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The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh

The Weight of Blood

by Laura McHugh

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5729817,365 (3.82)44
  1. 20
    Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Questions of family loyalty trouble resourceful teen girls in these stark and menacing novels of hardscrabble life in the Ozark hills. Both fast-paced literary thrillers combine a strong sense of place with haunting characters and clear-eyed depictions of violence.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 101 (next | show all)
I could not have thought up a plot like this if I tried! This book was cleverly crafted, with each character developed to make you love them, regardless of their flaws, some of which were very controversial. I was kept in suspense as the answers to two mysteries unfolded and the protagonist, Lucy, learned all there is to learn about love, friendship, blood bonds, and moral grounding. Wonderful story! ( )
  uagyrl | Nov 23, 2017 |
Deep in the Ozark mountains of Missouri is the 'city' of Henbane. A community that is insular and riven with small town issues such as drugs and crime. Into this community comes Lila, a beautiful orphan who has signed an indenture to work for a local farmer and shop-owner, but Lila is shunned by many of the locals who call her a witch and she is unaware of the real reason that she has been brought to Henbane - a trafficking of young women who are used for profit and then discarded, girls who no-one will miss. Lila discovers the truth about the underbelly of Henbane but marries steady Carl and gives birth to a daughter, Lucy; one year after the birth Lila disappears. Sixteen years later another local girls disappears but her body is found a year later. She was a friend to Lucy and as Lucy starts to look into her death she finds links to the disappearance of her mother and she is forced to face truths about how blood is very important.

The plot is narrated across the years by the voices of Lila and Lucy with some input from other characters as need be. This makes it disjointed, but also shows how the two plots are drawn together and how the motivation of the characters in Lucy's story are driven by the events in Lila's. The portrait of the claustrophobic nature of this remote area is beautifully drawn and the mountains become another character. The plot is unpleasant but not unbelievable and that is what makes it so scary. A really excellent book. ( )
  pluckedhighbrow | Jun 26, 2017 |
Abandoned book. The story has two parts. The modern part deals with the daughter of a woman who disappeared and is presumed to have died in the river. Her friend, a special needs girl, disappears. When she is found over a year later, her body is dismembered. The older part deals with the mother, an orphan who makes her way to the Ozarks to take a job for a couple of years. Let's just say I saw where this book was headed and didn't like it. It gave me the "creeps." I listened to the audio version of the book. I quit listening after the second of eight sections.
  thornton37814 | Mar 4, 2017 |
I have to admit I got off to a slow start with this book. I found the dual viewpoints a little confusing at first and it took a while for the penny to drop that the narration was split between Lucy and her mother Lila. However once I realised the timescale etc I was hooked.
Lucy lives in Henbane with her father Carl and his older brother and overprotective uncle Crete. She is haunted by the disappearance of her mother when she was a baby and when her friend Cheri is found murdered, after being missing for a year, she starts to investigate her disappearance. This takes her on a dark journey into the black heart of her own family.
I really enjoyed most aspects of the book, the descriptions of the weather and the surroundings gave the reader a real sense of the isolation and insular community that is the small town of Henbane. I recently watched ‘The top of the Lake’ on TV and this book reminded me quite strongly of that series with its scattered community and dark secrets at every turn.
However I did find people’s attitudes a little unrealistic. I have never lived in small town America so maybe I’m being naïve but I found it difficult to believe that people would really turn a blind eye to the atrocities that were happening around them. I also found it strange that ‘suspicious’ dead bodies were buried illegally with apparently no comeback? Where was the law? Why did a missing child not attract more police attention? As I say this may be due to my lack of understanding but I found I did have to suspend disbelief at certain points in the plot.
Despite this however it was a good read that I enjoyed very much.
( )
  angelaoatham | Feb 21, 2017 |
A decent mystery

A pretty good mystery, though no huge surprises at the end. Story was a good pace and made for an entertaining read. ( )
  bravewoman | Feb 3, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 101 (next | show all)
With her riveting debut, "The Weight of Blood," Laura McHugh makes a strong bid at cementing a new tradition of regional crime fiction while keeping tourism low in the Ozarks........McHugh has crafted a sharp, haunting tale of blood in the Ozarks, as substantial as it is pleasurable to read.

McHugh cleverly tells the story in several first-person voices, mostly that of Lucy and her mother. The reader will know early on who the primary villain is, and may wonder at Lucy’s naiveté in not figuring it out sooner. But as in real life but oh-so-rarely in fiction, the villain here may not be 100 percent villainous, nor are the good guys necessarily 100 percent blame-free.

The plot will keep readers of The Weight of Blood reading far past their bedtimes, but it’s McHugh’s shadings and subtleties of character that’ll have them looking at their own families with new eyes and looking for her next book with eager ones.
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That Cheri Stoddard was found at all was the thing that set people on edge, even more so than the condition of her body.
You grow up feeling the weight of blood, of family. There’s no forsaking kin.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812995201, Hardcover)

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
“A fantastic novel, rich in character and atmosphere . . . This is one you won’t want to miss.”—Karin Slaughter, author of Unseen
“Laura McHugh’s vivid and enthralling The Weight of Blood centers on a mother and daughter in a seemingly benign yet deeply horrifying small town. It kept me on the edge of my seat from the first page to the last.”—Vanessa Diffenbaugh, author of The Language of Flowers
The Weight of Blood pulled me in and wouldn’t let go. What starts as Lucy’s coming-of-age story becomes a chilling tale about the price of secrets. As the menace deepens, so does the tension. Laura McHugh has written a terrific novel.”—Meg Gardiner, Edgar Award–winning author of The Shadow Tracer
“Once I picked up Laura McHugh’s The Weight of Blood, I couldn’t put it down. I kept turning pages long into the night, bewitched by the enchanting Ozark landscape and the haunting murder mystery at its heart. The Weight of Blood is the kind of novel that leaves the reader breathless and wanting more.”—Amy Greene, author of Bloodroot
“In this riveting debut, Laura McHugh weaves together the stories of two women, separated by a generation, who each reveal pieces of a story that gains momentum and power as its shape becomes clear. This novel will keep you up all night.”—Christina Baker Kline, author of Orphan Train
“An elegant time bomb of a novel, a coming-of age story that holds you captive from the first sentence and doesn’t let go of you after the last.”—Tracy Guzeman, author of The Gravity of Birds

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:31 -0400)

"The Dane family's roots tangle deep in the Ozark Mountain town of Henbane, but that doesn't keep sixteen-year-old Lucy Dane from being treated like an outsider. Folks still whisper about her mother, a bewitching young stranger who inspired local myths when she vanished years ago. When one of Lucy's few friends, slow-minded Cheri, is found murdered, Lucy feels haunted by the two lost girls--the mother she never knew and the friend she couldn't protect. Everything changes when Lucy stumbles across Cheri's necklace in an abandoned trailer and finds herself drawn into a search for answers. What Lucy discovers makes it impossible to ignore the suspicion cast on her own kin. More alarming, she suspects Cheri's death could be linked to her mother's disappearance, and the connection between the two puts Lucy at risk of losing everything. In a place where the bonds of blood weigh heavy, Lucy must decide where her allegiances lie"--… (more)

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