The Weight of Blood

  • by Laura McHugh
  • Narrated by Dorothy Dillingham Blue, Shannon McManus, Sofia Willingham
  • 9 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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 an urgent look at the dark side of a bucolic landscape beyond the arm of the law, where a person can easily disappear without a trace. Laura McHugh proves herself a masterly storyteller who has created a harsh and tangled terrain as alive and unforgettable as the characters who inhabit it. Her mesmerizing debut is a compelling exploration of the meaning of family: the sacrifices we make, the secrets we keep, and the lengths to which we will go to protect the ones we love.

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Audible Editor Reviews

"[A] suspenseful novel, with a barn burner of a plot…. McHugh shows herself to be a compelling writer intimately familiar with rural poverty and small-town weirdness." (Booklist)

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What the Critics Say

"In this clever, multilayered debut, McHugh deftly explores the past of an Ozark Mountain family… with plenty to hide and the ruthlessness to keep their secrets hidden…. This is an outstanding first novel, replete with suspense, crisp dialogue, and vivid Ozarks color and atmosphere." (Publishers Weekly)
"Debut novelist McHugh comes out swinging with this gripping tale set in the Ozarks of Missouri…. Her prose will not only keep readers turning the pages but also paints a real and believable portrait of the connections, alliances, and sacrifices that underpin rural, small-town life in Henbane." (Library Journal)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Weighty Hype Unfulfilled

Lila came to Henbane under duplicitous circumstances, disappearing from a seemingly happy life. Present day daughter Lucy searches for clues to her friend's murder and mother's past. The characters in this backwoods, gritty story are well drawn out and McHugh's writing style is fluid and easy. The first 3/4 of the book kept my attention and enjoyed the narrator for Lila (Shanon McManus?). Lucy's story was mildly immature and didn't care for the narrator's voice. While waiting for the final big reveal, the book ended. Oops, hate it when that happens. Found this entertaining, but cannot hold a candle to "Winter's Bone".
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- FanB14 "Short, Simple, No Spoilers"

Poor Man's "Winters Bone"

Based on the reviews I thought this would be good. It's average at best. I don't see the hype about Ozarks as this could have been anywhere. Performance was so-so. I wouldn't recommend unless this was drastically on sale.
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- Jbug "ShootingFish"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-11-2014
  • Publisher: Random House Audio