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.
©2014 Laura McHugh (P)2014 Random House Audio
"In this clever, multilayered debut, McHugh deftly explores the past of an Ozark Mountain family… with plenty to hide and the ruthlessness to keep their secrets hidden…. This is an outstanding first novel, replete with suspense, crisp dialogue, and vivid Ozarks color and atmosphere." (Publishers Weekly)
"Debut novelist McHugh comes out swinging with this gripping tale set in the Ozarks of Missouri…. 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 in Henbane." (Library Journal)
The use of "local language" set the tone of the Ozark area I suppose, however it got old.
The story certainly made you evaluate your life and family. How far would you go?
This is one of my most favorite books of 2014. It was perfect and had everything I like about a book. I also love when they use different people to narrate different characters in a book.
It was actually quite a good read. Having different chapters come from different players' perspectives, both past and present, worked quite well to unfold the story. The actors representing each voice were excellent. The characters are multi-faceted, even the ones whose actions (or inactions) are heinous.
What prevents me from recommending The Weight of Blood is how depressing it is. Put aside the human trafficking, which is depicted realistically enough to be truly disturbing. Still, the life of every woman in the book is mired in hopelessness of varying degrees. Some ray of hope is offered at the conclusion, but I was too disheartened to grasp it as I finished the book. But I guess this is the sign of a well written book, to have me so emotionally involved.
Edit: After reading another review, I found the true recent news item that likely inspired this book. Now I'm even more depressed. (less)
I enjoyed the story line and all the main characters. A lot. But then when we got to the end I found myself very disappointed that much of the mystery in the book never gets explained. No one comes to justice. The bad guys, of which I am never sure who all they are, just get to skate free. Or die by unknown methods.
I love it when the books have more then one narrater to read the story, it become so much better to listen to!
An avid reader who cherishes my time with a good book!
This story was well-written and the narration was very good. I enjoyed the characters and the setting was very engaging and interesting. It moved a bit slow in places and I just felt let down by the ending, as if there should have been more closure for the characters. It was a decent read but I would be far more inclined to recommend Gone Girl.
The isolation of Henbane in the Ozarks, the helplessness of the characters, and the evil that leaked there could have been so much more but instead the story line was SLOW to the point of boring. I stuck to the end with high hopes but I would not recommend your wasting your time.
I spend a lot of time seeking out the perfect story worthy of my credit. I enjoy suspense thrillers w/ a kick of satire. I'm a picky listener.
I guess it takes me 29% of the beginning to engage. This book was so slow it took me a while to realize that Lila and Lucy were the main characters. I did enjoy how the author summarized the dark trafficking plot in a light way. Would I read it again? No. Would you have to remind me about the details should it come up in a book club? Yes. Not a terrible read so it gets an average 3-stars all around. If you like the plot to unfold one character at a time, narrated by each character, then this is for you. It is worth a credit. Won't be a Hollywood movie though.
I liked the parallel stories of the women. It took me a little bit to realize what was going on, and figuring it out was fun. I love a surprise.
Character development of Lucy, Lila and the other women.
When Lucy is told about her mother by Bertie.
Great drive time story telling.
A wonderfully written story about the dark side of small town life. The author uses multiple points of view to great effect; unfolding a tale that is both horrifying and mesmerizing. The desperation of poverty looms large, but there is kindness as well, and fierce loyalty to family and friends. I loved the narrators' voices, which felt authentic and just right to me. Wonderful story, narration and characters. Highly entertaining. A win on all levels.
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