Friday, September 18, 2015

Review: Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin


For fans of Laura Lippman and Gillian Flynn comes an electrifying novel of stunning psychological suspense.

A girl’s memory lost in a field of wildflowers.
A killer still spreading seeds.

At seventeen, Tessa became famous for being the only surviving victim of a vicious serial killer. Her testimony put him on death row. Decades later, a mother herself, she receives a message from a monster who should be in prison. Now, as the execution date rapidly approaches, Tessa is forced to confront a chilling possibility: Did she help convict the wrong man?

Publication Date: August 11, 2015

Black-Eyed Susans is a tough book to rate. For most of the novel, I was completely enthralled with the plot. Psychological suspense is one of my favorite genres and I really love when an author like Heaberlin can keep a reader guessing. Until the conclusion, the book was five stars all day long. I just felt like the way that the novel ended left me with too many unanswered questions.

I liked both versions of the main character Tessa: the teenaged version in therapy following an attempted murder attempt as well as adult Tessa who is continuously haunted by the holes in her memory about the night of her abduction. I thought the setup was good and I really wanted to find out what Tessa had locked away in her mind.

The writing in the book is exceptional. It was moody and beautiful and I felt instantly transported into Tessa’s dark memories. The author really made me want to uncover the mysteries along with Tessa. The suspense in the book was powerful as the countdown commences on whether or not the wrong killer will be executed.

The book contains a lot of tidbits that I found intriguing. The author obviously did her research as the book delves into the use of DNA derived from bone fragments in order to identify the serial killer’s victims. I also appreciated the random serial killer trivia sprinkled in throughout the story.

I didn’t guess the ending at all. And despite my surprise over the revelations, I really didn’t love how the story wrapped up. I just felt like the story was building up to a very dramatic conclusion that I never got.

Despite my slight disappointment in the ending, I would still recommend Black-Eyed Susans and I’m eager to read more from the author

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review! 


  1. I don't like the sound of that ending, but everything else about this book sounds really good and suspenseful. I just snagged a copy from the library. I can't wait to read it!

  2. Suspense that leaves me without a pow factor is no good. I love murder mystery novels :) Excellent review. Thanks for sharing!!