Weight of Blood

Weight of Blood

Book - 2014
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For fans of Gillian Flynn, Scott Smith, and Daniel Woodrell comes a gripping, suspenseful novel about two mysterious disappearances a generation apart.

The town of Henbane sits deep in the Ozark Mountains. Folks there still whisper about Lucy Dane's mother, a bewitching stranger who appeared long enough to marry Carl Dane and then vanished when Lucy was just a child. Now on the brink of adulthood, Lucy experiences another loss when her friend Cheri disappears and is then found murdered, her body placed on display for all to see. Lucy's family has deep roots in the Ozarks, part of a community that is fiercely protective of its own. Yet despite her close ties to the land, and despite her family's influence, Lucy--darkly beautiful as her mother was--is always thought of by those around her as her mother's daughter. When Cheri disappears, Lucy is haunted by the two lost girls--the mother she never knew and the friend she couldn't save--and sets out with the help of a local boy, Daniel, to uncover the mystery behind Cheri's death.
What Lucy discovers is a secret that pervades the secluded Missouri hills, and beyond that horrific revelation is a more personal one concerning what happened to her mother more than a decade earlier.
The Weight of Blood is an urgent look at the dark side of a bucolic landscape beyond the arm of the law, where a person can easily disappear without a trace. Laura McHugh proves herself a masterly storyteller who has created a harsh and tangled terrain as alive and unforgettable as the characters who inhabit it. Her mesmerizing debut is a compelling exploration of the meaning of family: the sacrifices we make, the secrets we keep, and the lengths to which we will go to protect the ones we love.
Praise for The Weight of Blood
"[An] expertly crafted thriller." -- Entertainment Weekly, "The Must List"
"Haunting . . . [a] riveting debut." -- Los Angeles Times
"Laura McHugh's atmospheric debut . . . conjures a menacingly beautiful Ozark setting and a nest of poisonous family secrets reminiscent of Daniel Woodrell's Winter's Bone ." --Vogue
"Fantastic . . . a mile-a-minute thriller." -- The Dallas Morning News
"Gripping . . . Her prose will not only keep readers turning the pages but also paints a real and believable portrait of the connections, alliances, and sacrifices that underpin rural, small-town life. . . . Strongly recommended for readers who enjoy thrillers by authors such as Laura Lippman and Tana French." --Library Journal (starred review)
"The sinister tone builds relentlessly." --The Plain Dealer
"Rich in character and atmosphere . . . This is one you won't want to miss." --Karin Slaughter
"Daniel Woodrell better watch his back. . . . Weight of Blood is a tense, taut novel and a truly remarkable debut. . . . A suspenseful thrill ride that satisfies in all the right ways." -- BookPage
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group, 2014
ISBN: 9780812995206
Characteristics: 306 p.


From Library Staff

ehbooklover Apr 18, 2014

Disturbing, atmospheric, and so hard to put down. The story is very effectively told from the point of view of several different characters, all of whom are wonderfully complicated and interesting. I look forward to reading another book by this debut author.

From the critics

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Nov 05, 2018

I liked this book a lot. I would actually give it a 3.75 rating, not a 3.5 My only qualms were the unnecessary language and descriptions of sex scenes. I read Arrowood and it didn't make me uncomfortable but this one went over the line for me a few times. (Which, I admit, I'm very sensitive to those things in novels which is why I typically stick to young adult or Christian authors) I would definitely recommend this book. I thought the story was very well written. There were some minor twists that I didn't see coming and I always enjoy that.

Apr 13, 2018

Yep. A good read. Set in the Ozarks. Lucy has lived there for all of her 16yrs. Lucy's friend has been murdered & she seems to be the only person who cares about what happened to her. She has been bought up by her Dad because her mother disappeared when she was a baby. He Uncle Crete has a lot of input into her life also but Lucy is beginning to suspect he is not what he seems. Her friends murder seems to be connected to her mothers disappearance in some vague way. I kept wanting to go back to the book to see what was happening. Good one.

Nov 29, 2017

This book literally had me on the edge of my seat! The imagery provided by Laura McHugh's words created a vivid picture in my mind of both the characters and the scenery. I could absolutely read this book a hundred times and never get tire of it. Kudos to the author I was truly drawn into Henbane, MO. and couldn't wait to see what was going to happen next in this multi-layered thriller of family, lies, secrets and death.

JCLHelenH Jun 12, 2017

In this twisted and disturbing portrait of a family with deep, dark secrets Lucy discovers a clue in the disappearance of her friend, and her long-dead mother after she starts working at the family store.

May 31, 2017

This book was a thrilling rollercoaster ride through the boonies and I could not put it down. Lucy had a loving mother who disappeared. Her doting father and uncle are not what they seem and she is determined to find out the truth, starting with the disappearance of her mentally challenged high school friend.

The book is aptly named as Lucy feels the weight of her loyalty to family as she begins to uncover details about her family that she was blissfully unaware of. McHugh has written the book from multiple POV so you can watch Lucy's mother Lila first encounter the Dane family as you watch Lucy do her investigation. I like this even more than Arrowood myself.

Highly recommended for Missouri folks especially!

athompson10 Dec 29, 2016

It was OK, a little predictable and at times read more like a YA novel. What does stand out is the author's love of the Ozarks landscape, and her realistic portrayal of poor girls without roots or family stability, and how limited their choices and opportunities are.

Jul 31, 2016

pretty good but it had some type
of crude stuck to it on the pages

Jun 26, 2016

From start to finish, this was a compelling book. Lila's life cut down far too soon, and her daughter, Lucy, searching for the truth that would connect the tragedies in this Ozark community. Definitely worth reading.

Marlowe Jan 08, 2016

The Weight of Blood is a fitting title for a heavy family drama that spans generations and clans in the Ozark Mountains. Told from multiple perspectives, in both time and character, consequences are both being revealed and changing as the novel progresses. Slow but purposefully, and definitely worth a chance.

Jan 26, 2015

This was a disturbing book, and it felt surprisingly real. I don't have much experience with the area in which the book takes place, but the descriptions made Henbane believable.

I liked ALL the female characters. There was a little good and little bad/mystery in each one. The male characters seemed flat.

The angular storytelling (each chapter is told from the point of view of a different character) seemed disjointed at times. Several characters were strongly featured in a few chapters, but only one or two chapters were from their point of view.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed Gone Girl. I enjoyed it more than that one, and I found this book to be an easier, more intriguing read.

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