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Editorial 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

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Marjorie
  • Santa Rosa, CA, United States
  • 03-23-14

Good Mystery; Just a Little Juvenile

I enjoyed the narration of this book, the voices were easy to listen to and understand with good pacing. It took me some time, however, to sort out who was who in the beginning and after about two hours when I finally figured out what was going on, I went back and listened to many parts to solidify what I had missed when I was trying to place what was happening in the story. After that, the book was very good as the teen-age (19 year old) protagonist was working to solve two mysteries, the death of her friend and then the death of her mother. The mystery became involved and suspenseful keeping me interested and impressed with the author's ability to create such an intricate tale. Unfortunately, I felt the ending was a bit disappointing but will leave that up to you to decide. This book could be for a teen or young adult audience but works for adults too. If there was a 3.8, I would have given that but there isn't and the storyline was not quite good enough to make a 4 for me.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Loved it!!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes- the book is very engaging

Any additional comments?

Really great story- liked how different actors voiced different characters rather than one actor trying to do all the voices. Disappointed that there are no other books written by this author. Really grabs you from the very first paragraph up through the end.

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  • Joan
  • SAINT CHARLES, MO, United States
  • 03-19-14

Different Type of Mystery

Would you listen to The Weight of Blood again? Why?

I would listen to it again. Interesting story told by each character. Every word is interesting and worth listening to.

What other book might you compare The Weight of Blood to and why?

It's a little like Gone Girl but mostly because it takes place in rural Missouri.

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

Intriguing family history and secrets that could be deadly.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Suspenseful coming-of-age story

Where does The Weight of Blood rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This was a very good audiobook, definitely a "page turner". I liked the use of (3) narrators, although I wish the voices had been a little more distinctive. It was difficult to discern which narrator was speaking. Fortunately, the book chapters are labeled by each narrators name. Otherwise, I would have struggled to know who was telling the story.

What other book might you compare The Weight of Blood to and why?

This story reminded me very much of "Ruby Red Heart in the Cold Blue Sea". Very similar story ( teenage girl loses mother early in life under mysterious circumstances ). If you liked this, check out RRH....

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great story, excellent narration!!

Would you listen to The Weight of Blood again? Why?

The narration could not have been better. Perfect for the story.

Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

Hard to say, they were all excellent! Lucy is my favorite, however.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great story

If you want a story you can really get into - this is the one. I loved it all!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Fresh, real, and hopefully just the beginning

Would you consider the audio edition of The Weight of Blood to be better than the print version?

NA

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Yes, excellent format for telling a story which spans several years

Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

3 different narrator's all excellent

Any additional comments?

This is Laura McHugh's first novel and I for one will be watching for the next. I have listened to Gardner, Slaughter and Hoag and enjoyed them all, but Ms. McHugh brings a fresh new way to tell a story. Her portrayal of a small town in Missouri was very realistic and the characters more real than I am sure most readers would appreciate. You would have had to be raised in a similar setting to understand the simplicity and complexities of the characters and I hope readers understand just how different this setting is compared to the more familiar ones of the other authors. I certainly hope this is the type of novel Ms. McHugh continues to write as I for one will read every single one. One P.S….Narrator, Shannon McManus has a voice which pulls you into a book, I will be looking for her books regardless of the author!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Judy
  • Ellisville, MO, United States
  • 03-30-14

Great Horrible Story

Would you listen to The Weight of Blood again? Why?

I would definitely listen to this book again because you always find things you missed first time around.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Lucy would probably be my favorite because she exists in the here & now. Lilah would be my second, because the story of her life was such a sad tragedy.

Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Although I wasn't familiar with these narrators, they did not disappoint.

Any additional comments?

As a Missouri resident, I could relate 100% to this story. It is totally believable!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jessica
  • Hernando, ms, United States
  • 03-25-14

Loved it !!

What made the experience of listening to The Weight of Blood the most enjoyable?

I could not put it down

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Yes

What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Feeling

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

The name of the book says it all

Any additional comments?

Loved it!!!! Couldn't put it down

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Good story

Very interesting mystery of a family told from a mother daughter perspective . I listened to it all in 1 day

0 of 2 people found this review helpful