The Weight of Blood, Laura McHugh
Summary from Amazon.com
“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.”
Everyone hears all the time about how close knit small towns can be, it is written about over and over again in books of this magnitude, a horrific secret is held by one family and the surrounding town either knows about it and keeps it from the youngest member of the family, or the family somehow keeps it from the town. I’ve read this sort of story time and time again lately and it never surprises me that the least likely character is the one who holds the deepest secret, in this case its someone that we are able to pick out from the off, there’s just something “off” about them that makes the reader want to pin them to the wall. Personally, I am an open book, so there’s no secrets I am keeping from anyone, but to that end if there was a secret of this magnitude, as the disappearance of a parent due to mysterious circumstances, or a friend whose death does nothing to affect the town in which we live I might just feel the need to tell someone, anyone. But would I hide that secret to protect my youngest child, sister, brother, or even a parent? Maybe, maybe not, I guess it would depend on the circumstances.
If you as a reader love thrillers that are also mystery novels with a hint of a romance then I highly suggest you pick this wonderful read up, while slow to start, the book quickly picks up and you are able to jump right into the story. WE hear about the history of the family’s “secret” from all sides, from Crete and Carl Dane to Lucy’s Mother and around to Lucy’s Perspective, each side telling a small part of the story until finally in the end we’re given the bigger picture and find out what actually happened to Cheri and Lucy’s Mother. A thrilling ride from start to finish, I found this a compellingly dark story that holds many sinister plots and subplots that kept the reader guessing from the off what happened and how it will all come together in the end.
Four of out Five Stars for The Weight of Blood as the back and forth between perspectives while compelling I did find slightly distracting.
*I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
About the Author: Laura McHugh
Laura McHugh lives in Columbia, Missouri, with her husband and children.The Weight of Blood is her first novel.