When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McClain grabs your attention immediately with its compelling prologue and its initial chapters. It portrays Anna Hart’s condition of bleak self-awareness. My past exposure to Paula McLain’s work was historical books. I discovered her progress to a detective-crime-mystery novel to be an expansion of her story-telling capacities.
Both from past and the present, Anna Hart is very much familiar with the dark side of human nature. Now in San Francisco she is a missing person investigator. She has special insight into cases of killed or missing kids that she honed in her past. A present day personal shocking mishap leaves her on leave and sends her aimlessly avoiding, venturing out north to Mendocino to the only stable home she had as a kid with foster parents. Orphaned at eight she was in a series of foster homes until she went to live with Hap and Eden. They gave her love, and above all, the ability to survive. When she is back in Mendocino, she discovers that there is a missing girl.
Cameron Curtis has disappeared. She is a fifteen-year-old girl and the daughter of a retired actor. It is not clear if she was kidnapped or a runaway. For Anna, this brings back memories from her teenage life. Time when her friend went missing when they were teen. Another friend from her teenager years, Will Flood, is presently the sheriff. Anna offers to help him look for Cameron. Then two more girls went missing, including real life twelve-year-old Polly Klaas. Anna understands the nuts and bolts of how victims come into contact with hunters. She additionally realizes that she needs to track down the missing girls, if they are yet alive.
McLain clearly portrays the scene as skilfully as she dives into the interior life of Anna. Anna is an injured character from her childhood yet utilizes her experiences and training in her current day search for the murdered or kidnapped children. Due to her childhood and the recent tragedy she experienced she understands the vulnerability of the missing girls. readers will not realize what befell Anna until the end, in spite of the fact that there are few clues all through the novel. Anna is an all around developed character and is skilfully depicted as a real individual with an authenticity that comes from McLain’s own encounters.
When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McClain is exquisite, beautifully descriptive and emotionally fraught. That is especially due to Anna’s background and the subject matter. The plot moves at slower, more introspective speed toward the start before picking up the speed. The story goes to and fro in time, which helps in developing Anna’s character.
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