#ATBR2019 – The Wolf Wants In by Laura McHugh

Bam! We’re trying to pack as many as we can into August.

Thanks to Random House for the free copies in exchange for our honest reviews

THE WOLF WANTS IN – Laura McHugh (out now!)

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Book Description:

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.

Chandra’s Thoughts: 3/5 stars

Let me just say that I think this was just not the read I needed right now.  You know that mood you can get in where only a certain type of book (and at that moment you don’t even know which one that would be) that will just do it for you?  I was really hoping this one would be it.  I actually woke up, opened it, read the first few pages and was interested enough to take it with me to the salon to get a pedicure. I read through 3/4 of the book at the salon but nothing ever really just GRABBED ME.

This is one of those books that’s very atmospheric and has the gritty undertone that never lets up.  This is one of the very best things about this read – the tone and feeling that you can’t help but pick up on.  Unfortunately, my mood didn’t allow me to enjoy this to my fullest potential.  But the quick chapters kept me turning those pages. I just really wish I could’ve connected.  Instead it felt like that good background movie you put on while you’re doing other things.  Every once in a while you look up and pay attention but most of the time it’s just underneath whatever else is catching your eye at the time.

The characters make this story rather than the story line itself.  These characters pop off the pages and although a somber read, you really feel these desperate characters clinging to you. I think I just needed something a bit lighter. However, if you’re looking for a gritty, suspenseful literary fiction read, this is perfect.

My Thoughts: 5/5 stars

I’ve heard great things about McHugh’s books and I was so ready to start her newest release, THE WOLF WANTS IN. This one is the definition of small towns and their deep secrets that people are willing to protect at any cost. This was a fast paced mystery and I loved every reveal as the story progressed.

We have two perspectives: Sadie and Henley. Sadie’s story is present day while Henley’s starts four months prior. Sadie’s world is rocked when her brother suddenly and unexpectedly dies. His wife, Crystle, claims it was his heart medications that did it and he had a heart attack. She didn’t want an autopsy and she was very quick to have the funeral and get his things out of the house. Odd behavior from a woman who is supposedly in mourning, and this leaves Sadie, her sister, and her mother with no answers.

Meanwhile, we have Henley, a young girl that is working as a maid in place of her mother at the Sullivan house. The family is wealthy and well-known throughout the town. Her mother has known drug problems and currently is MIA. She begins to develop a relationship with Jason Sullivan, who grew up in a very different world than she did. Henley is fiercely loyal to her family and knows that you don’t get into anyone’s business – especially when it came to the activities of her uncles and cousins.

As all of this is going on we have a discovery of the skull remains of a young girl that went missing years before. Hannah, Sadie’s old friend, had tragedy strike when her ex-husband ran off with their daughter and they were never found. They also uncover his remains in the woods not too far away from Macey’s body. Was this a case of murder/suicide or is there more to it?

I loved how the story built and the mystery grew. McHugh expertly adds in little reveals and makes you question what you thought to be true. I did have part of it figured out early on, but not the final reveal at the end. There is a bleak overtone to the story and we get an examination of what addiction and drugs can do to a small town. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a quick mystery read and to those that love the small town secrets theme.

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