Paula McLain’s Hot Book of the Week

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Let’s kick off this week with the current Hot Book of the Week at The Poisoned Pen. In a switch, Paula McLain’s When the Stars Go Dark is a thriller, not at all what readers expect from the author of The Paris Wife. You can find signed copies of McLain’s book in the Web Store. https://bit.ly/3gz4FYN

Here’s When the Stars Go Dark.

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • 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)

“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.”—theSkimm

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.


Paula McLain is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Love and Ruin, Circling the SunThe Paris Wife, and A Ticket to Ride, the memoir Like Family: Growing Up in Other People’s Houses, and two collections of poetry. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, O: The Oprah Magazine, Town & Country, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and elsewhere. She lives in Ohio with her family.