Friday, August 26, 2016

The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh

First Sentence:  That Cheri Stoddard was found at all was the thing that set people on edge, even more so than the condition of her body.
Lucy Dane’s friend has been found murdered and dismembered.  This is the second person Lucy has lost; the first being her mother who vanished years ago from Henbane, in the Ozark Mountains.  Her search for answers leads her to dark, family secrets and grave danger.
There's nothing better than an author with a real story-teller’s voice, and McHugh has that. She doesn't just describe, she makes you see--and feel, and make us consider things for ourselves.
The first chapter really draws the reader in.  The second chapter has one even more intrigued. Although it can be confusing to have a story told from multiple points of view; that is not the case here, as each chapter clearly indicates the narrator.  However, there is an initial confusion related to two of the characters which was quite cleverly done, and only makes the story more compelling.
McHugh perfectly conveys the atmosphere of a very small, Ozark community, or any small community, where everyone knows everyone else’s' business and superstitions are part of life. "If I didn't find out what had happened to her, she would always be drifting somewhere in the ether, a life that never quite materialized."
There is a very good, nasty twist and something is made clear that wasn't quite--or this reader completely missed it—and there is a very good build up of tension.  However, there are also a few too many TSTL (too stupid to live) moments, and a climax that was rather cliché.     
The Weight of Blood,” is not perfect, but it is definitely a book you don't want to stop reading once you've started.  

The Weight of Blood (Susp-Lucy/Lila Dane_Henbane, MO_Contemp) - Good
      McHugh, Laura – 1st book
      Random House, March 2014

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