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The Wolf Wants In

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  1,962 ratings  ·  418 reviews
In a small town ravaged by the opioid crisis, a woman confronts a dark secret about her brother's shocking death--a gripping novel of suspense for fans of Sharp Objects and S-Town.

Sadie Keller is determined to find out how her brother died, even if no one else thinks it's worth investigating. Untimely deaths are all too common in rural Blackwater, Kansas, where crime and o
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published August 6th 2019 by Random House
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Average rating 3.68  · 
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The Wolf Wants in by Laura McHugh is a 2019 Spiegel & Grau publication.

Engrossing and densely atmospheric!

Sadie Keller can’t reconcile her brother’s untimely death with his official cause of death.

Determined to find answers, Sadie is met by one brick wall after another, especially when she tries to confront her brother’s widow.

Meanwhile, young Henley Pettit dreams of leaving Blackwater, Kansas before she winds up like the rest of her family. As Sadie Keller presses for details about her brot
Chelsea Humphrey
May 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Atmospheric, emotional, and compelling, I found The Wolf Wants In to be a story full of heartbreak and hope. Laura McHugh has woven together a narrative that is equal parts suspenseful mystery and moving study of poverty and the effects it has on those drowning in its grasp. Highly recommended for readers who love gritty literature with unique characters.

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy via NetGalley.
Diane S ☔
Aug 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: lor-2019
3.5 Not sure I would consider this a thriller per say. There are deaths but they result from the actions of the forces at work in this small Kansas town. The force being the opiod crisis which has affected many in towns all over the US. A once prominent town, now so store fronts boarded up, houses needing repair and drugs prevalent. The story is told by two women, Sadie, who wants to know how her brother died, and Henley, who wants desperately to leave town. Her mother regularly disappears into ...more
Katie B
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

This is not the type of book you read when you are looking for something light and easy. It's a pretty depressing read which isn't surprising because it deals with tough issues like grief, addiction, and divorce to name a few. It's almost like the town constantly has a cloud over it and the only way to get some sun is to hitch a ride out of there. So much sadness and pain. Life isn't all sunshine and roses though and this book does a good job in reflecting that reality.

The story takes
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

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Wow, I don't think I've been on a good book streak that lasted this long in a while! When I picked this up I had my doubts, because so many thrillers try to play the "just like Gillian Flynn" card and fail to measure up 9 times out of 10. Lucky for me, THE WOLF WANTS IN is the 1 book out of 10 that reaches the bar.

Told in dual POVs, THE WOLF WANTS IN is about two women: Sadie is a middle-aged mom, divorced, whose brother Shane has just
Diana | Book of Secrets
3.75 Stars → THE WOLF WANTS IN is a quiet mystery/family drama set in a small Kansas town. Sadie Keller believes her brother has died under suspicious circumstances and wants answers. At the same time police are investigating the discovery of a child's skull found in the woods. Henley Pettit is just looking for a way out of Blackwater, a town of people plagued by the opioid epidemic, including her mother.

I very much enjoy Laura McHugh's writing style and the way she crafts her atmospheric Midwe
Aug 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
If you call one wolf, you invite the pack.

The Wolf Wants In casts the shadow of the lone wolf poised at the door. You know he's there. It's just a matter of time before he breaks through that screen and is followed by many, many others. Each has its own particular weight of unquenchable hunger in which it's not satisfied until it consumes every living thing.

Sadie Keller carries a burden. A gut-wrenching burden of trying to discover what exactly happened to her brother Shane. He was found dead on
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
reviewed for l.a. review of books, scheduled to run 10/11.


come to my blog!
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a very strong work of fiction. I thought it was going to be a lot darker and I’m so glad it wasn’t! Don't get me wrong, this still deals with some very heavy topics (the opioid crisis, a small town community being left behind, etc.), but thanks to the previous book I read, I was in the right headspace for this.

I'm glad to have read this for a couple of reasons: 1) I try and make an effort to read books that will provide an alternative view to what I have experienced 2) I had never heard
Dec 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: public-library
In the small rural town of Blackwater, Kansas, the murmurings of the cornstalks keep their own counsel.  There are secrets here that beg to be uncovered.  The strength of family stands tall, whether the intentions are righteous or selfish.  Some here bear the weight of addiction, others are riddled with guilt for trespasses committed by them years ago.  The skull of a child is found, then the bones of an adult, and now there is an unexpected death of a beloved brother, all bringing questions to ...more
Jun 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Not quite as much of a "thriller" as I thought

I don't think "gripping novel of suspense" or "thriller" are totally accurate descriptions of The Wolf Wants In. (These words were included in the publisher's blurb as of 6/19/2019.) These elements didn't appear much until roughly the 60% mark. Around then, we finally buckle down on trying to solve the murders in this town.

Because McHugh focuses on weaving the characters' stories together and explaining how they are connected, The Wolf Wants In is m
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
McHugh fuels her tale with the sort of stark bleakness that charged Springsteen’s Nebraska album. Blackwater is a country town somewhere outside of Kansas City and the teens don’t know what they want but they want out. It’s a desolate country filled with opioid addicts, debt lenders, broken marriages, and broken people.

Told through narrative voices of a woman Sadie and a teenage girl whose paths meander near each other. Sadie’s brother died from a seeming heart attack but she’s suspicious of hi
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This story of life and death in a small Kansas town has many of the hallmarks of life all over the country in recent years especially in the influence of drugs and crime, but its atmosphere is specific to its place, people and geography. I’ve read McHugh before and she brings out the heart and soul, the good and bad of her characters as well as the tempered beauty and and growing poverty of this area left behind in our “new” economy.

In Blackwater Kansas, two women, one a young mother, the other
Aug 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle, netgalley
Thanks to Netgalley and Random House Publishing for granting my wish.

A sister who wants answers. A teenager that wants to break the addiction cycle in her family.

Upon finishing this book, I read an online review which states that the book is very personal to the author. I wish that I could have connected more with this story because the topic was very relevant. I didn't really see the thriller label as being very strong here.

Goodreads review published 03/08/19
Publication date 06/08/19
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Jun 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
The rural town of Blackwater, Kansas is in crisis: with few job prospects, the kids will do anything to get out and those who don't usually meet an untimely end at the bottom of a pill bottle.

Sadie Keller refuses to believe her brother Shane, only in his thirties, died of natural causes.  Crystle, Shane's wife of one year, doesn't seem too devastated over her husband's death and isn't interested in looking further into his death.

The town is consumed by the discovery of the remains of a missing c
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
First off, I won this as a goodreads giveaway. Thank you Penguin Random House and Spiegel & Grau for sending it to me.

This book was a trill ride from the get go. I wanted to finish it in one sitting, but had to do it in three.

It is a family drama chock full of the unexpected. This one is sure to hit big and hopefully win some awards.
Linda Strong
Sadie Keller wants answers. Her brother was found on the floor, dead. Powers that be have stated that the man died from a drug overdose ... the leading cause of death in this small town in Kansas. The man's wife began selling or destroying his things almost immediately after his death. She's refused to allow an autopsy. She refuses to release his medical records to his sisters and mother.

She wants the police to look into her brother's death, but they, too, have their hands full. A divorced man
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thanks to Random House #partner for gifting me a copy of The Wolf Wants In by Laura McHuge! I read this one pretty quickly as it was an enjoyable, fast read. I would say it was a slow burn mystery and somewhat predictable but I still liked it!

I love a story with more than one POV and we get two here. Small town, drugs, and secrets. Yes please! 4 ⭐️
Sometimes I foolishly put off reading a book because I think it sounds “too smart” or something for me. I made that mistake with The Wolf Wants In, and I was such an idiot! This was such a wonderful, well-written psychological thriller. I don’t know what I was thinking!

Wolf is told from the perspectives of Sadie and Henley, who both live in the same small Kansas town. Sadie has recently lost her brother, Shane, and she’s looking for answers about how he died—even if no one else seems too concern
The Wolf Wants In is a fast paced, family-drama, in a community wrecked by drugs and poverty. Laura McHugh crafts a realistic mystery that is reminiscent of some of Mindy Mejia's works. This book really takes you on a journey of a world of desperation and drug abuse and you can definitely finish it in one sitting. I'm curious to see what else this author has up her sleeve. ...more
Alison Hardtmann
Jun 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
When Sadie's brother, Shane, dies of a opioid overdose, Sadie's family is both confused and suspicious. Shane would never have committed suicide, which is what the police think, and Shane's wife is acting oddly. So Sadie starts looking around. Haley is a part of the Pettit family, a long line of petty criminals and drug addicts. She's so eager to leave the small town of Blackwater, Kansas, where everyone knows exactly who her family is and her mother has drifted back into addiction. She just nee ...more
Anna W.
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another wonderful book to add to McHugh's canon. The Wolf Wants In delves into the opioid epidemic ravaging the United States, even small towns like Blackwater in the Midwest. While not a "beach read," this book will hook readers from all genres with its mysterious characters, clever plot turns, and realistic setting.

Being a Midwesterner myself, the setting is very well done. McHugh adds in details that most of us in the area know (and silently judge), which adds credibility to her plot.

The en
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Wolf Wants In is a powerful read. The opioid crisis is only one part of the story. It's also about grief, hopelessness, poverty and family ties. Honesty, it's sad and a bit depressing, but it's still a worthwhile investment of your time. Just know that the material in this story is heavy and relevant. Told in two perspectives, these eventually tie together for a dramatic ending that will stay with you for days. It's thought provoking and chilling in the best way to engage readers with the na ...more
Jamie Rosenblit
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
4.5 stars

Dark, gritty & fiercely honest. ⁣

Laura McHugh knocked it out the park with The Wolf Wants In. A suspicious death set in the heart of the opioid crisis in small town America - this novel reads as if it was ripped straight from the headlines. Smart, thought provoking and just how close to reality it is will startle you. ⁣

Thank you to Random House Spiegel & Grau for an advanced copy. All opinions are my own
Kasa Cotugno
This novel looks not only at how the opioid infestation affects a person caught up in it and their family, but how it can be used to manipulate. Life in a small Kansas town, generally regarded as a backwater by its inhabitants who all dream of escape to different places and lives. There is such a strong depiction of time and place, fine descriptions that make a reader who's never been anywhere near rural Kansas envision the location clearly. Two connected story arcs each with its own female prot ...more
Mindy Mejia
If you’re looking for a writer who understands Midwestern life from the grand scales of economic and social contracts down to its tiniest customs and stoic beauty, look no further. Laura McHugh is the queen of the haunted heartland. In THE WOLF WANTS IN, one woman investigates her brother’s death while another tries to escape their opioid-ravaged rural Kansas town. Every scene simmers with hope and dread, making it impossible to rest until I knew these characters’ fates. An absolute must-read.
Aug 18, 2019 rated it liked it
This book had me embedded within about 50 pages. I thought it held the Kansas countryside topography- beyond the Kansas City suburbs quite well. And I was 4 star interested until past the half way point.

Then I wasn't. Why? Henley was well developed, as was Sadie- the two prime narrators. But to me, it's as if they seemed to both lose about 35 IQ points in the second half of the book. So much that was obvious as the reader, just didn't seem central to their posits or thinking much at all. And som
Terri Wino
I won a copy of this book from the publisher through a Goodreads giveaway. Thank you to both.

A dark but compelling story told alternately to the reader by Sadie, who is searching for answers in the death of her brother, and Henley, who is trying to get out from under the dark cloud of her family's history and her mother's addiction.

This book tells of events starting in July through the end of the year, but there is a bit of jumping back and forth in the time line of events, so if you're not pay
Hannah Mary McKinnon
With one woman’s quest to find out what really happened to her brother, and another who’s desperate to leave the small, drug-fueled town, in The Wolf Wants In , Laura McHugh expertly paints a stark and haunting picture, filled with tragedy and tenderness. Poignant, atmospheric and utterly captivating, this novel, and its characters, will stay with me for a long time.

Many thanks to Laura McHugh, NetGalley and Spiegel & Grau for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
Aug 29, 2019 rated it liked it
This is one of those books in which I completely loved the characters, but was bored by the plot.

Really, I didn't care about the brother and if he was murdered or not.

I honestly found the plot just a bit plodding for my taste.

I do think that other readers my appreciate the way the story is slowly told, but it simply wasn't for me.
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Goodreads Librari...: Please add page count ASIN B07VH1Q8Y4 2 9 Aug 29, 2019 10:49AM  
ACPL Online Book ...: Wolves of Kansas 1 6 Aug 06, 2019 02:41PM  

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Laura McHugh's debut novel, The Weight of Blood, won an International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel, a Silver Falchion Award for Best First Novel: Literary Suspense, and the Missouri Author Award for Fiction. It was also nominated for an Alex Award, Barry Award, and GoodReads Choice Award (Best Mystery and Best Debut). Arrowood was an international bestseller and a finalist for the I ...more

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