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The Weight of Blood: A Novel | [Laura McHugh]

The Weight of Blood: A Novel

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.
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Audible Editor Reviews

"[A] suspenseful novel, with a barn burner of a plot…. McHugh shows herself to be a compelling writer intimately familiar with rural poverty and small-town weirdness." (Booklist)

Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (668 )
5 star
 (203)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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Overall
3.9 (591 )
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1 star
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Story
4.1 (593 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (6)
Performance
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  •  
    Ann ARDMORE, TN, United States 11-27-14
    Ann ARDMORE, TN, United States 11-27-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    ratings
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    "Good til the end"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Lantana, FL, United States 09-05-14
    Elizabeth Lantana, FL, United States 09-05-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    ratings
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    34
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    Story
    "Crazy family."
    Any additional comments?

    I love it when the books have more then one narrater to read the story, it become so much better to listen to!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    melissa Norwich, CT, United States 07-24-14
    melissa Norwich, CT, United States 07-24-14 Member Since 2014

    An avid reader who cherishes my time with a good book!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Interesting but left me feeling a bit let down"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bonnie 07-18-14
    Bonnie 07-18-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Slow - boring - but I stuck to the end"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Wallingford, CT, United States 07-02-14
    Susan Wallingford, CT, United States 07-02-14 Member Since 2011

    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.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Slow to go"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kgw 05-24-14
    kgw 05-24-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Suspenseful story line"
    What made the experience of listening to The Weight of Blood the most enjoyable?

    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.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Character development of Lucy, Lila and the other women.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When Lucy is told about her mother by Bertie.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    Great drive time story telling.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margeaux Lucas 05-10-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Loved it!"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Teri Bremerton, WA, United States 04-24-14
    Teri Bremerton, WA, United States 04-24-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "Loved it"
    If you could sum up The Weight of Blood in three words, what would they be?

    Not what you think (ok that's not 3 words)


    What did you like best about this story?

    I don't know what I was exactly expecting from this book , but it blew me away, I was so sucked up in the story I really enjoyed it


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Ozarks the other side of the woods


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melissa 04-23-14
    Melissa 04-23-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
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    "Unexpected"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Weight of Blood to be better than the print version?

    The good thing about the print version is that you can basically put your own voice to each character. In the beginning of a book in print I don't have a defined voice but when I get to know the character I start to picture their voice, behavior and mannerisms.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Lila was my favorite character. At first I did not realize how Lila and Lucy connected. But then it all worked out and it was if Lila was guiding Lucy at some points in the book.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Hmm that is difficult because the content was quite difficult and sometimes difficult to find any comfort while listening to the story. But if I have to choose it was when Lila is saved from the garage.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When Lila felt that she could actually have a home in a place where she felt so uncomfortable, she was willing to make it work for her child and family.


    Any additional comments?

    This book was surprising in several ways. Its not a book that is full of fluff and good vibes. The content is somewhat uncomfortable at times however, that makes you want to know how it all turns out in the end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    diane 04-19-14
    diane 04-19-14

    graphic & fine artist

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    32
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    "enjoyed this fiction"

    well written and well delivered. I enjoyed listening to this book and it held my interest as being suspenseful with good character development.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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