Review: The Weight of Blood

The Weight of Blood, Laura McHugh

Reviewed by Amanda

Published March 11th 2014 by Random House, 320 pages.
Source: Netgalley

From Goodreads…

18209468For 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.

The Weight of Blood begins with the discovery of the body of a missing girl.  Lucy’s friend Cheri has been missing for a year and is found dismembered in this small town in the Ozarks.  Cheri seems to have been more an obligation than a real friend to Lucy, but Lucy still appears to be the only person in town still wondering what happened to this poor girl.  As Lucy tries to figure out what could have happened to Cheri she realizes she can still ask questions about her own mother’s disappearance years before.

Part One of the book alternates between Lucy’s perspective and that of her mother Lila. I liked the alternating as it gave the history that Lucy could never have known and shared as the narrator.  Part Two then opens up and switches between Lucy, Lila and their neighbors and friends which was harder for me.  I liked having all the information, but I found the change kind of hard on the flow of the book.

However, I thought McHugh did a great job with the dramatic tension in this book.  I was tense each time I picked up my kindle waiting to see what was going to really happen to Lila.  McHugh’s villains were intensely dislikable but also believable for the story. Most importantly I liked Lucy and appreciated her loyalties both to her family and her friend.  I was very nervous for her throughout the book!  I liked the sweet romance that Lucy had with Daniel as well.  I was glad it didn’t take over the book and it was not too dramatic with all the other action happening  The setting in the Ozarks added another dimension to the story with the harsh small town and cold characters.  Thank you Holly for the reminder that I also really need to read and watch Winter’s Bone for more Ozarks.

I will say I thought I had the end predicted, but there was enough of a twist that I was surprised.

Also-a great creepy cover!

4 stars

Thank you Random House and Netgalley for this advanced read copy for review!

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