Paula McLain

Paula McLain

When the Stars Go Dark

Ballantine Books

A missing girl. A broken woman. A truth about to come to light…

Anna Hart is a seasoned missing persons detective with too much knowledge of the darkest side of human nature. When tragedy strikes her personal life, Anna, desperate and numb, flees to the village of Mendocino to grieve. She lived there as a child with her beloved foster parents and believes it might be the only place left for her. Yet the day she arrives, she learns a local teenage girl has gone missing.


The crime feels frighteningly reminiscent of a time in Anna’s childhood, when the unsolved murder of a young girl changed the community Mendocino forever. As past and present collide, Anna realizes that she has been led to this moment. Her most difficult life lessons have given her insight into how victims meet 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.

“A beautifully written, sharply observed literary thriller with an extraordinary, unforgettable heroine. An unflinching look at the long shadow cast by trauma and the resilience it takes to survive, this is a novel of both great sadness and great beauty.”
—Kristin Hannah, New York Times bestselling author