Tag Archives: Missing Girls

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: Invisible Girl

Invisible Girl 
By Lisa Jewell
Atria Books, 9781982137335, October 13, 2020, 368pp.

The Short of It:

There are a few side stories going on which normally distract me but they came together very nicely here.

The Rest of It:

The “Invisible Girl” in the title is not necessarily the main character of this novel which is interesting in and of itself. Saffyre Maddox is seeking treatment for self-harm. Her therapist, Roan Fours has been very good for her but after three years, he’s ready to cut her loose, feeling that she’s addressed her main reason for therapy. But Saffyre’s real reason is the abuse she suffered as a young child and she hasn’t even gotten to that part yet. Feeling abandoned, she becomes slightly obsessed with Roan and follows him around only to discover that he is hiding something from his family.

Owen Pick, is a neighbor across the street from Roan Fours. He lives with his aunt at the age of thirty and doesn’t know how to act around women. His awkwardness has caused numerous issues, including a workplace harassment case at the college he has been suspended from. His accidental interaction with Saffyre becomes a problem when she goes missing.

There are basically three main players in this story: Saffyre, Owen, and Roan. Other characters add to the complexity of what is going on, but don’t play major roles in what goes down. Jewell handles this quite well. I mean, no one seems “extra” just for the sake of being there. They all serve a purpose to propel the story forward in some way.

I’ve heard some say that there is a lot going on in this story. This is true but I felt that it was deftly navigated and had just the right pace for me to keep picking it up. Plus, Jewell is very good at characterization. I cared about these characters and wanted them to be okay, except for the ones who didn’t deserve it of course.

Overall, a solid read with a nicely wrapped up ending.

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