Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Black-Eyed Susans: Julia Heaberlin review

Black-Eyed Susans

By Julia Heaberlin
Rating: 4 Star

A sixteen year old Tessa Cartwright is found in a mass grave in a field in Texas covered by wild flowers called Black-Eyed Susans.

After her miraculous rescue, she is labelled in the media and her local town as 'the lucky one'. Tessa was the only 'susan girl' to have survived the killer.

Jumping forward, we meet Tessa again in later life, now a mum to a teenage daughter called Charlie.

The man convicted of the horrific crimes,  Terrell Darcy Goodman is about to be executed by the State of Texas for the murders.

Many people are assuming that his execution will help Tessa to find closure. However, the events of that day in the grave have fractured Tessa's memory and something doesn't seem right about Terrell's conviction. Additionally, with the 'killer' safely behind bars for the past decade, who keeps planting Black-Eyed Susans outside Tessa's window?

In literary fiction law, all serial killers must have a dramatic calling card such as leaving cryptic clues or signature items with each of their victims. Heaberlin stays true to this rule with the very creepy dramatic device of someone planting flowers outside of the house of the only survivor Tessa.

This novel is a great psychological thriller, with plenty of twists and turns throughout, aided in the story by the fact that Tessa has blanked out the evening of her kidnap and is only remembering one fragment at a time. There is also a strong CSI theme as well, introduced when we meet a determined DNA scientist who plans to use cutting-edge technology to finally identify the other victims in Tessa's grave.

The plot races along and Heaberlin keeps us guessing right until the end. I really enjoyed it and would recommend this novel for any fans of this genre. Julia Heaberlin has also written Lie Still, and Playing Dead.

I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.