Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Weight of Blood” as Want to Read:
The Weight of Blood
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Weight of Blood

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  12,761 ratings  ·  1,712 reviews
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 kee
Hardcover, 302 pages
Published March 11th 2014 by Spiegel & Grau (first published 2014)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Weight of Blood, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Kris Mystery - certainly not horror - and although billed as similar to Gillian Flynn is NOT... its a simple read and disappointing

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Shelby *wants some flying monkeys*
Set in the fictional town of Henbane in the Ozark Mountains this story could be billed as girl hick lit.

NOOOO! Not the Honey Boo Boo version..more like this:

Lucy Dane's slow minded friend Cheri had gone missing, now she has turned up in pieces and Lucy is one of the few in town that cares what happened to her.
I remember when Cheri's body turned up in the tree: the ways I had failed her. Like how I'd been her best friend but she wasn't mine. How I'd worried something bad might have happened wh
3.5 stars, actually...

without even consciously trying to, i have read seven books so far this year, and all of them have been by women. take that, patriarchy! but don't start raising me on the shoulders of feminism just yet, because what i am about to say will probably cause you to throw me into the gutter, and i would rather avoid the bruising.

this book is a women's version of grit lit.

but hold up! by saying this i am in no way saying it is inferior to the novels in the mostly male-author domi
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

“For fans of Gillian Flynn . . .”

Commercial Photography

Seriously. Just stop it.

Commercial Photography

Right. NO ONE likes this. It makes me feel all . . .

Commercial Photography


In this case (like most) it isn’t even true. Now, I am admittedly a drinker of the Flynn Kool-Aid. I think she kind of shits the bed when it comes to her endings, but she provides a wild ride for 99% of the story, so I have been forgiving. McHugh’s writing on the other hand . . . What can I even call it? Grit lit? Hi
It is interesting to live in the area in which a story is set. Although Henbane is a fictional town in Missouri, Springfield is real and is my own personal stompin' grounds. Branson is within spittin' distance. Both are mentioned several times in The Weight of Blood. The author captures the tone, the feel, and the landscape of the Ozarks quite well. Clear blue skies, the humidity of the summers (like living in a sponge), and the year round threat of tornadoes are all touched upon in this novel.


The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh .

A well written and suspenseful novel and a coming of age story dealing with the mystery of two women one who is murdered and the other who disappeared and both a generation apart.
The story about the two women is told in alternation chapters in two different time frames and yet this works very well for this book and the author keeps the story flowing with enough suspense to keep the reader interested and turning those pages.

This is a debut novel by Laura McHu
Karin Slaughter
Excellent stuff. I loved this book so much that I decided to publish it under my imprint in Holland. I've always been fascinated by the Ozarks and how people survive the hard life the mountains have laid out for them. When people talk about poverty in America, they tend to mean the inner cities, but there are folks in Appalachia who don't have running water in their homes. It's an awful existence for some, though thankfully not all. This is a great story well told. I highly recommend.
Diane S.✨
Told in alternating chapters by different voices this is a very dark story set in the Ozarks. Lucy grew up never knowing what happened to her mother but when a friend of hers goes messing she sets out to find answers and what she dines brings the truth back into her own family.

A solid suspenseful and atmospheric debut. A novel exploring the ties of blood and exactly how much one will do for family. A fast moving novel that reveals secrets kept and crimes hidden. How much does one really know abo
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Release Date: March 11, 2014
I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Weight of Blood is a dual-narrative story separated by decades with a startling likeness to one another. Lucy is struggling to deal with the death of her friend, Cheri, after her body was found in a creek. She had been missing for a year previous to the discovery and her body shows the signs
Thank you Random House for the privilege of reading this advance copy of Weight of Blood due to be published this March.

What immediately struck me and whetted my interest to read this book was its title Weight of Blood. The images this evokes are intriguing. Does it mean the true heaviness of blood, the heaviness of blood on your hands if you kill someone or is it referring to blood as in blood relatives? I think the author meant one of these and as you read you'll see how the reference fits bu
3.5 stars rounded up to 4
Henbane is a small impoverished rural town in the Ozarks where people seem to take justice in their own hands, and crime is overlooked. The ineffectual members of the police force are probably related to almost everyone in town. Lila, an orphan from Iowa who had just aged out of Social Services, was hired by Crete Dane to work at his farm and store. Fascinated by the exotically beautiful outsider, townspeople were soon spreading rumors that Lila was a witch. With no one
The problem with reading multiple books at once is that one always wins out, and as a direct consequence, the others often get abandoned altogether. I have a difficult time finishing a book after I've left it because I've usually forgotten half of the characters' names, become distanced from the plot, or had some shiny, new book catch my eye. I mention this not because I almost neglected to finish this novel, but because it was the one that I devoured in 2 days during little chunks of free time ...more

Is it just me or does Lucy seem unable to react to what is happening around her.

She finds her uncle is (view spoiler) and yet she doesn't react like it's something out of the ordinary. From her reaction you'd think it was a common occurrence in her town to (view spoiler)

Apart from that:
(view spoiler)
"You grow up feeling the weight of blood, of family. There's no forsaking kin. But you can't help when kin forsakes you or when strangers come to be family"

Deep in the Ozark Mountains, in the town of Henbane, there are many secrets and very few answers. The majority of the book focuses on a sixteen-year-old girl named Lucy Bane. She is sometimes treated as an outsider in her close knit community, even though she was born there. It is because of her mother that she is treated so differently.

Diane Barnes
I started this one as an audio book, but about 2/3 of the way through I had to switch to the written version because I can read faster than audio can read to me. The novel had progressed to the point that I was too impatient to know what happened. This is a very good first novel set in a small town in the Ozarks, where strangers are looked upon with suspicion. There are multiple narrators, and it jumps back and forth in time periods, which built suspense with little bits of information for the r ...more
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

This is an astonishing book, brilliantly written and both engaging and disturbing at the same time. I was truly lost in the story reading this, unaware of the world around me. I was right there, in the book.

This is one of those books that you can't write too much about without giving it all away. The book takes you towards it's reveal and outcomes whilst you hold your breath still wondering w
Laura McHugh's powerful novel is being compared to those of Gillian Flynn and Daniel Woodrell. McHugh uses the same rural Ozark environment as Woodrell. If it isn't as depressingly steeped in meth and nihilism as Woodrell, it isn't for lack of trying. But McHugh's writing style clings more to the dysfunctional lifestyle narrations of Gillian Flynn. She even uses a alternating first person narrative as seen in Gone Girl at least for the first third of it when she then spices it up with other char ...more
Reading this book, the title quickly started to make sense: The people of Henbane, a rural area in the Ozark Mountains, seem to be bound together by the weight of blood - the blood on their hands as well as the blood that ties them.

Laura McHugh's novel is narrated by two main voices - Lila and Lucy - which run parallel at first, without a sense of connection other than that of the place they are in. Only a few chapters in does McHugh reveal their tie and when she does, she drops it almost in pas
(view spoiler) ...more
Ned Mozier
This was a cleanly written, simple story that evokes the emotions of young girls exploited by older men. A daughter whose mother mysteriously disappeared is sought 15 years after the fact. The story unfolds cleverly, told from all the characters’ point of view in separate chapters. It took me a little time to figure out the time change (mother vs daughter) but once I caught on the story was riveting and I found myself reading quickly. The prose was not spectacular or particularly illuminating, b ...more
Review to come,loved this book.
I am absolutely and positively in love with this book....with its story, its setting, its characters...and despite the fact that the "I'm so high on this book let me rave about it right away" version of my review got carried into oblivion by the magical forces of my Firefox, my initial literary infatuation has not diminished one bit in the meantime...

I find it a bit amusing that most debut books in this genre get compared to Gillian Flynn - I am assuming in the attempt to stir the readers of Gon
This is an exciting book, a good story of life in a very small town in the Ozark region of Missouri where a teenaged girl finds herself caught in the midst of multiple mysteries involving her family and missing girls. The most important missing person is her own mother who disappeared when she was still only an an infant. Her mother left for an errand one day and never returned. Rumor said she was a witch. Rumor said she killed herself. The girl, Lucy, only knows she misses the mother she never ...more
An impressive, captivating and thrilling debut novel! The author's magnetic words pull you in from the first page. Once you start you will not want to put this book down!

Laura McHugh moves gracefully from past to present as she tells a deliciously suspenseful adventure. The characters are believable and I enjoyed that the reader experienced the story via different character voices. I was totally blown away when I finally discovered what this story was "really" about. Kudos to Ms. McHugh on a fan
Hilarious that at times this reminded me of daniel Woodrell's writing and I read the description and it specifically said you might enjoy if you like his writing. I loved this book. It was intense and disturbing and gritty all in one book. I loved how you jump back and forth between narrators to tell the story. This is such a quick read because it's so hard to put down. If you liked the book Winter's Bone I recommend this book as well. It's in the same vain.
ARC for review.

This debut novel has all the atmosphere of great Southern literature - the humidity, the mixture of "ripeness and rot," that sense of the slightly mystical, that everything is just on the edge of magic (and whether it's white or black is unclear), the slow-moving river (there's always a river) that mirrors the languid nature of the people.

The mystery here unravels in the same way and as a result it's a little more muted that the horrific events warrant: Lucy is a 17 year old gir
I know I am going to take a little heat from folks who scored this book higher....I get that. I am rating a 2 star as the Goodreads Gods say 2 stars means "it was OK". In truth, there needs to be a 2.5, but I can't quite get to "I liked it". Several readers probably will, and it is fine for what it is, but my rating probably follows the "what it isn't". Let me attempt to explain:

1) In terms of a mystery with a fairly good amount of suspense- this book fits the bill fine. I did like the back and
...I was starting to think you were one kind of person until a situation arose that required you to be something else.

This is a coming of age story wrapped up in a family mystery. In the town of Henbane, teenager Lucy Dane has grown up without a mother. Lila disappeared when Lucy was just a baby, and rumours say that Lila killed herself. When Lucy's friend Cheri is murdered and her killer never found, Lucy begins a search for the truth that will link Cheri's murderer to dark secrets within he
That was a HEAVY HEAVY book. Wow.

It is books like this that make me suspect every person I meet to be a murderer, rapist, child abuser or some other horrendous thing because it seems like everyone has a secret to hide in this devil of a town.

The spiny ridge of Devil's Backbone, the bottomless gorge of Devil's Throat, the spring bubbling forth from the Devil's Eye- his very anatomy worked into the grit of the landscape.

The book is split between two main points of view. Lila an orphan who comes to
Liz Wilkins
Coming March 2014 from Random House Publishing Group.

Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy via netgalley

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.

I love books like this…great storytelling, paced to perfection, with an atmospheric, rolling sty
'There's no forsaking kin. But you can't help when kin forsake you or when strangers come to be family'... I think this quote does a great job in describing the feelings of this novel!!! It was fast paced and I really liked the different points of view it was told through!!! Very good debut novel!!!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • Death of a Nightingale (Nina Borg, #3)
  • Crime of Privilege
  • One of Us
  • Precious Thing
  • The Circle of Thirteen
  • I Love You More
  • The Longings of Wayward Girls
  • Deadly Diamonds
  • The Devil in Her Way: A Novel
  • The Shut Eye
  • A Dangerous Fiction: A Mystery
  • Gemini
  • This Dark Road to Mercy
  • The Innocent Sleep
  • The Burn Palace
  • A Circle of Wives
  • The Ways of the Dead: A Novel
  • A Killing in the Hills  (Bell Elkins, #1)
Facebook author page: Laura McHugh

Laura McHugh is the author of the novel The Weight of Blood (Spiegel & Grau, 2014). McHugh lives in Missouri with her husband, children, and large furry dog.
More about Laura McHugh...
Untitled 1 Untitled 1

Share This Book

“ mom always telling me that a man with clean nails hides his dirt on the inside.” 13 likes
“You grow up feeling the weight of blood, of family. There's no forsaking kin. But you can't help when kin forsakes you or when strangers come to be family.” 9 likes
More quotes…