Black-Eyed Susans Paperback – 1 October 2019
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- Publisher : Michael Joseph; 1st edition (1 October 2019)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 416 pages
- ISBN-10 : 140594112X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1405941129
- Dimensions : 11.1 x 2.5 x 18.1 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 323,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Black Eyed Susans is a compelling read, especially for Serial fans ― Cosmopolitan
One of the classiest thrillers you'll read this year ― Charlotte Heathcote
About as good an example of Grip Lit as you could read ― Sunday Independent
Sophisticated, disturbing and with plenty of red herrings ― Woman and Home
We can't remember the last time a thriller burrowed under out skin like this. Sparkling characters, authentic emotion, and an unpredictable plot makes this a terrific read from start to end ― iBook, Books of the Month
An absorbing character study and a good choice for readers who want to really sink into a psychological thriller ― Booklist
A truly compelling tale of the fragility of memory and elusive redemption ― Kirkus Reviews
Black-Eyed Susans is a masterful thriller that shouldn't be missed . . . and in terms of suspense, characterizations and storytelling... is outstanding. Heaberlin's work calls to mind that of Gillian Flynn. Both writers published impressive early novels that were largely overlooked, and then one that couldn't be: Flynn's Gone Girl and now Heaberlin's Black-Eyed Susans. Don't miss it. ― Washington Post
Gripping... The suspense builds as Tessie uncovers devastating secrets from the past en route to the shocking ending ― Publishers Weekly
Terrific. Impeccable plotting ― Barry Forshaw
A spellbinding tale, at once both completely believable and utterly suspenseful - and once you reach the novel's perfect ending, you will want to read it again ― David Dow, Death Row investigator and author of Things I’ve learnt from Dying
This twisted tale is disturbing in the best way, rife with suspense and rich in eerie detail. A deeply creepy page-turner that you won't want to put down ― Laura McHugh, author of The Weight of Blood
With vivid, original prose that never misses its mark, Julia Heaberlin lures you into this psychologically astute and utterly riveting story of a victim left for dead by a serial killer, whose forgotten memories may hold the key to finding 'her monster.' As this dark journey into her past unfolds, you will race through the pages to discover the shocking secrets she thinks she wants to remember--only to find the truth lingering in your own mind long after you're done. A fascinating, twisted book ― Koethi Zan, author of Richard and Judy-selected THE NEVER LIST
In Julia Heaberlin's mesmerising novel, the haunted Tessa is the only survivor of a serial killer's reign of terror. But after several decades, she finds flowers planted outside her bedroom window. Is the murderous monster she escaped from still in prison - or closing in on her? In a crowded field, Heaberlin is something special, and clearly an author to whom close attention must be paid ― Barry Forshaw
The best thriller I have read in a very long time. Intelligent and very intriguing - this author's writing pulled me in immediately. I think it outshines both 'Gone Girl' or 'The Girl on the Train'. ― Brandie is a Book Junkie!
If readers looking for the next Gone Girl do pick it up, I guarantee they won't put it down. A classic page-turner. ― D Magazine
A sophisticated take on the serial killer novel ― Good Housekeeping
Excellent ― Crime Watch
an intriguing tale told by a compelling but unreliable narrator who struggles to remember details of her abduction as a teenager, but is convinced the wrong man faces execution for the crime ― Sunday Times Crime Club
An intriguing and twisty read... This is a very well written thriller with a cleverly structured plot ― My Reading Corner
In a grave under a patch of Black-eyed Susans, in a Texas field, a serial killer buries four girls. Three die. One survives. Sixteen-year-old Tessa, after several days with the three corpses, is traumatised. Her evidence in court results in a man being sentenced to death for murder. Tessa achieves a measure of normality and becomes a single mother and an artist. Now, nearly 20 years later, Black-eyed Susans are freshly planted outside her window and she's approached by lawyers trying to stop the imminent execution of the convicted man who is still on death row, claiming his innocence. The story is narrated in alternate chapters by the Tessa of 1995, soon to be a witness at the man's trial, and today's Tessa, tormented by the thought that if the wrong man has been convicted, the real killer is free and a danger to her and her daughter. But, we learn gradually, that Tessa has been keeping secrets too. It's a terrific plot, matched by the quality of the writing and superbly paced tension. ― The Times BOOK OF THE MONTH
It's a clever plot with perfectly paced tension and many shivers along the way ― The Times
The book is a delicious mix of well-researched facts, creative plot twists and a likable main character . . . a masterful storyteller ― Star Telegram
As well as a brilliant premise, the writing style keeps you hooked and at times is quite unsettling . . . it takes a lot of skill to be able to unnerve a reader like that, so hats off to Julia Heaberlin for writing such a gripping and atmospheric story that had me jumping every time I heard an unexpected noise. This book will draw you in and have you second guessing yourself page after page. Black Eyed Susans is probably one of the most cunningly clever and gripping thrillers I've read in a long while and I would recommend this as one of my top reads of the year so far ― Bookshelf Butterfly
A tense, beautifully written novel of survival and hope. Highly recommended ― William Landay, bestselling author of Richard and Judy-selected Defending Jacob
This is a deftly organised, impeccably paced psychological suspense thriller that nods to Daphne du Maurier and, like all Heaberlin's fiction, boasts purr-inducing prose ― Sunday Times, Culture Magainze
My book of the year so far. Breathtakingly, heart-stoppingly brilliant-- Sophie Hannah, internationally bestselling author of ― The Narrow Bed
I love this cover and I love this book, the super-creepy story of a woman who was rescued from a shallow grave as a teenager ― The Bookseller
The assured telling of this chiller combines to create a very modern Gothic horror that will keep you up way past your bedtime ― Sunday Mirror
There's a hint of Kathy Reichs, Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl and of Paula Hawkins's The Girl on the Train. Despite its dark subject matter, this is a hopeful book . . . the ending managed to be both surprising and satisfying. ― We Love This Book
The denouement is unexpected, plausible and perfectly satisfying . . . Black Eyed Susans is a thumping good mystery ― The Bookbag
If you like dark and disturbing psychological thrillers then Black Eyed Susans should definitely go on your list ― CrimeFictionLover.com
A fascinating, educated, highly absorbing read that I struggled to put down for any length of time. Any free moment was spent with my head in this book.
Intense, creepy and atmospheric, Black-Eyed Susans is a intelligent character driven masterpiece excellently paced with some great plot twists which had me guessing right to the very end ... brilliant!
Heaberlin drip-feeds an intriguing story at a tantalising pace . . . Heaberlin has written an intelligent, absorbing and well-researched page-turner that will delight fans of Megan Abbot and Tana French ― Daily Express
Fascinating details about identifying remains through bone and DNA analysis are woven through equally compelling present-day narration and flashbacks to Tessa's therapy sessions and trial testimony. The pieces can't come fast enough as the story builds to a shocking and satisfying conclusion. Deliciously twisty and eerie, Heaberlin's psychological suspense novel is intricately layered and instantly compelling ― An August LibraryReads Pick
A truly compelling tale of the fragility of memory and elusive redemption ― Kirkus Reviews - 9 Novels You Shouldn’t Miss Before Summer’s Over
This book is a rarity in that the research underpinning it is evident but not obtrusive. Black Eyed Susans is a fine achievement. It drips with authenticity, empathy and dread, meditating on the Death Penalty as well as offering an empathetic study of the life of a survivor. Take note - Julia Heaberlin belongs on every suspense fan's bookshelf ― Nudge Books
Creepy and compelling, Black-Eyed Susans is a shadowy and crooked journey to a very dark place indeed, a twisty fairytale that deceives you just when you think you've cracked it and a thriller to make you remember why you love thrillers. Don't miss it. ― Observer, Thriller of the Month
This is the debut novel of Julia Heaberlin, and again it's excellent . . . Beautifully written . . . It's a great book ― BBC Arts Show
A powerful thriller . . . With a fairy-tale-like atmosphere, the creepy thriller works insidiously on the senses . . . Clever, ingeniously manipulative and elegant. ― Maxim Jakubowski, Lovereading
This dark, complex thriller is not just a gripping page-turner, but also brilliantly explores the psychology of the victim ― Mail On Sunday, You Magazine Book of the Month
Black Eyed Susans is haunting, intense and original - it'll keep you guessing till the last page -- Closer
Taut, addictive, intelligent and impressive ― Express
Tense, pacy and compelling, Black-Eyed Susans is a taut psychological thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Julia Haeberlin masterfully ramps up the suspense gradually, building to an explosive denouement that you won't see coming. Quite simply, the best thriller you'll read this year - perhaps decade. Miss it at your peril. -- Sarah V. Taylor ― Keep Calm and Read a Book Reviews
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Top reviews from Australia
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This is not a book I will forget any time soon, I found it was original with many unique twists and turns. I didn't find it to be overly gruesome but it is super creepy that will keep you guessing to the very end.
I must mention the very beginning of the book, I was quite confused because each chapter alternates from 1995 to the present. Usually, this is a concept in writing that I quite enjoy, but I found myself having to go back to previous chapters to reread them so that I could continue on reading. After some time it seemed to find its rhythm and the rest of the story ran smoothly. My suggestion is to find somewhere quiet when you start this book because it is well worth persevering.
The story is about a horrendous crime that happened to 17 yr old Tessa who in 1995 was found barely alive in a pit with the dead body of a missing girl and some human bones covered in the flowers named Black Eyed Susans. A man is arrested and because of Tessa's testimony is facing death row. It seemed to be of no consequence to the prosecutor that Tessa had blackouts and couldn't remember anything about the actual crime even after therapy.
In the present, it is nearly 20 years since the crime. Tessa has a teenage daughter Charlie, for obvious reasons she is fiercely protective of. In regards to the crime, she still hasn't any answers to what happened that harrowing night. Tessa is reminded that she is the only surviving Black Eyed Susan when chilling occurrences begin to happen around her. Is the person doing this, an obsessed fan of the case or something more sinister? Is Tessa but more importantly Charlie safe? What if this person is the real killer?
Has the wrong man been put away? Many believe so, including Bill Hastings the lawyer working on the case and a brilliant forensic scientist Dr Jo Seger. Tessa agrees to work with them to try to find out the truth. The issue is they are racing against the clock, it is getting closer to the execution date.
I enjoyed the forensic science aspect especially in regards to how DNA is abstracted from old bone fragments. Don't worry about it being too scientific because it is written in layman terms so even the scientifically challenged such as myself can understand.
I really like the ending of the book obviously I can't tell you why, but I can tell you one aspect I thought was very well done is the way the author has informed the reader of where all the main characters are in their lives. I felt the book finished strong and definitely left a lasting impression.
4 out of 5 stars.
The backcover blurb alone had me itching to get hold of it.
I read this book in a night, so obviously it sucked me in. And I did really enjoy it... though my expectations were probably a little too high and it felt a little anti-climatic.
I liked the 16-17 year old Tessie and current day Tess. The latter's quandary felt very real. She doesn't want to remember but cannot forget. She has (however) pretty much moved on with her life, though carries with her a sense of responsibility for the 'Susans' who didn't make it.
Her relationship with daughter Charlie, Charlie's dad and her dottery neighbour all felt very real and I was very impressed with her resilience.
The book was well written and pretty much kept me guessing. However... my biggest frustration was that I felt like I was missing something. We never really learned what happened to Tess or why the killer dumped / moved the bodies when they did.
Read the full review on my blog:
Top reviews from other countries
An horrific ordeal on a young girl leaves her scarred both physically and mentally. Was the wrong an convicted.
Everyone was pleased at the time. But now an innocent man could go to the chair. And new evidence emerges to cast doubt on the original conviction. Surely someone knows the truth.
Read it when you have a few hours to spare.
I wanted a book that kept me guessing, a great story etc, this had it all.
Tessa was the only survivor in a grave surrounded by black eyed susans with the other victims of the serial killer. The book goes backwards and forwards between the past and present. In the past you find out about what happened after Tessa was found and the build up to the trial of the accused serial killer and Tessa testifying against him. In the present you read about Tessa fighting to clear the accused and free him from death row as she has known since three days after the original trial (17 years ago) that the actual serial killer is still out there as she being left black eyed susan flowers.
In my opinion the book is faultlessly written and kept me interested through every single page. I literally couldn't put it down and every chance o matter how short of time I had I was fitting in reading it wherever I could. If you enjoy "who done it" psychological thrillers then I highly doubt you will be disappointed by this book.
The story focuses on Tessa, the sole survivor of a serial killer. She can't remember much about what happened to her but has some doubt in her mind about whether the right man is on Death Row for it.
The narrative switches back and forth between past and present, mostly from Tessa's point of view as a teenager and an adult. There are also other points of view occasionally and court transcripts.
The relationship between young Tessie and her therapist were definitely my favourite parts. I was also fascinated by Lydia. I thought the book flowed well and it kept me interested throughout.
I did have a couple of issues with it but to disclose them here would potentially spoil parts of the book for others, so I'm not going to.
Having said that, Black-Eyed Susans was a very fun read in general. I guess I just expected a little more.
The book is well written and easy to get through, but there si little to no satisfaction at having really read something special by the end.