When the Stars Go Dark: A Novel

When the Stars Go Dark: A Novel

by Paula McLain (Author)



“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.” (theSkim)

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. 

In a captivating and atmospheric novel, Paula McLain transports readers to the rugged wilderness of Wyoming and the heart-wrenching quest for survival amidst a devastating winter storm. "When the Stars Go Dark" introduces Anna Hart, a young widow struggling to come to terms with her grief and the haunting memories of her past.

As Anna buries herself in her remote cabin, seeking solace in the solitude of nature, she finds herself caught in an unexpected blizzard. The storm cuts off all communication and leaves her stranded without food or supplies. Desperation sets in as Anna realizes the true extent of her isolation.

In a desperate attempt to survive, Anna ventures out into the unforgiving wilderness, encountering treacherous conditions and unforeseen dangers. She stumbles upon Jack Wheeler, a former search and rescue officer, who reluctantly agrees to help her find a way out.

As they navigate through the treacherous terrain, Anna and Jack uncover a shocking secret that shakes her to her core. The connection between Anna's past and the present circumstances becomes increasingly apparent, leading to a life-altering revelation. This newfound knowledge forces Anna to confront her deepest fears and reclaim her strength.

"When the Stars Go Dark" is a compelling blend of suspense, romance, and self-discovery. Paula McLain's vivid prose brings the harsh beauty of the wilderness to life, while her exploration of resilience, love, and the indomitable spirit of survival keeps readers on the edge of their seats.


April 13, 2021