Review: When The Stars Go Dark

When the Stars Go Dark

When the Stars Go Dark
By Paula McLain
Ballantine Books, 9780593237892, April 13, 2021, 384pp.

The Short of It:

A grieving detective flees her family for her old hometown and becomes enmeshed in a missing persons case.

The Rest of It:

Anna Hart’s experience as a missing persons detective comes in handy when she returns to her hometown only to find that a girl has gone missing. Anna left home after a tragic event shook her to the core. Trying to put some space between herself and what’s happened, she quickly agrees to help her friend Will when he shares his concern about the case he’s working on. He has no leads and with Anna’s help, he hopes to piece things together and put the suspect behind bars.

Anna’s ability to accurately read young people is a result of her time spent in the foster care system. She understands them better than most because she’s seen how abuse and emotional damage can play a role in how they view themselves and it’s this edge that allows her to focus on certain details that other detectives might overlook. As Anna and Will work together to find this missing girl, Anna can’t help but become obsessed with the case. She must find her and she must find her alive.

What I liked about When the Stars Go Dark, is that the author weaves in actual missing persons cases like Polly Klaas, which gives this story an edge and a realistic feel. I would have liked a little more of a lead-up to the suspect. The big reveal felt sudden and rushed. I was reading a review copy and it’s possible some paragraphs were left out because all of a sudden the suspect was identified. I actually went back a few pages to verify.

Anyway, I was immediately pulled into this story but felt like it could have gone a little deeper into Anna’s past to make it really compelling.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

7 thoughts on “Review: When The Stars Go Dark”

  1. I have the eGalley of this one and, from what you’ve written, I think this is a “me” kinda story. I’ve hope so anyways as it sounds similar to Lisa Gardner’s latest book : Before She Disappeared which I read recently and liked.

    1. The fact that I wanted a little more about the main character just speaks to the author’s ability to pull you in. I have a weakness for missing person stories. I think I have Gardner’s book.

    1. I’m not sure what it is but you are right. I have also been drawn to murder mystery shows on Netflix or true crime documentaries. I am watching one now called The Sinner. Very interesting and a different take on this genre.

  2. I often feel like thrillers and mysteries reveal the killer/bad guy abruptly then the book ends. A cold case is always intriguing though and integrating real cases from the news is a clever way to add authenticity to a novel.

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