Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin


I received this eARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin

Expected publication: August 11th 2015 by Ballantine Books

368 Pages

Goodreads Summary: I am the star of screaming headlines and campfire ghost stories.
I am one of the four Black-Eyed Susans.
The lucky one.

As a sixteen-year-old, Tessa Cartwright was found in a Texas field, barely alive amid a scattering of bones, with only fragments of memory as to how she got there. Ever since, the press has pursued her as the lone surviving “Black-Eyed Susan,” the nickname given to the murder victims because of the yellow carpet of wildflowers that flourished above their shared grave. Tessa’s testimony about those tragic hours put a man on death row.

Now, almost two decades later, Tessa is an artist and single mother. In the desolate cold of February, she is shocked to discover a freshly planted patch of black-eyed susans—a summertime bloom—just outside her bedroom window. Terrified at the implications—that she sent the wrong man to prison and the real killer remains at large—Tessa turns to the lawyers working to exonerate the man awaiting execution. But the flowers alone are not proof enough, and the forensic investigation of the still-unidentified bones is progressing too slowly. An innocent life hangs in the balance. The legal team appeals to Tessa to undergo hypnosis to retrieve lost memories—and to share the drawings she produced as part of an experimental therapy shortly after her rescue.

What they don’t know is that Tessa and the scared, fragile girl she was have built a  fortress of secrets. As the clock ticks toward the execution, Tessa fears for her sanity, but even more for the safety of her teenaged daughter. Is a serial killer still roaming free, taunting Tessa with a trail of clues? She has no choice but to confront old ghosts and lingering nightmares to finally discover what really happened that night.


Review: I have always been a big fan of suspense novels.  I grew up reading Mary Higgins Clark and Sidney Sheldon.  I loved getting that creepy feeling while reading and trying to figure out the mystery.  When I read the description for the book I was hooked.  I couldn’t wait to start reading it once I got it.  The story is divided between chapters of present day Tessa and her teenage self, Tessie, back around the time of the trial.  I really liked being able to go back and forth to see how she transitioned into her current self after this insane thing happened to her.  One thing that I really enjoyed was that the author really did her homework when it came to writing about using DNA evidence to clear up old cases.  The information was put forth in a way that was not overwhelming, but in a way that allowed the reader to understand enough to know what was going on.  As Tessa tries to remember exactly what happened back then, some strange things happen, and new information is unearthed.  This book is filled with suspense and keeps you on your toes.  Huge twist towards the end!  If you’re looking for a great suspense novel, I highly recommend this one!

5/5 Stars


4 thoughts on “Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin

  1. Great review! I agree that the author did her research. It was so well written and totally blew me away. I just started reading her debut novel and hope it’s just as good!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: 2015 Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge | The Worn Bookmark

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