Book Review: THE WEIGHT OF BLOOD by Laura McHugh

Publisher: Random House
Released: March 11, 2014
Source: I received a review copy through the Amazon Vine Program.
Rating: ★★★★★

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 Laura McHugh’s impressive debut novel about dark family secrets and murder deep in the Ozark Mountains. This haunting tale grabbed me from the start and didn’t let go. The story begins with the discovery of a murdered teenage girl named Cheri who had been missing for the past year. Where had she been this whole time, and who was her killer? These are questions plaguing Lucy Dane, who was a childhood friend of Cheri’s.

I enjoyed how the story was told in the past and present from different point of views. The two main characters were Lucy in the present, and her mother Lila in the past, who vanished when Lucy was very young. As Lucy takes on the risky task of searching for clues about Cheri, she discovers some shocking secrets about her family and her mother’s disappearance. Who can she trust?

The author truly captured the majesty and mystery of the Ozarks, and the perfect eerie atmosphere to go with this suspenseful tale. I was easily wrapped up in the plot and characters, and biting my nails until finding out how everything came together. Highly recommended!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through the Amazon Vine Program in exchange for an honest review.