NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • GOOD MORNING AMERICA BUZZ PICK • “A total departure for the author of The Paris Wife, McLain’s emotionally intense and exceptionally well-written thriller entwines its fictional crime with real cases.”—People (Book of the Week)
“The kind of heart-pounding conclusion that thriller fans crave . . . In the end, a book full of darkness lands with a message of hope.”—The New York Times Book Review
“This mystery will keep you guessing, and stay with you long after you finish. Dive in.”—theSkimm
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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Paula McLain’s previous bestsellers, The Paris Wife and Circling the Sun, were tender historical romances. This dark, emotional thriller is something very different. In 1993, empathetic San Francisco police detective Anna Hart returns home to the small coastal town of Mendocino, California, reeling from a personal tragedy. Before long, the local sheriff—Anna’s childhood best friend—asks her to join the search for a missing local girl. As the case turns into a hunt for a potential serial predator, Anna must fight down painful memories of her own. McLain sets her story during the real-life nationwide search for the kidnapper of Northern California 12-year-old Polly Klaas and works real-world statistics and case studies about missing children into her haunting, lyrical prose. When the Stars Go Dark manages to feel both dreamlike—we loved the poetic descriptions of the foggy, disorienting woodlands of the Pacific coast—and devastatingly real. This is a gripping read with extremely high stakes.
At the start of this stunning crime novel from McLain (The Paris Wife), Anna Hart, a San Francisco detective who's on indefinite leave following a tragic incident that has brought her marriage to the brink and destroyed her faith in herself, is driving to Mendocino, Calif., where she spent part of her childhood with the foster parents who offered her a first taste of stability. Soon after she arrives in town, she spots a missing person poster: 15-year-old Cameron Curtis, adopted daughter of a recently retired actor, has vanished. Cameron's fate reminds Anna of the still-unsolved murder of a childhood friend that occurred when she was in high school. "Someone has to save this girl," she resolves. "And it has to be me." Then other similar crimes start coming to light, and Anna becomes eerily aware of the disturbing connection between the victims and their predators. McLain matches poetic prose with deep characterizations as she shines a light on the kindness in her characters' souls. Fans of literary suspense won't be able to put this one down.
It was ok. Easy read nothing special
Just read it!
As a California girl, this struck a cord with me. I love all things true crime but this one hits close to home. I couldn’t put it down, it’s just so good.
Loved all the characters and the detailed the author was so you felt like you were there in the forest breathing in the air and hearing the meadow. A lot of twist which kept me up all night reading and a great lesson for the main character and hope for the future at the end. Loved this book!