TOP 5 SUNDAY TIMES AND USA TODAY BESTSELLER • 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.
This ebook edition contains a special preview of Julia Heaberlin’s Paper Ghosts.
Praise for Black-Eyed Susans
“A masterful thriller that shouldn’t be missed . . . brilliantly conceived, beautifully executed . . . [Julia] 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.”—The Washington Post
“[A] gem of a novel . . . richly textured, beautifully written . . . Tension builds, and the plot twists feel earned as well as genuinely surprising.”—The Boston Globe
“A tense, slow-burning, beautifully written novel of survival and hope. Highly recommended.”—William Landay, New York Times bestselling author of Defending Jacob
“My book of the year so far . . . breathtakingly, heart-stoppingly brilliant.”—Sophie Hannah, New York Times bestselling author of The Monogram Murders
“Deliciously twisty and eerie, Heaberlin’s third psychological suspense novel is intricately layered and instantly compelling.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“Brilliant . . . a breakout book.”—Fort Worth Star-Telegram
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
We can’t remember the last time a thriller burrowed under our skin like this. Shifting between past and present, Black-Eyed Susans tells the story of Tessa, a protective single mother who was the sole survivor of a serial killer who dumped the remains of his teenage victims in a field of flowers. A series of chilling events convinces Tessa that the wrong man stands to be executed for these horrific crimes—and that the real monster is still out there, warning her to stay quiet or he’ll hurt those dearest to her. Sparkling characters, authentic emotion, and an unpredictable plot make this a terrific read from start to end.
This gripping psychological thriller from Heaberlin (Lie Still) alternates between the present and 1995, when 16-year-old Tessie Cartwright went missing and was subsequently found in a Texas wheat field covered by black-eyed Susans, barely alive, on top of three female corpses, two long dead and one only about a day old. Though the traumatized Tessie can recall only flashes of the incident, she testifies in the trial against accused serial killer Terrell Darcy Goodwin; Terrell is sentenced to death but is still alive on death row years later when someone plants black-eyed Susans in Tessie's yard, a possible taunt from the real perpetrator. Still lacking recall, Tessie nevertheless agrees to help a group that fights to get death row convictions stayed or overturned. Aided by Terrell's defense attorney and a DNA expert, she races to find evidence sufficient to prevent Terrell's execution and to discover what really happened. The suspense builds as Tessie uncovers devastating secrets from the past en route to the shocking ending.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Outstanding; hard to put down
I could not stop reading this book. It is so well-written, poetic. The sprinkles of suspense are amazing. And then the end!!! I woke up early in the morning to finish the last part of the book before work. This is a must-read!!!
I finished this book in about 2 days. I enjoyed the book shifting from present day to the past quite often. That alone kept me intrigued and made me want to keep reading. The story line was great and the ending phenomenal! Loved the book.
Black Eyed Susan's
Wow! Really good read, enjoyed the characters.