review}

{Thank you to Random House and Ballantine Books for allowing me the opportunity to read and review this book}⁣

When The Stars Go Dark

When The Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain


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.

Publication Date:

April 13th, 2021


Fiction/Literary Mystery/Police Procedural

Read Your Copy:

Amazon Link | LibroFM Bookstore Link

My Review:

When The Stars Go Dark

I have read and loved author Paula McLain in the past and when I saw she was publishing a new book in 2021, while also diving into a whole different reading genre, I was intrigued! ⁣

And then when I read the book synopsis I knew I needed to read it ASAP. I think literary mysteries are quickly becoming one of my very favorite subgenres (hello Long Bright River by Liz Moore!) 

Paula McLain

When The Stars Go Dark has all the things I love about the suspense and mystery genre while also exploring the lives of the characters, which is basically my ideal mix.

It’s multifaceted and complex and although it is definitely NOT a thriller, that doesn’t mean it isn’t any less propulsive. It looks into the darker side of human nature, and while it covers some heavy topics, it never feels overly sensational or graphic. ⁣

You get glimpses into the character’s pasts, which helps you better understand who they are today. I love getting to know who people are (the stories and situations that have made them) both in real life and in my fictional reads, and McLain totally nailed this. Her personal connection added so much depth to this storyline and her discussion of childhood trauma was so powerful and spot on.

I am probably running out of room now, so you just have to take my word and add this one to the top of your reading list…and then come back and talk about it with me!

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