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Safe and Sound

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Member Reviews

The brilliant Laura McHugh has done it again with Safe & Sound.

Six years after their cousin vanished from their home while they were sleeping, two sisters set out to learn the truth behind what happened—even if it puts their own lives in danger—in this haunting thriller from the internationally bestselling author of What’s Done in Darkness.

Like What's Done in Darkness, Ms. McHugh reaffirms her place at the head of the table in the genre of Ozark/Rural Noir. I devoured this dual timeline book that alternates between the point-of-view of two sisters, Amelia & Kylee, and their older cousin, Grace, who is believed to have been murdered six years before—but no body was ever found.

Ms. McHugh's settings are almost always bleak and impoverished, with her characters having little hope to escape their circumstances, despite dreams to the contrary. Yet what makes her writing so stunning is her ability to craft beauty around the bleakness, finding hope where there is none. Her storytelling gently caresses you with one hand and deftly drops the guillotine with the other.

The pace and suspense of Safe & Sound build and build, the chapters getting shorter and shorter, until the crescendo—which was so powerful that I went back and reread it a few times.

Here's to more from McHugh!

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for the opportunity to read and give my honest feedback.

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“Safe and Sound” is the story of two sisters in a small town with lots of secrets. They are trying to find out what happened to their cousin who disappeared while babysitting them years earlier. I enjoyed the book but felt the ending was rushed. Thank you NetGalley for the ARC.

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This was great. I couldn’t put it down. Highly recommend. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for my honest review

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Make no mistake, Laura McHugh understands dysfunctional family dynamics, and spinning tales that move back and forth in time, better than any current author. Beginning with her Thriller Award-winning debut, THE WEIGHT OF BLOOD, and now with SAFE AND SOUND, she has solidified that status. This story revolves around sisters Amelia and Kylee and their cousin Grace and the no-future town of Beaumont, Missouri. Six years earlier, Grace went missing, presumably abducted and likely murdered. The sisters, who want nothing more that to leave the dead-end town, first set out to uncover what happened to Grace, and find her, dead or alive. As the story shifts between Grace before the abduction and the sisters after, dark family secrets boil to the surface. Who took Grace? An itinerant stranger, or someone close to home? How far would the killer go to cover the crime? As the sisters peel back the layers, they find themselves in a dangerous spiral, unsure who to trust, and who to fear. This one you will put down until the final page.

DP Lyle, award-winning author of the Jake Longly and Cain/Harper thriller series

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Sisters Amelia and Kylee try to find out the truth behind the disappearance of their cousin Grace. I've enjoyed all of this author's previous books, and this captivating novel was no exception. In addition to being an engrossing mystery, it also has trenchant points to make about poverty and intergenerational trauma.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC!

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Reviewed on Edelweiss for Indie Next April. I will say here separately that this book kept me up until 4am because I just had to finish it.

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Laura McHugh is an international best selling author and she shows why with the dramatic thriller in Safe and Sound.

#SafeandSound
#LauraMcHugh
#RandomHouse
#NetGalley

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McHugh has improved so much since her debut. Her plot has always been good, but the characterization has gotten so much better.

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Since Laura McHugh is one of my favorite authors, I was thrilled to once again be offered the chance by one of her publishers via NetGalley to read an advanced copy of her latest mystery due out this April 2024 called Safe and Sound. I was hooked by the very first chapter! This novel moves quickly and will keep an even seasoned mystery reader guessing as the twists and turns keep coming. McHugh is a master at description and brings the setting to life. She really makes you feel you are right there in the lives of these main characters to whom family, love, and loyalty mean everything as they struggle in a life of poverty and search for answers. You will follow alternately two sisters and their cousin in a small town in Missouri where they feel stuck, where bad things are happening, and where the sisters are trying their best to solve a murder. One warning—the novel does deal with child sexual abuse, just in case some readers are triggered by that. Even so, it is an excellent novel with well-developed characters, an intriguing plot, and once again Laura McHugh has written prose that I will be proud to add to my library. I wholeheartedly recommend this novel! Pre-order yours today!

Also, if you have not read her other novels, you are missing out. She is an internationally award winning author. And you can read her books in any order. My favorite is Arrowood, followed by The Weight of Blood, but I love all her work. Check them out!

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*Thank you so much to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the chance to review an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

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Just ok for me. The narrative dragged on way longer than necessary. Too much unneeded material. Ending a bit unsatisfying and anticlimactic.
I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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The first quarter of the novel did little more than establish over and over again how the town of Nowheresville, Missouri (or whatever it was) was a place where nothing ever happened, and everyone that was born in it never made anything of their lives until they ultimately succumbed to a lower middle class death.

The book picked up when the perspective first switched to Grace’s story in the past, and from then on, I greedily gobbled up the story in a matter of hours.

The ending felt a bit rushed (which I believe was my opinion of an earlier novel I read from the same author) and kind of… anticlimactic. I would have liked to see the loose ends tied up.

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Laura McHugh has done it again. Another captivating mystery/thriller set in a small Midwest town, where the people we think we can trust are sometimes the ones who cause us the most harm. Beautifully written.

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"Safe and Sound" by Laura McHugh takes readers on a riveting journey with two sisters as they unravel the mystery of their cousin's disappearance years ago. Set against the backdrop of the Ozarks, McHugh skillfully delves into the complexities of small-town life, revealing dark secrets and unexpected twists. The narrative's constant turns make it an enthralling page-turner, and McHugh's storytelling prowess shines through. For those seeking a captivating blend of suspense and exploration of familial bonds, "Safe and Sound" comes highly recommended.

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Although the story kind of fell apart at the end for me, I can think of lots of patrons who will enjoy this twisty mystery. I enjoyed the flashback to Grace's point of view as events unfolded.

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Six years ago, sixteen year old Grace disappeared while babysitting her cousins, with a bloody crime scene left behind. Her two cousins, Amelia and Kylee, who slept through the disappearance, are determined to discover the truth about that night before they graduate from school. Neither are prepared for the shocking secrets they’ll discover. Safe and Sound, which at first seems like a YA novel, is anything but as the cousins delve deeper into Grace’s disappearance. The story definitely goes in a direction you’re not expecting, and that holds true right to end of the book. Well written with good pacing, the suspense is palpable with each passing chapter, and the book tackles several mature themes that will elicit some emotions from the reader, and that’s always a plus. Well done! I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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This had a great concept and a winning mystery going on through this book. I was invested in what was happening in the story and I enjoyed how good the mystery element was and how the characters interacted with the story. Laura McHugh does a great job writing this and left me excited for more.

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Book Title: Safe and Sound
Author: Laura McHugh
Publisher: Random House Pushing Group- Random House
Genre: Mystery
Pub Date: April 24, 2024
My Rating: 4. Stars
Pages 304

Beaumont, Missouri is an old town where the people don’t change; Children grow up and basically become their parents –living in the same town, working in the same factory.

Amelia and Kylee, are sisters, and hope to leave the poverty in which they lived their whole lives. They were raised by their eccentric mother, a pole dancer who struggles to provide for her family
Their cousin Grace was accepted into college – in fact, the only member of her family as well as the only one among her friends with plans to attend college.

Story starts with Grace’s mother Aunt Elsie holding a sign printed with a blood red marker -STILL MISSING- with Grace’s senior picture. Grace has been missing for six years.
It will be six years ago tonight while babysitting Amelia and Kylee that Grace was taken in what appears to have been a home invasion. Leaving Grace’s blood spattered on the floor and a cabinet.

Now, Amelia and Kylee are near graduating from high school and dream about getting out of Beaumont, but the likelihood of that happening seems as low as that of Grace being found. When human remains are discovered in town, the sisters think they finally know who took Grace.

Story is told from the POV of Amelia and Kylee – now and Grace–then.

I am a big thriller fan and this story started out with me curious of Grace.
This book has been on my TBR shelf for some time. The reviews were mixed so wasn’t too excited about starting.it. I finally decided I need to read this and make my own evaluation.
As I was reading this story I thought this is an okay story - nothing all that exciting and then
- the conclusion completely changed my mind!!!!. 🤗
I often say when I finish a thriller that I didn’t see that coming – well in this case - I did NOT see this coming. I immediately thought I just found a new fav author!!
I am looking forward to her next book!!

Want to thank NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group – Random House for this early uncorrected ebook.
Publishing Release Date scheduled for April 24, 2024.

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Thank you NetGalley and Random House for an e-ARC, available everywhere in April 2024.

For years, Grace dreamed about getting out of her small town. She was the first person in her family accepted to college, her escape almost within reach. Before she could leave, or even graduate, she mysteriously disappeared while babysitting her younger cousins late at night. Six years later, her family and friends are still looking for answers. When human remains are found in town, Amelia and Kylee start to form their own suspicions about what happened to their cousin. Not everyone is happy about their search, and as the girls dig deeper, they'll discover the truth is worse than they imagined.

Having enjoyed nearly all of the author's previous books, I had high hopes for this novel. The author has always done an excellent job of getting the reader invested in the story, whether that's by setting the mood, i.e., an unsettling, tense atmosphere that makes you want to keep turning the pages or by writing complex characters you grow to care about. With the exception of Uncle Norman and Kylee, to an extent, I felt for these characters and the hand they'd been dealt. However, there was too much focus on one particular character and no pay-off. Second, I liked that there were some male/female friendships but didn't understand the point of shoehorning in a romance. Lastly, I don't know how I felt about the ending. It's one I figured out before we got there but it didn't make sense to me given the amount of time that had elapsed. Maybe some of it was the lack of resolution as well? I'm trying not to say too much!

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The description of the book seemed interesting, so I wanted to check the story out. Unfortunately, it is not working for me right now. It is nothing against the story or the author, but I couldn't get into the story/characters. I may try and find a physical copy to add the my library when it is released, though, because I think my readers could like it!

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