• When the Stars Go Dark

  • A Novel
  • By: Paula McLain
  • Narrated by: Marin Ireland
  • Length: 11 hrs and 29 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (1,895 ratings)

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When the Stars Go Dark  By  cover art

When the Stars Go Dark

By: Paula McLain
Narrated by: Marin Ireland
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Publisher's summary

New York Times best seller

Good Morning America Buzz Pick

“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)

Named One of the Best Books of the Year by Marie Claire

“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.” (Daily Skimm)

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.

©2021 Paula McLain (P)2021 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

“This genre-bending novel [is an] absolutely incredible literary thriller about the human journey.” (Good Morning America)

“Fueled by pure high anxiety.... When the Stars Go Dark is an atmospheric and intricately plotted suspense novel.” (The Washington Post)

“The twisty plot keeps the pages flying, and Paula McLain’s lyrical and poetic prose reveals insight after insight about the human heart, making this riveting read not only an engrossing psychological thriller, but crime fiction of the highest order." (Lisa Scottoline, author of Someone Knows)