The Weight of Blood: A Novel
by Laura McHugh
Hardcover- N/A

For fans of Gillian Flynn, Scott Smith, and Daniel Woodrell comes a gripping, suspenseful novel about two mysterious disappearances a ...

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  "Weight of Blood Lacked a Few Pounds" by nbaker (see profile) 02/18/14

Two stories, two women, two generations, one Ozark country town full of secrets and there you have the premise for The Weight of Blood. Enter Lila, whose parents were killed, grandparents die and she is left in the circle of foster homes until she lands a job in a backwoods Ozark town where neighbors aren’t always as they seem and friendship is just a fascade, not an act of kindness. Skip forward to Lucy (Lila's daughter) who is being raised by her father after the mysterious disappearance of her mother many years ago. Also missing is a distant friend of Lucy’s, Cheri, who disappeared nearly a year ago. Cheri was one seam short of normal so her disappearance caught little attention of the community. Lucy is not only looking for clues for her missing friend but feeling a pull to learn more of her own mother and her disappearance. Townspeople are of little help, family even less forthcoming and she feels she is being told what they want her to hear. The mutilated body of Cheri is finally discovered in the hollow of a tree and the mystery intensifies. Playing amateur sleuth, Lucy and a couple of friends set out on their own investigation only to find themselves deeper in the muck and mire of deceit. While I felt the story had some credible possibilities, I was disappointed by the length of cover-ups the townspeople and family used to absolve themselves at any cost – even if it meant the physical or mental destruction of others. Without giving away the premise of the story, or the ending, I just found some characters unbelievable – if not downright blind. My takeaway from the book was that it was a story of abandonment – whether intentional or unintentional. Lila was abandoned by her family, later by a farmer woman and her employer. Lucy was abandoned by her mother, her father who was away trying to provide for her and by people who wouldn’t speak the truth to her about her mom. Even Cheri was abandoned by her own mother and the townspeople who found her to be different than the norm. Suffice it to say that The Weight of Water sat heavy on my heart once the story ended. A dark story with little redemption and what there is comes a bit too late with little consolation.

 
  "THE WEIGHT OF BLOOD by Laura McHugh" by mistyviolet (see profile) 02/25/14

THE WEIGHT OF BLOOD concerns what happens when family loyalty blinds one member to the oddities, questions and inconsistencies of another member; when love for a brother leads one to cover up misdeeds in the name of family and to continue for years never admitting the half truths that abound.
This thriller by Laura McHugh starts out mildly unsettling and ratchets up as the pages turn. Carl and Clete are brothers who both fall for the same girl, Lila, an orphan who comes to the Ozarks for work and finds love. After marrying Carl, Lila has a daughter Lucy, who is loved by both her father and her uncle. In short order a town girl disappears and her body is found dismembered and stuffed in a tree. Lila, considered an outsider and perhaps a witch, disappears soon after. The story continues 16 years later with Lila’s daughter and increasing tension between the brothers and in the town.
McHugh does a good job with tension and atmosphere, characterization and ordinariness as the story deepens into horror. Some readers may be disturbed by the subtext of white slavery. Book groups will discuss family secrets, loyalty, the pull of neighborliness, mental handicaps, privacy and small town morals topics for discussion.
4 of 5 stars

 
  "This is a page turner for the beach!" by thewanderingjew (see profile) 06/01/14

This was a really good audiobook. I listened to it in just about one day. There were several different readers, and they all did their parts well. The author has created an atmosphere of mystery and suspense, capturing the reader’s interest from the get-go. The only problem was that it took me awhile to figure out that there were two stories being told concurrently, in two different time frames, about 18 years apart, with some characters appearing in both. Lila and her daughter Lucy are the main characters, and they are both naïve, but romantic, young women.
The background story is about Lila Petrovich, a naive orphan from Iowa. Her once idyllic life, on a farm, ended when her parents were killed in a car crash. She was sent to foster homes from the time she was 12, but at 18, she aged out of the system and took a job in Henbane, Missouri, in the Ozark Mountains, working for the Dane family at their restaurant and doing odd jobs as needed in the slow season. Henbane is also a poisonous plant that is sometimes used medicinally. Lila was to be provided with room and board, as well as a salary. She has no other options in life, so she takes the job, hoping to save some money so she can take an apartment and one day support herself. She knows very little about her employer or her responsibilities.
Crete and Carl Dane are brothers, ten years apart, bound by blood to protect each other. The Dane family was once the town’s gravediggers, but in the small town, there was no longer a great need for grave-digging. The farm was left to the older brother, Crete. Carl works in construction. Their mom is in a nursing home, suffering from some mental decline.
Crete seems nice at first, but soon he becomes a bit more overwhelming. Carl is the softer of the brothers. There are other people working on the property. One is a woman called Ransome, who tends the farm and who also lives in a cottage on the property. Another is Gabby who trains Lila at the restaurant/gas station and becomes her friend. Lila falls in love and marries Carl. Her child is named Lucy. One day, when she is 20, Lila goes off, disappears and is never found. Carl is overcome with grief and begins to drink. Others take care of Lucy in the interim. Stories grow up about Lila’s disappearance. She is often referred to as a kind of a witch. She was beautiful and people were somehow drawn to her, therefore thinking she had powers.
Lucy, Lila’s daughter, was only a baby when her mother disappeared. She grows up in Henbane. It is a small town (created by the author), and there are no secrets there, except those they want to keep. At 18, she too goes to work for Uncle Crete. Carl Dane is her father. Also working for her uncle is a boy named Dan. She remembers him fondly from a game of spin the bottle when they were kids. Their friendship grows as they work together.
There is a girl Cheri, who also lives in Henbane. She and Lucy are sort of friends. Bess is also Lucy’s friend. Bess is Gabby’s daughter. The different generations are connected. Cheri is a bit slow, not quite right, but Lucy and Cheri laugh together. Cheri has no home life. Her mom is a single mother unable to handle the responsibility of her family. One day, Cheri disappears. Her mom thinks she ran away. When her body is discovered, this once ignored child becomes a celebrity with townspeople who claim a connection to her, although they formerly ignored her. Lucy decides to try and solve the murder mystery and also the mystery of her mother’s disappearance. With Dan, she explores different possibilities and discovers little clues in unexpected places.
The story moves along quickly and tension is created on almost every page, but not the kind that raises your blood pressure, rather the kind that raises your curiosity. Even the gruesome details do not seem to rise to the horrific heights of some murder mysteries, and that to me was a good thing.
The story goes back and forth between Lila’s and Lucy’s stories and sometimes, when a different character is featured, it gets a little confusing. I actually made some notes to connect certain characters and their lineage, but although it was sometimes disorienting, it was never overwhelming.
The book is a good vacation read. It is not going to tax your brain, but it is not going to lull you to sleep either. There are a slew of characters, and they play their parts well. I think this book could be a crossover from adult to young adult since the main characters are both around 18 years old. There are some gruesome scenes of violence, and there is some graphic sex, but it is minimal. Enjoy the read!

 
  "Lots to talk about" by jomorrissey (see profile) 06/16/14

This was a relatively quick read. Most enjoyed it - thought it would make a great movie. The question list created a lot of discussion; not necessarily deep & meaningful, but lots to discuss nonetheless.

 
  "" by Lisabis (see profile) 07/28/14

 
  "The Weight of Blood" by Lilnet (see profile) 09/10/14

Thought this book was well written, the characters were well developed...the author did a great job of creating a compelling story..while leaving the reader to draw some of their own conclusions!

 
  "" by Lavandier2 (see profile) 09/10/14

 
  "The Weight of Blood" by sycrook1 (see profile) 09/10/14

The story line is engrossing. It is well written and Ms. McHugh effectively shifts from first person of the two main female characters, Lucy and Lila, to third person for the rest of the cast. The topic causes one to think about a sordid issue that continues in our culture.

 
  "" by Littlepage (see profile) 02/18/15

 
  "The Weight of Blood" by Bak8382 (see profile) 03/21/16

Mystery has surrounded Lucy's life from almost the moment she was born. Her mother was a newcomer to their small Ozark town when she married Lucy's father. Then right after Lucy's 1st birthday her mother disappears without a trace. Now 17 Lucy's interest in her mother's disappearance takes on new urgency when a local girl's body is found a year after she went missing. Lucy begins to investigate the murder, and as she digs deeper her whole world is upended.

The novel is told in alternating chapters mostly by Lucy and flashback chapters from her mother's point of view. The rest of the chapters are told from several other character's points of view. While what happened to Lucy's mother was predictable I did not see the present day killer coming. The conclusion is not entirely satisfying, but the reader is left knowing almost everything that happened. Lucy, on the other hand, knows barely more than she did before. According to an author interview I read this story was loosely based on a real crime in her hometown.

 
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  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 08/13/19

Air plane read

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