Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin

I love reading mysteries and thrillers that deals with what happens after a traumatic accident. What happens to that person who was rescued or who has gone through some kind of terrible/horrific tragedy? How do they start viewing the world and how does that change things? Maybe it’s the psychology student in me but I’ve always found this area to be fascinating. Throw in some more crazy plot twists, and I get super excited! So before I go on and on and spoil the whole story plot for this novel, here is my review:

16-year old Tessa Cartwright was found buried in a field in Texas, barely alive and surrounded by scattered bones. She has no idea how she got there or who did this to her. Since she is the only survivor, she has become known as the “Black-Eyed Susan”, a nickname given to the murder victims because of the yellow wildflowers that covered their grave site. After being hounded by the press for months on end, Tessa is finally trying to move on with her life. She even manages to give a testimony about those tragic hours, a testimony that puts a man on death row. Now, almost two decades later, certain events make Tessa believe that the wrong man is behind bars. It’s up to Tessa to go back into her memories and find out what really happened all of those years ago…. before the real killer comes back for her.

Let me start by saying that the story plot is intriguing and it kept me going throughout the novel. I just had to know who it was and what was happening. I liked that the story switched from one time-point and POV to the other; it made it all the more fascinating. Reading about the trauma and the struggles that Tessa goes through as she tries to be “normal” was also very interesting and felt very realistic, which is something I always like. That being said, there were parts to the ending that definitely fell short for me. Although I would never have been able to guess who the real killer was nor how everything played out, there were a lot of unanswered questions. Also, I didn’t like how the author just dismissed some of the behaviours that Tessa did as mere paranoia on the character’s part; although it works with the story, it would have been better if there had been some significance to it all. It definitely kept me occupied and I was not able to put it down, so that is a good sign! Is it on Gillian Flynn’s level? No. But it was definitely a good read and I would recommend it to anyone who likes light thrillers with a psychological flair.

Happy reading ~

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