The Wolf Wants In

Spiegel & Grau. Aug. 2019. 272p. ISBN 9780399590283. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780399590306. M
Sadie Keller and her sister, Becca, just want to find out how their older brother, Shane, died. He was known as a troublemaker, but the sisters recall how he protected them against an abusive father. Their hometown, Blackwater, KS, has been ravaged by the opioid crisis, so it’s easy to blame Shane’s death on pills. The sisters are sure he was not an addict, though, so Sadie begins to investigate his death. Eighteen-year-old Henley Pettit also has a life affected by addiction. Her mother disappears frequently, the Pettit family is notorious in the county for using and selling, and Henley’s uncles are not saints. Henley, whose story begins earlier, wants only to escape the town. Eventually, these two story lines collide in an account of tragedy and lives wasted over drugs and money and sexual attraction.
VERDICT McHugh, whose debut, The Weight of Blood, won an International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel, delivers a disturbing story of an entire dysfunctional community affected by opioids. Fans of Julia Keller’s “Bell Elkins” books will appreciate this sobering, hard-hitting mystery. [See Prepub Alert, 2/11/19.]

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