Review: The Weight of Blood, by Laura McHugh

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Title: The Weight of Blood

Author: Laura McHugh

Publication Date: March 11, 2014

Genre: Suspense

Overview: Lucy has grown up in the Ozarks and, occasionally, people disappear. They rarely show up again. When her friend Cheri, a young girl with mental disability, goes missing and later shows up dismembered, the town is abuzz. No one knows what’s happened and Lucy feels obligated to look into Cheri’s death. In doing so, she uncovers terrible secrets about the people she loves.


For Fans Of: Gillian Flynn, Scott Smith


World-Building: McHugh gives the reader a very vivid picture of life in the Ozarks. Though it isn’t a purely imagined world, it’s very well crafted without being overly detailed. There’s a sense of isolation and distance in much of the landscape which is very true to life for a lot of rural America.


Character Development: Lucy starts out as a fairly naive kid whose main concern is whether she and her best friend Bess will get to hang out. Though she remains fairly innocent throughout, she starts to ask some hard questions and I think that’s where her real growth is.


The secondary plot, following her mother, Lila, also shows some very interesting character development. We see Lila come to a town and turn from a run-of-the-mill young woman into a wife, a mother, and a surprisingly fierce woman. This particular plot line also gives the reader insight into the depths of other characters (namely Lucy’s father and uncle) that was interesting to see and supplemented our understanding of them and their actions in the main plot line.


Plot: The plot is dynamic. It’s fast-paced.There’s a lot going on, some of which flows very naturally, other times it feels a little strange and like some of the characters may not normally behave in the way they do. It’s never a major distraction from the story though, and usually is there to push the story forward.


Rating: 4-4.5


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