Black-Eyed Susans – Julia Heaberlin

Publication date 13th August 2015 by Penguin UK, Michael Joseph


Seventeen-year-old Tessa, dubbed a ‘Black-Eyed Susan’ by the media, became famous for being the only victim to survive the vicious attack of a serial killer. Her testimony helped to put a dangerous criminal behind bars – or so she thought.

Now, decades later the black-eyed susans planted outside Tessa’s bedroom window seem to be a message from a killer who should be safely in prison.

Haunted by fragmented memories of the night she was attacked and terrified for her own teenage daughter’s safety, can Tessa uncover the truth about the killer before it’s too late?

My thoughts

This is a book I whizzed through in a day. I had very mixed feelings about it.

We see Tessa in the past and in the present. She was the only surviving victim of the ‘Black Eyed Susans’ killer, who she testified against to put behind bars. We see her as a teenager, after the event talking to a therapist and being reluctant to engage in therapy. Tessa has a mind of her own. Fast forward to the present day and under Texan law, the killer is about to be executed. Tessa becomes part of the team trying to get the sentence over turned. She cannot remember exactly what happened to her. But Tessa knows that the killer is still out there.

The narrative jumps back and forth, to the present and past. Slowly it becomes clear what has happened to Tessa and how this has impacted on her. Young Tessie is much more interesting, than her older counterpart. I found her conversations with the therapist the strongest part of the whole book.

Sadly this book took far too long to get going. The pace was just too slow moving. I was irritated by the older Tessa and the constant reference to flowers. It was creepy in a low key way, with the killer/stalker waiting in the shadows. It just wasn’t creepy enough.

I really didn’t connect that well with it all. I’m sure this book will find plenty of fans, who will appreciate Tessa and the atmosphere more than I did. It failed to hit the mark with me.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for my review copy!

This book has also been reviewed by Liz at Lizlovesbooks who loved it! Liz’s review


About Northern Crime

Reviewer with a mind of her own. This is a collection of book reviews, which started in 2014. Mostly crime and odd other genres thrown in. Some I loved. Some I loathed. You get the picture.
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2 Responses to Black-Eyed Susans – Julia Heaberlin

  1. Respect for whizzing through this in a day! I’ve got a hardback copy, but it’ll take me much longer to read than a day. 😉

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