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When the Stars Go Dark

Updated: Dec 31, 2021

By Paula McLain

Exquisite Descriptions and Raw Emotion



Anna Hart is an expert missing persons detective in San Francisco. Following a tragic incident that threatens to destroy her marriage Anna flees her home. She heads for Mendocino, where she had spent the latter part of her childhood with patient and caring foster parents. Her earlier childhood, had been difficult.

The day she arrives in Mendocino, she learns that a local teenage girl has gone missing. Anna can’t help but become involved with the investigation of the missing teenager. Her past and present lives collide when the current disappearance is frighteningly reminiscent of a disappearance from Anna’s earlier years in Mendolicino.


Once you read the powerful first sentence of When the Stars Go Dark you know this book is going to be stellar. It hooks you and you can’t help but want to know more. The more you read you become aware of exquisite descriptions, raw emotion and a strong female character for the ages. The writing was simple irresistible.

This story is uniquely personal for author Paula McLain. Much of Anna’s character, her obsessions, interests and childhood experiences are derived from McLain’s own. And her writing shows it.

A sophisticated writer and lyrical story teller, McLain has left her heart and soul on every written page. She creates suspense, and intrigue and she captures the suffering of the victims and their families and the community response when a rash of other girls go missing.

There are many dimensions to the story, the past and present, the psychic and spiritual, loss and strength, support and healing and McLain effortlessly blends them all.

Paula McLain is a New York Times bestselling author of several novels: Love and Ruin, Circling the Sun, The Paris Wife, and A Ticket to Ride, and the memoir Like Family: Growing Up in Other People's Houses,

Thanks to Netgalley for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher Random House

Published April 13, 2021

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