THE WOLF WANTS IN by Laura McHugh {Review}

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
Release Date: August 6, 2019
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★¾

In a small town ravaged by the opioid crisis, a woman confronts a dark secret about her brother’s shocking death–a gripping novel of suspense for fans of Sharp Objects and S-Town.

Sadie Keller is determined to find out how her brother died, even if no one else thinks it’s worth investigating. Untimely deaths are all too common in rural Blackwater, Kansas, where crime and overdoses are on the rise, and the small-town police force is consumed with the recent discovery of a child’s skull in the woods. Sadie is on her own, delving into the dark corners of a life her brother kept hidden and unearthing more questions than answers.

Eighteen-year-old Henley Pettit knows more than she’d like to about the seedy side of Blackwater, and she’s desperate to escape before she’s irreparably entangled in her family’s crimes. She dreams of disappearing and leaving her old life behind, but shedding the past is never easy, and getting out of town will be far more dangerous than she ever imagined.

As more bones are found in the woods, time is running out for Sadie to uncover the truth and for Henley to make her escape. Both women are torn between family loyalties and the weight of the secrets they carry, knowing full well that while some secrets are hard to live with, others will get you killed.

Like Laura McHugh’s previous award-winning thrillers, The Weight of Blood and Arrowood, The Wolf Wants In is an atmospheric, beautifully told novel that barrels toward a twisting, chilling end and keeps us turning the page to find out how these small-town secrets will unravel–and who will survive.

THE WOLF WANTS IN is a quiet mystery/family drama set in a small Kansas town. Sadie Keller believes her brother has died under suspicious circumstances and wants answers. At the same time police are investigating the discovery of a child’s skull found in the woods. Henley Pettit is just looking for a way out of Blackwater, a town of people plagued by the opioid epidemic, including her mother.

I very much enjoy Laura McHugh’s writing style and the way she crafts her atmospheric Midwestern settings. I don’t think the mystery & suspense elements in this book were as strong as in her previous novels (The Weight of Blood & Arrowood). There weren’t a lot of clues presented until the end, and I was left a bit confused about what happened & why. However, this character-driven book presents a realistic look at how poverty and opioid abuse affects people in small town America.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

ARROWOOD by Laura McHugh

ARROWOOD by Laura McHugh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Memories can be tricky things, especially those that form when you’re a child. Arden Arrowood is sure of what she saw that day in 1994, when her younger twin sisters went missing outside their house in Keokuk, Iowa, never to be seen again. After many years away, Arden has returned to the family home after inheriting it from her grandparents, and it’s not long before things happen that make her question her sisters’ disappearance.

ARROWOOD is a haunting modern Gothic with an unsettling mystery at its core. My heart went out to Arden, emotionally stuck in the past, in limbo, just waiting for her baby sisters to come home. She had a bit of an obsession with nostalgia, which I can relate to. I was on pins and needles with Arden, waiting to find out what happened to little Violet and Tabitha.

This was a well-written novel, dark and suspenseful, with a hint of the paranormal. Definitely a couple of creepy moments! I was somewhat frustrated by the ending, though after thinking about it, it seemed to fit the overall vibe of the book. ARROWOOD is a great follow-up to Laura McHugh’s first novel, THE WEIGHT OF BLOOD, and I’m looking forward to her next book.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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.