The Weight of Blood

Written by Laura McHugh

Review written by Sue Lord


The Weight of Blood
Hutchinson
RRP: £18.99 / £8.49
Released: July 3, 2014
Hardcover / Kindle

The opening of the novel is written in the first person by the main character, Lucy Dane. The story begins with the body of her friend Cheri Stoddard, found mutilated a year after she had disappeared.

The story skillfully moves between Lucy's perspective and that of her mother, Lila. Different points of view are added as the story unfolds. Lucy Dane, although born in the town is still considered an outsider by this close-knit community. Everyone in the town is interconnected in some way.

After the initial excitement of the disappearance and murder of Cheri, the people of Henbane in Ozark County are moving on with their lives. The shock and fear of the murder has faded.

Before Cheri's murder it was the disappearance of Lucy's mother that was the biggest story in town. Lila was an outsider who left when Lucy was a baby. Lucy is seeking answers to questions that people don't want her to ask. Then, whilst working, she discovers a necklace in an abandoned mobile home. Lucy had given it to Cheri and the girl never took it off. Lucy begins digging into Cheri’s death. Was her friend’s murder linked to the disappearance of her mother? No one will talk to her. She is convinced that her father and her uncle know something. But Lucy is determined to get to the truth.

Characterisation is first-rate and there are quite a lot of characters; their names are used as chapter headings. This keeps reader engaged with the people involved and their point of view. The Weight of Blood is an intriguing, multi-layered story, superbly written, disturbing and dark, with an excellent sense of place. The threads of the story are drawn together with skill. The conclusion makes sense.

A great debut novel, more please.

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