When the Stars Go Dark by Paul McLain

This novel is so good! A girl goes missing, and then there are two more missing within a hundred mile radius. This is right as the internet is starting up, database are being talked about and created by the FBI to try and make some sort of network to link everything, where DNA is still in early stages of how to test, what to test, what can we learn from it and how to better preserve crime scenes. So this was my childhood growing up. No internet, no cell phones, you knew of what was going on in the world by newspapers and the nightly news. Often unless a case became a national sensation, you didn’t hear about it like you do now with murders.

Anna is trying to find herself in life again. She has just dealt with a horrific personal tragedy at home, her husband told her doesn’t trust her anymore and she is torn between giving her job her all – finding and helping missing kids or maybe finding a different career to be home with her family and try to salvage her marriage. But right now, she is taking some time for herself to figure out what she wants, what she needs.

She finds a remote cabin in the woods of Mendocino, a town she swore she’d never go back to when she left and yet this is where she has found herself. She is taking in the beauty and nature of this place. Remembering the things she has been taught in life, the things she has lived through and yet the yearning to help others is still there. It will not quell and when a girl has gone missing now here, she cannot just sit around.

Anna gets put on the case, but as a quiet side that Will, who is running the investigation has agreed to. It was odd seeing him again. Childhood memories were dredged up, but she is here to help Cameron ands something is telling her she was sent here for a reason, maybe this is the reason. Will needs all the help he can get as the FBI is heading up a different missing girl case and hasn’t given him the time of day to hear out his case so far.

As Will and Anna dig into things, and reinterview and go over details, Anna realizes that Cameron is more like her than she realized. They had similar backgrounds growing up and Anna understands Cameron. Where she is coming from, how she may be feeling, why she may have left- if she did just leave and was not taken like the other girl. But can she endure her painful past to find Cameron. Will she find the answers she needs and are the other missing girls connected?

Thank you to Ballantine Books for the free ARC! This was a VERY good read. The story gave a lot of insight into Anna growing up, but that also tied into how she became such a good detective and how to look outside the normal routine of things. How to question to get the answers she needs, not necessarily the answers these people think the police want. I hope Paula writes more like this.

When the Stars Go Dark

~ Goodreads – About the Author ~

Paula McLain is the author of the New York Times and internationally bestselling novels, The Paris Wife and Circling the Sun. She’s also published two collections of poetry, Less of Her and Stumble, Gorgeous, the memoir Like Family: Growing Up in Other People’s Houses, and a first novel, A Ticket to Ride. She received her MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan in 1996, and has since received fellowships from the Corporation of Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, the Ucross Foundation, the Ohio Arts Council, the Cleveland Arts Prize, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, Real Simple, Town & Country, The Guardian and Good Housekeeping. She lives with her children in Cleveland, Ohio.

Paula McLain

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