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When the Stars Go Dark


Anna Hart is a seasoned missing persons detective in San Francisco with far too much knowledge of the murkiest side of human nature. When unspeakable tragedy strikes her personal life, Anna turns to the Northern California village of Mendocino to grieve. She spent summers 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; a crime that feels frighteningly reminiscent of a crucial time in Anna's childhood, when the unsolved murder of a young girl changed the community forever. Anna becomes obsessed with this missing girl, but as past and present collide around her she is forced, once more, to confront the darkest side of humanity.

This propulsive and powerfully affecting story is about fate, unlikely redemption, and what it takes, when the worst happens, to reclaim our lives – and our faith in one another.

  • Publisher: Point Blank (May 13, 2021)
  • Length: 384 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780861540815

'A powerhouse of a novel that is guaranteed to keep the reader up all night. When The Stars Go Dark is a beautifully written, sharply observed literary thriller with an extraordinary, unforgettable heroine and a twisty plot with a surprise ending. An unconventional, unflinching look at the long shadow cast by trauma and the resilience it takes to survive. This is a novel of both great sadness and great beauty; a gripping story drenched in the exquisite allure of the natural world.'

– Kristin Hannah, New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale

'With this breathtaking novel, Paula McLain proves she can do anything. Exquisitely written, immersive, and atmospheric, When The Stars Go Dark is a tour de force of literary suspense. It pulled me under and left me gasping.'

– Christina Baker Kline, New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train and The Exiles

'When the Stars Go Dark is a fantastically propulsive and deeply atmospheric novel that grabs you from the very first page. It’s visceral and hauntingly suspenseful. Paula McLain has proven to be a masterful storyteller no matter the genre.'

– Aimee Molloy, New York Times bestselling author of The Perfect Mother

'Paula McLain, already established as the master of the historical novel, now explodes into crime fiction with a richly satisfying, tremendously moving mystery – haunting, poignant, lyrical, urgent, unique, unforgettable.'

– Chris Pavone, author of The Paris Diversion

'I loved Paula McLain’s When the Stars Go Dark, which is the beautifully written and positively profound story of Detective Anna Hart... The twisty plot keeps the pages flying, and McLain’s lyrical and poetic prose reveals insight after insight about the human heart, making this riveting read not only an engrossing psychological thriller, but crime fiction of the highest order.'

– Lisa Scottoline, author of Someone Knows