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The Wolf Wants In

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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 overdoses are on the rise, and the small-town police force is consumed with the recent discovery of a child's skull in the woods. Sadie is on her own, delving into the dark corners of a life her brother kept hidden and unearthing more questions than answers.

Eighteen-year-old Henley Pettit knows more than she'd like to about the seedy side of Blackwater, and she's desperate to escape before she's irreparably entangled in her family's crimes. She dreams of disappearing and leaving her old life behind, but shedding the past is never easy, and getting out of town will be far more dangerous than she ever imagined.

As more bones are found in the woods, time is running out for Sadie to uncover the truth and for Henley to make her escape. Both women are torn between family loyalties and the weight of the secrets they carry, knowing full well that while some secrets are hard to live with, others will get you killed.

Like Laura McHugh's previous award-winning thrillers, The Weight of Blood and Arrowood, The Wolf Wants In is an atmospheric, beautifully told novel that barrels toward a twisting, chilling end and keeps us turning the page to find out how these small-town secrets will unravel--and who will survive.

272 pages, Hardcover

First published August 6, 2019

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About the author

Laura McHugh

7 books1,236 followers
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 International Thriller Writers Award for Best Hardcover Novel, and The Wolf Wants In was one of Library Journal's Best Books of the Year. McHugh's latest novel, What's Done in Darkness, was one of Oprah Daily's Best Beach Reads of 2021, a Self Magazine Best Book of the Year, and Harlan Coben's pick for Best Summer Thriller on the Today Show.

Linktree: Laura McHugh

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 470 reviews
Profile Image for Julie .
4,079 reviews59k followers
September 13, 2019
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 brother’s death, and the search for a young girl who has gone missing intensifies, Henley knows her window of opportunity for escape is rapidly closing.

Sadie and Henley may soon discover they are connected to one another, in ways they never thought possible, as explosive secrets boil hot and the threat of danger hangs over them in a tense, heavy shroud.

Laura McHugh knows how to create a tense atmosphere, while putting the reader right there in the thick of all the drama. The Opioid crisis provides another level of bleakness to the melancholy mood of the story. A mixture of grief, frustration, suspicion, secrets, lies, and politics, are all factors in the desperate search for a missing child, which also exacerbates Sadie’s stress and sense of urgency in finding out the truth about her brother.

The story is dark, and gloomy with very little relief. However, this tone is what makes the story so effective, what creates that emotional intensity that keeps one riveted to the pages, unable or unwilling the put the book down for any length of time. The threads are woven together expertly, drawing everything together for the stunning conclusion.

Although the novel is maybe a little oppressive, it is a well-executed crime drama packed with bittersweet surprises and emotions.

Another win for Laura McHugh!

*Goodreads giveaway
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,483 reviews79k followers
May 19, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,782 reviews14.2k followers
August 23, 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 a life of drugs. There is a house on the hill, owned by the biggest and wealthiest employer in town and his young son. There will soon be two other deaths, one a young child.

The two narrators are fully realized characters, but I had to shake my head at some of their actions. I definitely liked the first part of the book more than the second. Felt that part was tightly plotted, the second half not so much. It quickly appears who the bad guys must be, those at the forefront of the drugs and violence. Maybe there was just a little to much thrown into the mix, though two of the stories do come together. The evil drugs bring, the big bad wolf at the door affecting all in its path, including the innocent.

ARC from Edelweiss.

Profile Image for Katie B.
1,352 reviews3,006 followers
March 4, 2019
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 place in the rural community of Blackwater, Kansas and alternates between the characters of Sadie and Henley. Sadie is grieving the death of her brother and also looking for answers. Henley is eighteen years old and knows the only way she can have a decent future is if she gets away from her family and her godforsaken hometown. But with so many secrets hidden in this town, these two women might never get what they want.

While I liked both of the female main characters, I was drawn more towards Henley and her story. Henley's relationship with her mother was pretty heartbreaking and you could really identify with her longing to seek out a better life. In my opinion she was the heart of the story.

I can't quite put my finger on it but there seemed to be something missing in this story and that's the reason it didn't reach great status and sits just at good level. I guess I was left with a feeling of wanting more, even if I'm not really sure what that is in this case. The only small criticism I can really articulate is I thought the character of Jason was not fully developed.

Overall, a solid read and I do think there is potential for many readers to be able to connect with certain characters or storylines. As grim as the story can be, it is more true to life than many other novels out there.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to read an advance digital copy in exchange for an honest review!
July 20, 2019

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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 died under mysterious circumstances. His wife, Crystle, doesn't seem as upset as a loving wife should, and the local police officer refuses to investigate. Henley is a young eighteen-year-old, and the daughter of an addict who cleans the house of the richest family in town when she's sober. Henley is currently dating the son of the rich guy, and she's also the cousin of Crystle, the wife who doesn't give two snips.

The book is about how their stories intertwine as we learn about a town riddled with drug problems, secrets, and-- maybe-- murder. In addition to Shane, a local man and his daughter were both found dead in the woods, and Sadie gets more and more concerned as she finds links between all of these incidents, even as she struggles to maintain control over the shambles of her own life.

I saw some people saying that this book was pretty depressing and I will be the first to agree this is so. It's a little like J.K. Rowling's CASUAL VACANCY in the sense that it shows people at their worst and nobody is completely good. I personally like books that show realistic portrayals of the sometimes-toxic environment that small towns can breed. Humans are capable of a lot of good, but sometimes they do some pretty horrible things, too. I was impressed by the spectrum of the emotions portrayed in THE WOLF WANTS IN, and how it addresses grief, greed, and ambition.

Both POVs were well done and I liked how they began to intertwine. Around page 200, I did find myself wondering how the story would wrap up when it still seemed so unfinished, but the ending didn't disappoint me. I actually thought it ended on a note of hope: all of our endings are inevitable, but if we're lucky, we get to hold the pen as we decide how the last chapter finishes.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!

4 stars
Profile Image for Diana | Book of Secrets.
798 reviews595 followers
September 5, 2019
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 Midwestern settings. I don't think the mystery & suspense elements in this book were as strong as in her previous novels (The Weight of Blood & Arrowood). There weren't a lot of clues presented until the end, and I was left a bit confused about what happened & why. However, this character-driven book presents a realistic look at how poverty and opioid abuse affects people in small town America.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Linda.
1,289 reviews1,332 followers
August 24, 2019
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 the floor of his ramshackled house. Crystle, his wife of one year, said that he had a bad heart. That was news to Sadie and her family. News travels quickly in the underbelly of Blackwater, Kansas. How appropriate the name. How reflective of the deep, dark secrets that snuffed out any hope in this opioid-laced town.

So Sadie returned from the widow's house with Gravy, the aged and nearly incompacitated dog of Shane's. Ironically, she grabbed the leash. Gravy struggled to stand up. He wasn't making a jail break any time soon. But he was pretty much all she had left of Shane.

Henley Pettit is the voice of the other side of this coin. Her family has been in and out of jail on multiple charges for multiple years......especially her own mother, Missy. Henley wants nothing more than to make a break from Blackwater and everything it stands for. She follows in her mother's footsteps with working odd jobs as a housekeeper. There never seems to be enough money or energy to hit the road.

Questions keep rising to the surface in regard to Shane. It's not until the body of a man and a young girl are found in a field that connections may come to light.

The Wolf Wants In deals with some heavy-duty subject matter. Sadly, it's reality for many families out there today. I became more involved with Sadie's story than with Henley's. Sadie and that ol' dog will turn your head. I was set on 3.5 stars originally, but I ratcheted it up to 4 stars for the author's ability to convey the slam of the deadends in this town. Set this one up for a time when you're open for a serious read. It's all in the breakaway without leaving any tracks behind.
Profile Image for Zoeytron.
1,036 reviews692 followers
December 29, 2019
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 the fore.
Profile Image for Michelle.
637 reviews505 followers
August 8, 2019
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 of this author before 3) After I was granted my "wish" on Netgalley, I wasn't looking forward to reading it because I thought maybe it would be a little too dark for my tastes, but I'm so glad I took a chance because I would have missed out on a great book.

The story is told from two different perspectives, Sadie Keller in the present and Henley Pettit a few months in the past. Both timelines eventually meet and I thought this was a great plot device to help elevate the story. Sadie's brother, Shane, has just died and the family is trying to pull answers from his wife, Crystle, whom they don't have the easiest relationship with. Her reaction to Shane's death is odd (at best) and it's causing the family to have difficulty putting this behind them. In Henley's portion of the book, you aren't quite sure what the relation is to Shane and his family, but as the book progresses, it becomes clear that there is a reason we are reading from Henley's perspective.

As I said, I really liked this book and I was pulled in immediately and the grip it had over me never let go. It made me so thankful for my place in life because I could have easily been born into a community like this where certain events outside of your control put everyone a couple of steps behind. I loved these characters (particularly, Sadie and her sister Becca) and I thought the story's resolution was a little rushed in places, but overall very strong and believeable.

I really want to thank Netgalley for granting my wish, Spiegel & Grau and Laura McHugh for providing me an advance copy to read and provide an honest review. I know for sure I will absolutely check out her next work as this was such a stellar effort.

Review Date: 8/8/19
Publication Date: 8/6/19
Profile Image for Betsy.
75 reviews67 followers
June 19, 2019
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 more of a small-town drama. While it doesn't fit its intended genre particularly well, the novel does stand out in some respects. McHugh vividly portrays the suffocating nature of life in a small, failing town that struggles with opioid addiction. The writing is very character focused, so the two narrators are well-developed and complex.

Other than my questions about categorization, my only major issue was with the novel's ending, which was a bit of a letdown. It seemed rushed, as the events happened nearly all at once instead of over time. Things also wrapped up too perfectly.

3.5 stars--it's a dark but decent read. (Just don't go into it expecting a traditional thriller.)

Thanks to Random House and NetGalley for providing me with a DRC of this novel, which will be available for purchase on August 6th.
Profile Image for Dave.
3,107 reviews353 followers
March 4, 2019
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 his wife and her kin who are of the backwoods sort. The brother’s possessions are being divvied up and sold off and there never was any autopsy. Henley is from a broken home, no father, and her mom on a good week has stayed off the drugs. On a bad week, Missy is off making like a bad version of Matt Dillon in Drugstore Cowboy. Henley has dreams but knows she’s never escaping and not even a romantic fling with the town’s rich kid will get her out of dead end poverty.

This is a powerful novel about these two characters and the small desperate world they struggle through. If you ever want to see rich complex characters developed, you’ll find it here. The only negative is that it’s a bit depressing and there’s only a tiny glimmer of hope, but maybe that tiny glimmer is all you need to spark something better.

Many thanks to the publisher for providing a copy for review.
Profile Image for Sue.
1,272 reviews548 followers
August 7, 2019
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 just out of high school, are caught up in problems of their own families. Sadie Keller is trying to discover how her older brother died during the summer when she didn’t even know he was ill. And why would his wife behave so strangely? Living in a trailer with her mother, when her mother stays clean, Henley Pettit simply wants out. She wants to have a different life away from the remains of family she has but can’t depend on. The novel is told from the alternating perspectives of Sadie and Henley which provides introductions to most people in this town. And the stories of Sadie and Henley will dance around each other in this small place until you can’t help but wonder if there will be a collision.

This is a well written novel with suspense, well developed characters and a plot and setting taken from today’s news.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Profile Image for Erin.
3,094 reviews484 followers
August 3, 2019
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
Profile Image for Quirkyreader.
1,540 reviews43 followers
July 28, 2019
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.
June 25, 2019
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 child and her father, previously thought to have been a child abduction.  Sadie is on her own to uncover the truth about Shane's final days.

At the same time, eighteen-year-old Henley Pettit is desperate to leave Blackwater.  Her mom has relapsed again, she suspects her uncles are involved in several crimes, and now she needs to escape the suffocating affection of Jason Sullivan, son of the town's wealthiest resident.

Alternating between the stories of Sadie and Henley, The Wolf Wants In is a slow burn mystery that reveals family secrets and connections in its own time.  While some pieces of the mystery are predictable, the fates of Sadie and Henley eventually become woven together for an overall unexpected conclusion!

The Wolf Wants In is a heavy and for the most part bleak read due to the subject matter.  It's an honest look at grief, poverty, and family in rural America and at the center are several mysteries that eventually connect.

If you enjoy small town mysteries and country noir, this is definitely one to stack!

Thanks to Spiegel & Grau/Random House for sending me an advanced reader's copy for review.  The Wolf Wants In is scheduled for release on August 6, 2019.

For more reviews, visit www.rootsandreads.wordpress.com
Profile Image for Linda Strong.
3,880 reviews1,644 followers
August 12, 2019
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 took his young daughter and never returned her to her mother. A skull is found in the woods and it's the worst news any parent can hear. The father is found at a later date, also in the woods... both have been shot. Murder? Murder Suicide?

Are these crimes connected? The more Sadie investigates, the more she learns about small town secrets and lies. She also finds that someone wants her silenced .... maybe permanently.

This was a new author to me so I wasn't sure what to expect. I found a well-written mystery filled with suspense, twists and turns that led to a surprising ending. There are many, many characters, all intertwined with each other, which left me puzzled for a short while. The story premise is a good one ... and I liked how the author tackled today's problem of the use of opioids, especially in the young.

Many thanks to the author / Random House - Spiegel & Grau / Netgalley for the digital copy of this crime fiction. Read and reviewed voluntarily, opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.
Profile Image for Shannon.
166 reviews330 followers
August 6, 2019
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 ⭐️
Profile Image for Kristy.
1,071 reviews149 followers
October 28, 2019
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 concerned. Meanwhile eighteen-year-old Henley comes from a long line of known troublemakers: many of whom are drug dealers and users. She’s determined to leave town and her family behind. But events transpire that make that harder than she envisioned. Overshadowing everything is the town’s opioid crisis and the discovery of a child’s skull in the woods.

The characters in Wolf are vivid and nuanced. They have such depth and feeling. McHugh captures small town life so well—as well as how easily addiction can ravage families. What I loved was how she layered a mystery against all of this: the result was a completely compelling read. I was totally captivated by this one: definitely recommend! 4+ stars.

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Profile Image for Darla.
3,518 reviews619 followers
August 1, 2019
Could not read this atmospheric thriller set in Missouri fast enough. Told in two timelines -- one for Sadie and one for Henley -- mysteries abound in the town of Blackwater. Sadie's brother is dead and his wife's family seems eager to sweep the details surrounding that death under the rug. Henley's is a member of the Pettit clan and related to the wife of Sadie's brother. There is also the case of a missing preteen that is troubling the town. The timing of the two narratives allows us to learn more about what happened before and after the pivotal event. Both women are working to keep out their own personal "wolf," but he is a wily one. My favorite Laura McHugh so far! Thrilled to see a local author doing so well.

A shout out to Random House and NetGalley for providing a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Dennis.
816 reviews1,618 followers
August 2, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Anna W. .
498 reviews18 followers
March 12, 2019
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 ending achieves what her previous books do, too. Readers will understand the nuances and mysteries of the beginning and middle by the time the book closes, a satisfying end to an otherwise flummoxing puzzle. The Wolf Wants In is unsolvable until the end... and in the best way possible.

A highly recommended read for any mystery and suspense reader, especially those who want a very realistic depiction of an actual, everyday issue.
Profile Image for Alison Hardtmann.
1,295 reviews2 followers
June 6, 2019
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 needs to save enough money to leave. She's cleaning the house of the local bigwig and spending time with his son, who is directionless and eager to spend time with her.

The setting is the draw of this novel, a small rural community where the only available jobs are manual and low-paying, where the opioid epidemic rages and anyone who has the means leaves. And the plot is well developed, with alternating chapters switching between Sadie and Haley. The Haley chapters take place several months earlier and Laura McHugh does a fine job of raising the levels of tension equally in each of the timelines. I was set to rate this book very highly, but there's an abrupt end where the mystery is wrapped up in an odd sort of outline, all the bad guys confessing and all the good guys, who had previously been struggling with some serious issues, all received happy endings. I would have much preferred a longer book, better pacing and and an ending in keeping with the tone of the rest of the novel.
Profile Image for Jypsy .
1,524 reviews57 followers
April 8, 2019
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 narrative. You will feel for these characters and their struggles. Excellent read! Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Jamie Rosenblit.
945 reviews533 followers
July 14, 2019
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
Profile Image for Kasa Cotugno.
2,413 reviews494 followers
April 20, 2019
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 protagonist, separated by a matter of months, converge and reach a satisfying conclusion. I for one hope to find Sadie Keller in future novels.
Profile Image for Mindy Mejia.
Author 13 books1,083 followers
May 1, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Jeanette.
3,395 reviews583 followers
August 18, 2019
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 some of the switches left me confused enough to reread- too many characters introduced hodge podge.

It's beyond sad and increasingly more depressive the more you are into the story. And I loved the tone within days of ordinary places and tasks- but the mothers especially! They were either effusively child missing or pleasing or the complete opposite. Gushing grief or gushing missing or gushing for gushing. Or taking off for benders and not even leaving a message.

What I did not like and that really grated on me enough to notice their overload throughout this entire book was the appearance descriptions. Clothing, faces, hair states (color, texture, oiliness, stringiness etc.), indoor surroundings of nasty and decrepit interiors or other negative physical material surrounds. Hoarder lengths of it. That and the constant switching of narrator and time periods just killed all the tension for me by the time I got to the last quarter of the book. And I completely and correctly guessed the endings all around. (Even to why Shane had died and how.) Despite the event that made you think otherwise and with further murder complications.

Not a bad book with terrible writing overall. But sad and just unappealing for its progressions. IMHO. There was an all around seemingly "lack of energy" tied to the drug use and abuse. That's true that it does have that outcome. Yet the non-addicted were made out to be just as mediocre or "less than norm" to begin with. All characters having nearly special needs in ambition or/and learning abilities as a secondary fail point. Henley seemed like the only character in the whole town who didn't blame someone else for their own troubles or negatives. Or have a habit of whimpering or taking "a family" side. And for a town with so many churches- how is it that none of these people ever attend or seem to hold a moral code of religious beliefs in any of their actions. Social lives and communications completely "church away" too.

Too bad and too sad of an entity to say I enjoyed this book. And I truly disagree with this being labeled as a thriller. No, it is not. Druggies and lots of self-pity context thoughts (always with a side of blame) had me bogged in groaning and moans the farther I traipsed into the book. I doubt if I would read this author again- she's too verbose in descriptions and her people are dumb downed all the way to sorry. And the food in this book! Maybe that's why I become so turned off by the whole crowd in general so quickly. UGH!
Profile Image for Terri  Wino.
692 reviews61 followers
May 26, 2019
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 paying close attention it could be easy to get confused.

I found this to be a mostly depressing read, but considering the subject matter, I didn't go into it expecting rainbows and butterflies. I found both Sadie and Henley likeable characters. Unfortunately, they were pretty much the only two characters in the book who were.

I was glad that you get some definite closure as far as the investigation into the death of Sadie's brother. That's not a spoiler -- you'll have to read for yourself to find out what that explanation is.

Overall a good story, but so damn depressing that I can't give it another star.
Profile Image for Hannah McKinnon.
Author 10 books1,414 followers
May 13, 2019
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.
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