Review ~ Black Eyed Susans (My TBR List Winner)

Posted December 26, 2015 by Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog in My TBR List, Reviews / 41 Comments

Review ~ Black Eyed Susans (My TBR List Winner)Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin
Published by Ballantine Books on August 11th 2015
Genres: Suspense
Pages: 354
Format: Hardcover
Source: Won
4.5 Stars

For fans of Laura Lippman and Gillian Flynn comes an electrifying novel of stunning psychological suspense.
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.   Shocking, intense, and utterly original, Black-Eyed Susans is a dazzling psychological thriller, seamlessly weaving past and present in a searing tale of a young woman whose harrowing memories remain in a field of flowers—as a killer makes a chilling return to his garden.


Tessa was the victim that survived the Black Eyed Susans killer all those years ago. Left for dead in a grave, covered by a patch of the flower Black Eyed Susans,  she was lucky to survive. Now years later she is asked to help exonerate the person, who many believe was wrongfully convicted of the murders. This has her going through her past – before the trial and thinking of things that have happened after he was convicted. Was the right person caught or are they still out there?

I love a good, suspenseful story. That is exactly what I got here. It was a slow burn suspense too. That isn’t to say that the book moved slow though. No, it moved along quite nicely, each page ratcheting up the feeling that I needed to know what happened – what would happen.

We alternate between present day Tessa and 1995 Tessie right after the incident. It is all leading up to the execution of the person convicted of the Black Eyed Susan murders. There are people who believe he is innocent. Tessa is trying to help while dealing with the past and what she truly knows all while trying to protect hr daughter.

There were so many little tidbits and hints that were just so subtlely dropped in. I wasn’t sure if they meant something, what they meant or if they would all make sense later. I enjoyed trying to piece everything together and totally didn’t guess or get it right.

I did love Tessa. She was still obviously messed up from what had happened to her but not in a debilitating way. I mean she heard the “Susans” in her head. Still, she had a daughter who she loved and protected and seemed like a normal mom. She had a job. She was a bit sassy. Hell, we even got a dash of a romance thrown in there (which I loved btw).

That’s all I want to say because as with these books you don’t want to know too much going in. It definitely lived up to my expectations. I would recommend for anyone wanting a great suspense/mystery/thriller.

Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog

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41 responses to “Review ~ Black Eyed Susans (My TBR List Winner)

  1. After I saw this on Kim’s blog, I recommended this book to my mom b/c she loves suspense/mysteries. Now that you’ve described Tessa, I’m thinking I may even give this one a chance!!! And I don’t even read these type of stories 😀 Great review!!!!!!

  2. I purchased this for my mom back in June and she really enjoyed it! She’s a big fan of suspense, mystery, and psychological thrillers, and it’s NOT easy finding a book she’ll love. She loved how unreliable the main character was, and for once she didn’t know what would transpire after the first chapter lol, (she’s sherlock holmes or something for real) I’m glad you enjoyed this too, I think I’ll pick it up sometime next year!
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