The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh

August 2, 2016 Whitney Review 0 Comments

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Weight of Blood by Laura McHughThe Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh
Published by Spiegel & Grau on March 11th 2014
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 302
Source: Netgalley

For fans of Gillian Flynn and Daniel Woodrell, a dark, gripping debut novel of literary suspense about two mysterious disappearances, a generation apart, and the meaning of family-the sacrifices we make, the secrets we keep, and the lengths we will go to protect the ones we love.

The Dane family's roots tangle deep in the Ozark Mountain town of Henbane, but that doesn't keep sixteen-year-old Lucy Dane from being treated like an outsider. Folks still whisper about her mother, a bewitching young stranger who inspired local myths when she vanished years ago. When one of Lucy's few friends, slow-minded Cheri, is found murdered, Lucy feels haunted by the two lost girls-the mother she never knew and the friend she couldn't protect. Everything changes when Lucy stumbles across Cheri's necklace in an abandoned trailer and finds herself drawn into a search for answers. What Lucy discovers makes it impossible to ignore the suspicion cast on her own kin. More alarming, she suspects Cheri's death could be linked to her mother's disappearance, and the connection between the two puts Lucy at risk of losing everything. In a place where the bonds of blood weigh heavy, Lucy must decide where her allegiances lie.

First Impressions

Perhaps it is my obsession with Dateline, but I have a sick affinity with novels that involve women in peril. After reading the synopsis of The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh I felt it fit the bill.

I thought the novel would be a cut and dry whodunit. While the “whodunit” part was easily revealed, it was the why that caught me off guard. Without giving it away, the motivate was disturbing, with a sexual premise one hopes never to encounter.

Impressions While Reading

While both parts were well written, I looked forward to Lila’s portion more than Lucy’s. It became tiresome listening to Lucy’s backstory as it felt regurgitated from her mother’s point of view. Lila’s background and transactions with Carl and Crete were far more interesting and added increasing depth to their characters.

The one thing that bothered me was Lucy turning into Nancy Drew. She discovered clues that were easily missed by the police which she just happens to come across. This precocious “I know more than the adults” annoys me. These developments should be left to the likes of Lemony Snicket and the Baudelaire children. In this case, Lucy’s quest to discover what happened to her mother went hand in hand with Cheri’s disappearance and subsequent murder. Therefore, she must be given a free pass.

Impressions on Narration

I also listened to part of this on audio. Having several narrators was enjoyable and gave a unique voice to Lila and Lucy. This integrated the two time periods nicely and created a seamless story.

Final Impressions

As odd as it may sound, the best way to describe The Weight of Blood is a plot involving human trafficking and a question of paternity. It is different, but Laura McHugh manages to pull it off fluidly without any misstep. Thus, The Weight of Blood is a well-executed novel and worth the read.


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