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The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh

The Weight of Blood

by Laura McHugh

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A woman gets snookered into traveling to a dead end Ozarks town from a dead-end life in Iowa when she ages out of foster care. She lands in a famly that has some dark secrets and between two brothers whose loyalty requires shutting your eyes really tight and chanting LALALA. After she disappears, here young daughter grows up in this setting, gradually realizing how things are not what they seem. Claustrophbic.
  bfister | Feb 23, 2015 |
The Weight of Blood is an interesting novel told through multiple voices, which enhanced the deep storytelling. This novel was one I got on a whim from Netgalley and wound up loving. The characters were easy to listen to and the plot was quickly engaging. The mysterious disappearance of two women from the same town, but years apart, drew me in as something I needed to solve. As family ties became evident, the story grew even more page turning. It was interesting and sickening at the same time. While reading I felt twinges of hate, disgust, fear, and guilt. The fact that this book was able to pull those emotions to the surface but not be repulsive is commendable. This book is well written and well worth reading! ( )
  littlebirdreads | Feb 10, 2015 |
Excellent! Part mystery part thriller this story set in the part of the world I grew up in, really captured my attention.
Great characters and descriptions. ( )
  busyreadin | Jan 26, 2015 |
I am absolutely and positively in love with this book....with its story, its setting, its characters...and despite the fact that the "I'm so high on this book let me rave about it right away" version of my review got carried into oblivion by the magical forces of my Firefox, my initial literary infatuation has not diminished one bit in the meantime...

I find it a bit amusing that most debut books in this genre get compared to Gillian Flynn - I am assuming in the attempt to stir the readers of Gone Girl in the direction of this book but I find that this comparison is a bit unfair towards the talent that Laura McHugh brings to the table all on her own. I am not expert on small town America but Henbane of McHugh's literary world is going to stay with me for quite a while. I am drawn to writers who know how to create the worlds I end up inhibiting with (reading) ease. And though Henbane of this story is murky and ominous, filled with darkness and secrets, I've enjoyed every second of "visiting" it.

Lucy Dane is sixteen, and though she was born and raised in Henbane, she is constantly dancing on the outer edges of actual acceptance by the other locals. Probably because her mother was an exotic and alluring outsider whose sudden departure soon after Lucy's birth still haunts the little town and especially Lucy herself. Lucy's friends are few and far between and when one of them (Cheri) is found dead, Lucy's need for answers ends up leading her down the path of (self)discovery that will change her world in more ways than she expected.

The story moves seamlessly between the past and the present, switching narration between various characters, allowing the reader greater insight into numerous points of view and I loved that shifting point of view. Getting to know Lucy, her mom Lila, brothers Crete and Carl, Lucy's neighbor Birdie - their stories and journeys end up being just as seductive as the main story itself. I wouldn't be surprised to see this book turned into a movie, it seems to have all the elements Hollywood is drawn to these days.

I know I'll be grabbing a copy of whatever books comes out of Laura McHugh's keyboard next. In the meantime I just wanted to share a few of the beautiful quotes that simply "forced" their way into my collection:

"She'd make a game of it where she'd relax all the little bits of her body, starting with her fingers and toes and working in toward the center. She had to make herself limp and draw the hurt and want into a tight core inside, each time adding another layer to that core, so that if somebody came along and cut her open, they'd find inside a shining, perfect pearl, hard as any Willy Wonka jawbreaker."

"I took in the thick night air, the sweet smell of honeysuckle, the chirping of frogs, to impress the moment in the folds of my memory, preserve it like a flower between pages of a book. To remember: This is how it feels to be happy."

"It occurred to her then that there was a reason age drained the pleasure out of life, slowly stripping away all the things you enjoyed or took for granted. It was so you wouldn't need convincing when the time came. You'd be ready, because everything good in life was gone." ( )
  anais_nin | Jan 21, 2015 |
This book was riveting and kept my attention to the very last word! Excellent! I highly recommend it! ( )
  eheinlen | Jan 16, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 77 (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 Sat, 02 Nov 2013 02:15:15 -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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