Twenty years after the twins were kidnapped, unpleasant circumstances bring Callie back to Keokuk and Arrowood, her sprawling childhood home. The town she remembers no longer exists; factories have been shuttered, Main Street all but abandoned, and mansions left to crumble. Arrowood is in shambles after years of renters and vacancy, but it still belongs to her family, and Callie moves in. But soon, a terrible discovery forces her to confront the darkest part of her past.
Arrowood explores the lies we tell ourselves, the ways tragedy changes us, and the notion that home isn’t a thing you can touch—it’s always there inside you when everything else falls away.
“Superb and subtle psychological suspense, and a compelling mystery too … I thought I knew who did it, but I was wrong – four times.” — Lee Child
Rights: Spiegel & Grau, North America; Uitgeverij Cargo / De Bezige Bij, Netherlands
THE WEIGHT OF BLOOD (March, 2014)
The town of Henbane sits deep in the Ozark Mountains. Folks there still whisper about Lucy Dane’smother, a bewitching stranger who appeared long enough to marry Carl Dane and then vanished when Lucy was just a child. Now on the brink of adulthood, Lucy experiences another loss when her friend Cheri disappears and is then found murdered, her body placed on display for all to see. Lucy’s family has deep roots in the Ozarks, part of a community that is fiercely protective of its own. Yet despite her close ties to the land, and despite her family’s influence, Lucy—darkly beautiful as her mother was—is always thought of by those around her as her mother’s daughter. When Cheri disappears, Lucy is haunted by the two lost girls—the mother she never knew and the friend she couldn’t save—and sets out with the help of a local boy, Daniel, to uncover the mystery behind Cheri’s death.
What Lucy discovers is a secret that pervades the secluded Missouri hills, and beyond that horrific revelation is a more personal one concerning what happened to her mother more than a decade earlier.
The Weight of Blood is an urgent look at the dark side of a bucolic landscape beyond the arm of the law, where a person can easily disappear without a trace. Laura McHugh proves herself a masterly storyteller who has created a harsh and tangled terrain as alive and unforgettable as the characters who inhabit it. Her mesmerizing debut is a compelling exploration of the meaning of family: the sacrifices we make, the secrets we keep, and the lengths to which we will go to protect the ones we love.
Rights: Spiegel & Grau, North America; Hutchinson/Arrow, UK; Rizzoli, Italy; Limes Verlag, Germany; Uitgeverij Cargo/De Bezige Bij, Holland; Calmann Levy, France; Altin Kitaplar, Turkey; AST, Russia
“With her riveting debut, The Weight of Blood, Laura McHugh makes a strong bid at cementing a new tradition of regional crime fiction while keeping tourism low in the Ozarks. . . . [A] powerful sense of place is the anchor of The Weight of Blood. The well-drawn townspeople and oppressive, dread-soaked atmosphere sprout from the soil of Henbane. . . . The prose is strong, with evocative paint strokes in all the right places. McHugh is an artful, efficient writer who tells her story in vicious blows. . . . McHugh has crafted a sharp, haunting tale of blood in the Ozarks, as substantial as it is pleasurable to read.”—Los Angeles Times
“Laura McHugh’s atmospheric debut, The Weight of Blood . . . conjures a menacingly beautiful Ozark setting and a nest of poisonous family secrets reminiscent of Daniel Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone.”—Vogue (“Spring’s Ten Best Suspense Novels”)
“A fantastic novel, rich in character and atmosphere . . . This is one you won’t want to miss.”—Karin Slaughter, author of Unseen
“A suspenseful thrill ride that satisfies in all the right ways . . . Daniel Woodrell had better watch his back. . . . The Weight of Blood is a tense, taut novel and a truly remarkable debut.”—BookPage
“Laura McHugh’s vivid and enthralling The Weight of Blood centers on a mother and daughter in a seemingly benign yet deeply horrifying small town. It kept me on the edge of my seat from the first page to the last.”—Vanessa Diffenbaugh, author of The Language of Flowers