Tag Archives: Kidnapping

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.

Review: Mother May I

Mother May I

Mother May I
By Joshilyn Jackson
William Morrow, 9780062855343, April 2021, 336pp.

The Short of It:

Motherhood can be tough. You try to do all the right things for your children, and you certainly go out of your way to keep them from harm, but sometimes their well-being is out of your control.

The Rest of It:

Bree Cabbat lives a pretty decent life. She has a nice home, her husband Trey is successful and that success allows her to spend time with her three children. Although she grew up poor and had dreams of being in the theater some day, her life is pretty good the way it is and she can’t complain.

One day, while attending her daughter’s rehearsal, she sets her son down in his baby seat and when she turns around, he’s gone. The school’s auditorium was empty. Who could have taken him? But then she is reminded of a strange woman she saw. She wasn’t entirely sure at the time if she was really there, lurking outside her bedroom window or if she had been dreaming it but when she sees the note where her baby used to be, she immediately knows that woman’s appearance was no coincidence.

As the details emerge, it’s clear that this is more than just a kidnapping for ransom set-up. This is personal and Bree, although desperate to find her son, realizes that she is going to have to play the game in order to get him back. Can she do that? Can she go along with this crazy woman’s demands? Can she do what she is being asked to do for the sake of her child? Would you?

This is a race-against-time story so once you pick it up, you will continue to flip those pages until you know how the story ends. I have now read at least three of Jackson’s books and two things are certain, she knows how to pull a reader in and knows how to tell a story. Mother May I has the added benefit of relaying a message and making a statement. This was rather important to me so I am glad she chose to go there even though perhaps the book could have been edited down a bit.

At this writing, Mother May I is scheduled to hit the shelves in April but the review copy has been glaring at me for weeks so I couldn’t wait anymore and had to read it. If you’ve read Jackson before then you know her books are a sure thing but if you haven’t read her yet, give her try.

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