The Weight of Blood
by Laura McHugh
Why did you choose this book? It is set in Missouri
When did you read this book? March 2014
Who should read this book? readers of mystery and suspense
Here is a synopsis of The Weight of Blood from Goodreads
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.
I was first drawn to this book because of the setting, the Ozarks of southwest Missouri, and the fact that the author is from Missouri. Once I read the synopsis, I was hooked!
Lucy Dane lives in a small Ozark town of about 700 people, where everyone know everyone, and outsiders are not welcome or trusted. Her mother, Lila, was one of those outsiders, rejected and feared by most, and even thought to be a witch by some. Lila disappeared when Lucy was only an infant, thought to have committed suicide. Twenty years later, Cheri, a mentally-challenged girl and a classmate of Lucy’s, also disappears mysteriously, and reappears gruesomely murdered one year later. Lucy feels she was not a good enough friend to Cheri, and takes it upon herself to discover what happened. She uncovers evidence and circumstances that appear to implicate her family members, and as she becomes more involved, things get more suspenseful, and possibly dangerous.
In some ways, this book reminds me very much of The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard. Both books are set in the midwest, and involve a young women seeking information on her mother who disappeared when she was very young. Both are surrounded by extended family. And both stories are suspenseful!
I’m not sure I really like how this book ends, but the more I think about it, the more I’m ok with it. There are still a lot of ‘secrets’ that are kept within the family at the end, and it leaves me a teensy bit dissatisfied to not have the complete truth revealed, but I will get over it. The story is a good one, and if you like suspense and crime mysteries, you will like this one. However, be warned that some of the scenes are pretty graphic and violent. There is a violent rape as well as a gruesome murder, so if this will bother you, be forewarned and move on to something else.
I won an Advanced Reader’s Edition from Bookreporter.com. This did not affect my review.
My Rating: ★★★ 3 Stars