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Laura McHugh Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Weight of Blood (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Arrowood (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle


Laura McHugh is the author of fiction, suspense and mystery novels. She was born in Fort Madison, Iowa and grew up there and the Ozark mountains of southern Missouri. Her dad used to repair shoes while her mum worked at the Waffle House. She graduated from Truman State University with an undergraduate degree in English. She received a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from University of Missouri. She also received a degree in computer science from the same university. She was laid off after working as a software developer for 10 years. She used to write short stories until her second one got accepted. Her husband told her to take that opportunity and write the book she dreamed as a child. She then agreed to write her first draft which took a year. She then revised it, sent some letters and waited. After a short period, things started happening faster than she taught. Much of his work was influenced by the forbidding landscape and remoteness of the Ozark Mountains. This place played a major role in setting the tone of her novels as depicted by The Weight of Blood. He loves the culture and the folk wisdom which surrounded her while growing up. She now lives in Columbia, Missouri with her husband, two daughters and one big dog.

Laura McHugh’s debut novel, The Weight of Blood won an International Thrillers Award in the category of Best First Novel. It also won a Silver Falchion Award for the Best First Novel: Literary Suspense. The Weight of Blood was also named best book of the year by Sunday Times (UK), Kansas City Star and BookPage. This novel was also nominated for GoodReads Choice Awards for Best Mystery and Best Debut Novel. Her second novel, Arrowood is also another captivating thriller. It was picked by Indie Next and LibraryReads as one of the best mystery novels.

The Weight of Blood is the first novel to be written by Laura McHugh. It was published in 2014. According to the author, she was haunted by Ozark Mountains after leaving. This novel allowed her to explore the dark sides of the tight-knit rural communities. The novel talks about Dane whose family roots tangle deep into the Ozark mountain town of Henbane. However, that does not keep her sixteen year old Lucy Dane from being treated like an outsider. Folks are still whispering about her mother, a bewitching young stranger who inspired local myths after vanishing years ago. Slow minded Cheri, one of Lucy’s few friends is found murdered. Lucy finds herself being haunted by the two lost girls, the mother she never knew and a friend she couldn’t protect. Lucy stumbles upon Cheri’s necklace in an abandoned trailer. This changes everything as Lucy starts looking for answers. This discovery makes Lucy suspect her own next of kin. Lucy suspects that Cheri’s death could be linked to the disappearance of her mother. This connection puts Lucy at the risk of losing everything. Amidst bonds of blood, Lucy has to decide where her allegiance lies. The people in the town are also a closed book. This novel was done well when it comes to moving from past to present which is confusing in many novels. This is a brilliantly written, engaging and disturbing book at the same time. It causes readers to hold their breath while wondering what will be revealed next. This novel captures murder, secret, lies and blood being thicker than water in the most intriguing way.

Laura published her second novel Arrowood in 2016. It is a very robust, captivating and old-fashioned Gothic mystery. It has all ingredients of a thriller; from creepy old houses to tenants with secrets and even a few ghosts. This novel talks about how our past comes back to haunt us. Arden the narrator and principal character is both an attractive, haunted and Gothic heroine who takes the reader through her journey of unraveling the mystery surrounding her sister’s disappearance. Arrowood is a family that lived in one of the historical houses next to River Mississippi in southern Iowa. This house has a mystery which is yet to be revealed. This is where Arden Arrowood younger twin sisters disappeared on her watch. Her last memory is golden car which carried her sisters away. It has been 20 years now since she last saw them. Her parents are divorced and all Arrowood’s left the house which sheltered the family for generations. Arden’s life has also fallen apart. Her misguided love affair has ended badly and even worse, she can’t find her Master’s thesis. She still hopes her sisters are still alive and sets out to find them. She inherits the Arrowood after her father dies. Arden returns to her childhood home determined to unravel the mysteries behind her sister’s disappearance. She is welcomed back to Keokuk town by her old neighbor and first love, Ben Ferris. She learns that Ben’s family knows a lot about the Arrowoods` secrets and their small community. She uses the help of a younger investigator to look for answers. Together they track down a man who was a prime suspect in the kidnapping. However, the town holds its secrets very close. She finally finds out about the truth which proves to be very devastating. This is another good read from the outstanding author of The Weight of Blood. It is a very powerful and resonant novel that examines how lives are shaped by things that transpired in the past. Memories can be very haunting especially the childhood ones. The architecture of Mississippi River towns is also very captivating. The gothic houses also make the story more thrilling.

The award winning, The Weight of Blood is the most intriguing novel written by Laura. Everything connects and flows well. This is a thrilling book with hidden, disturbing and dark secrets. It makes one wonder about the hearts of men and the minds of those people who turn against each other. Laura’s debut novel is an exceptional work of fiction. It is a memorable and cleverly written novel. The characters are very atmospheric plus the whole setting makes an outstanding read. The Arrowood is also an outstanding novel which shows how our past can take hold of our preset in haunting ways. The author keeps the feeling of menace lurking in the story along with powerful memories. Laura McHugh has written compelling stories which demand the reader’s attention from the beginning to the end.

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