Black-Eyed Susans

Ballantine. Aug. 2015. 368p. ISBN 9780804177993. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780804178006. F
OrangeReviewStarAt 16, Tessa Cartwright was found barely alive in a field of black-eyed Susans among the remains of multiple female victims, one recently dead and the others only bones. As an adult, Tessa is still haunted by the voices of the other "Susans," and she lives in fear for her own teenage daughter's safety. Now, as the execution of the man convicted of the crimes draws near, Tessa discovers an ominous patch of black-eyed Susans planted outside her home in the dead of winter and must grapple with her "monster" possibly still being on the loose. Both the secrets she has been keeping purposefully and the traumatic memories trapped in her mind weigh heavily as Tessa is finally compelled to seek the truth. Fascinating details about identifying remains through bone and DNA analysis are woven through equally compelling present-day narration and flashbacks to Tessa's therapy sessions and trial testimony. The pieces can't come fast enough as the story builds to a shocking and satisfying conclusion.
VERDICT Deliciously twisty and eerie, Heaberlin's (Lie Still; Playing Dead) third psychological suspense novel is intricately layered and instantly compelling. [An August LibraryReads Pick.—Ed.]
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