Review: Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin

Review: Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin
Black-Eyed Susans

3.5 Stars

Book Info

Released: August 11, 2015
Length: 10 hrs and 9 mins
Pages: 354
 

“I think the author could’ve taken this story in many directions, and the story might’ve suffered a bit from the simplicity of it all.”
~ Under the Covers

When I saw the premise of this book I thought it was so interesting I couldn’t wait to read more.  The heroine, Tessa, is the lone survivor of a serial killer who kidnapped her and left her for dead at sixteen.  The mark of that killer was leaving the bodies on a fresh bed of blackeyed susans, which is why the victims took on that name.  A suspect was found and convicted then with not much else but Tessa’s testimony.  A testimony that she may not have had enough recollection of what happened to give.  Now an adult, a single mother to a teenage daughter, she’s looking for answers as the man behind bars is scheduled to be executed for the murders.  The reason?  A fresh bed of blackeyed susans has been planted by her house mysteriously a few times over the years.  So is the killer still  on the loose and they are going to execute the wrong man?

That premise…. catnip for me I tell you!  In practicality though, this novel lacked suspense and it read more like a crime scene investigation.  Clues and quite a bit of running around, while this story is told from dual perspectives, Teenage Tessa and Present Day Tessa, as she tries to remember things that might help her find out the truth.  I enjoyed the style of narration because it allowed us to find out things as Tessa was as well, but there was no other suspense element to the story other than that.

I think the author could’ve taken this story in many directions, and the story might’ve suffered a bit from the simplicity of it all.  I for one had a lot of scenarios that seemed they could’ve made the story a bit darker, but that’s not what happens here.  It’s a good resolution, I just think there could’ve been better ones.

Aside from plot, I think the pacing of this novel was slow.  Nevertheless, the writing was great so it definitely still kept me engaged enough and reading but with less of a hook than I was expecting.

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About Julia Heaberlin

Julia Heaberlin is an award-winning journalist who has worked for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Detroit News and The Dallas Morning News. Before launching her career as an author, she was an assistant managing editor over features sections at large metropolitan newspapers. Many of those sections won national and state journalism awards. The Star-Telegram Life & Arts section was named as one of the Top 10 sections in the country during her tenure. She has edited real-life thriller stories that inform her writing, including a series on the perplexing and tragic murders of random girls and women buried in the desert in Mexico and another on the frightened women of domestic violence. She lives with her husband and son in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, where she is a free-lance writer and is at work on her fourth book.

Photo credit Jill Johnson.

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Amy R

Thanks for the review, not much for Thrillers.

Kathleen Bylsma

Hmmmm. Won’t be a number one but I’ll give it a go if I find it. Thanks!

Elizabeth

The premise really is intriguing… I may try it … thanks

Timitra

Thanks for the review Francesca

Bube

This book is on my TBR 😀
Thanks for the great review Francesca 🙂