Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication date: August 11th 2015
My rating: 4.5 stars
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
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.
Black-Eyed Susans is a suspenseful mystery that will keep you hooked and on the edge of your seat! I devoured this story in 24 hours.
At the age of sixteen Tessa was a miracle as the only survivor in the Black-Eyed Susan murders. She didn’t remember much about her abduction or the ordeal, and for many years she welcomed the unknown. Back then Tessa was struggling with her own mental survival, not really pondering whether the authorities had the right guy, Terrell Darcy Goodwin, on trial. Now eighteen years later strange happenings make her think maybe they were wrong. When an anti-death penalty advocacy group contacts Tessa to help re-examine Terrell’s case, initially, even with the nagging doubts, she’s reluctant to participate. Getting involved opens Tessa and her teenage daughter up to public scrutiny and attention, and brings up memories she’d rather forget, but a man’s life is at stake.
Flashbacks from the past alternating with chapters in the present slowly reveal Tessa’s story. The time jumps were brilliant! The tension progressively ratcheted up with each morsel of truth dealt out. I had suspicions about the killer’s identity, but then I’d be led in another direction or a little twist would pop up and muddle my conclusions. I love it when an author can keep my guessing! My feelings over the final reveal were a mixture of astonishment and horror, especially in regards to one character in particular! The last chapters and journal entries were a chilling peek into twisted thoughts.
For any romance junkies who wonder (like me) there was a little bit of romance, but it’s a very minor part of the story. Still, I’m happy it was included.