Saturday, 29 October 2016

Black Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin

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

Left with three other girls in a grave shrouded by black-eyed Susans, Tessa alone survived, her testimony helping to put a killer behind bars.

Now, sixteen years later, he is about to be executed. But Tessa feels no relief.

Because someone is planting black-eyed Susans outside her window. Someone is sending her daughter sinister messages. And there's a lawyer telling her the man about to be put to death is innocent.

Which can mean only one thing: the wrong man has been sentenced, the real killer is still out there and Tessa might not be the last Black-Eyed Susan...

There is so much that goes into the plot of Black Eyed Susans, with a good deal of it not quite being what you expect.

The story is told in three parts, however the main narrator in each part of the story is Tessa. Having survived the clutches of a serial killer in her teens, Tessa's life has very much been defined by being the surviving Black Eyed Susans girl. As a teenager she testified in court and her testimony is largely what put a man behind bars for the crime... But is it the right man?

For years Tessa has been seeing signs that perhaps the wrong man is set for the death penalty, and as the story opens, we meet her as she is aiding solicitors in halting the death sentence of said man. The narrative alternates between Tessa present day, and her as a teen in the aftermath of being found alive in the Black Eyed Susans grave. The other two parts of the story are told in a slightly different format, however detailing those would include spoilers of sorts.

The way in which the plot of this book is pieced together is really well done, and keeps you on your toes throughout - you'll be page turning like no other, and thrown curveballs along the way.

With Tessa being the main character, I found her to be the most well developed within the book, and I really enjoyed the way in which her backstory unfolded. Tessa has a young teenage daughter, and I thought the dynamics between them, as well as their interactions and Tessa's over protectiveness of her felt authentic.

There are a number of other characters within the story who are also quite developed, and the characters feel very much like living beings. I think that's why the twists in the story are all the more surprising, as you feel like you knew these people only to have the wool pulled over your eyes in some cases.

I couldn't write this review without touching upon Tessa and Charlie's neighbour, Effie - I loved that dear old woman!

This is my first time reading a book by Julia Heaberlin, and I don't see it being my last.

The story was so well crafted and formatted, not to mention the narrative being full of suspense in the most perfect way. With every few pages a new layer of the story was revealed, only leading you to keep on reading. The last part of the story in particular was super suspenseful with such an intense conclusion.

This book is the kind that I find hard to put in articulate words; I just want to scream and shout about how amazing it was! Black Eyed Susans is categorised as a thriller - and a thrilling read it is!



  1. I'm glad to see you enjoyed this one. I put it on my Wishlist when it first came out and then a few bloggers reviews actually had me take it off my read list. Hmmmmm I'm unsure now, I will keep it on my mind. You have became one of my trusted bloggers though so I will put it back on the wishlist.

    1. Ah, that's so kind of you to say - I hope I don't steer you wrong with this title!

  2. Fantastic review!! It makes me so happy to see you loved this book as much as I did. It's such a great thriller!


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