Lucy Dane has always been considered an outsider in the small Ozark mountain town of Henbane. Looked upon as the child of a mystical woman who came to town years ago, never fit in, and disappeared, Lucy has carried the weight of not knowing and not belonging her whole life. The question of what happened to Lucy’s mother was “the biggest mystery in town” until after a year-long disappearance, the body of Lucy’s friend, Cheri, is discovered. The two disappearances haunt Lucy and she begins her search for the truth. Even though “[i]t was common knowledge that in the hills, with infinite hiding places, bodies disappeared. They were fed to hogs or buried in the woods or dropped into abandoned wells,” Lucy discovers that this sleepy small town harbors undetected horrors. Finding Cheri’s necklace in an abandoned trailer on her uncle’s land nudges Lucy to begin investigating, believing there is a connection between Cheri’s death and her mother’s disappearance. All too quickly Lucy begins to realizes “it was easy for girls like Cheri…to slip away, to vanish, without anyone asking questions.” As her suspicions begin to zero in on her uncle, she must ask herself who she can turn to for help. In a town like Henbane, everyone knows everyone and even the town lawyer warns Lucy that “the sheriff and his boys are related to hundreds of people here in the county, and if you’re making accusations against their kin, they might not take it so well…You’ve got to be sure you can trust whomever you’re telling, that it won’t come back on you.” Faced with the choice of saving a stranger or protecting a family member, Lucy must weigh her options and her loyalties.
This debut novel by author Laura McHugh will draw you into its web of haunting landscapes and characters in a style similar to Gillian Flynn.
Title: The Weight of Blood
Author: Laura McHugh
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
Publication Date: March 11, 2014
Number of pages: 320
Goodreads Author Page: Goodreads.com/author/show/7177796.Laura_McHugh
Facebook Page: Facebook.com/lauramchughauthor
Read the first chapter and order the book here: https://foxtalebookshoppe.mybooksandmore.com/web1/actions/searchHandler.do?key=0013629250&nextPage=booksDetails&parentNum=11484&itemNum=ITEM:1
Additional Suggestions: If you like this novel, you may also like “Deep Winter” by Samuel W. Gailey and “Until You’re Mine” by Samantha Hayes.
Rhiannon Bankes-Johnson is a freelance writer and book blogger (IvoryOwlReviews.blogspot.com) based in the Atlanta suburbs. She is currently at work on her first novel.
Photos ( Laura McHugh, cover of “The Weight of Blood,” Rhiannon Bankes-Johnson)