Tuesday, July 28, 2015

ARC REVIEW Black-Eyed Susan's by Julia Heaberlin

Black-Eyed Susans is a psychological thriller by a local author (for me) Julia Heaberlin. I have read her debut novel Playing Dead and loved it. Black-Eyed Susans screwed with my mind way more and that just the way I like 'em; the creepier the better. Julia Heaberlin has a wonderful, intelligent and informative writing style; she infuses just the right amount of history to her setting to give you as a reader a feeling that you know the place as well. You can tell a lot of research went in to the book and even the format of how the book is written feeds into the your feelings of the characters. The majority of the book flips flops between seventeen year old Tessie, and her grownup self, Tessa. I love how it does that you get to know her post-trauma and at the same time who she is as a person now,a mother of a teen-age daughter herself. I have been known to complain about flashback scenes, but these are not exactly flashbacks she's not remembering them. It's done right it with two separate POVs clearly marked. If she had written it chronologically with Tessie's story first then skipped ahead it wouldn't of had the same impact when you got to the "what a twist" moment. I really enjoyed all the characters, they all have their place in the story they are well written and very believable.

Tessa is the lone survivor of a serial killer. The last thing she remembers is buying a few thing at the gas station before going on her nightly run; the next hing she sees is a black bird trying to peck out her eyes. Years later Tessa still doesn't remember what happened in the missing time, she testified her story and never really knew if it was the right man or not, she just hoped Terrell Goodwin was. Now with the execution date getting closer Tessa has enough doubt that she joins forces with William "Bill" Hastings, the lawyer working pro bono for Terrell Goodwin; and DNA Forensic scientist Joanna Seger, to try and get an appeal for Terrell. Joanna works the scientific angle while Bill tries to help Tessa remember.

Tessie is happy and lucky to be alive, she was left in a ditch surrounded by black-eyed susans with dead bodies to keep her company. Tessie after getting rescued and in the hospital suffered a set back, she suddenly went blind; clinically called Conversion Disorder laymen terms hysterical blindness. Now she has to visit one last psychiatrist before testifying. She works reluctantly with him to get past her blindness and remember what happened. Her rock through it all her best friend Lydia plays a big part in keeping her normal and sane.

The story progresses on Tessa starts remember more as Joanna discovers things they didn't have the technology to find all those years ago. Tessa is haunted by the other Susans and tormented by out of season black-eyed susans being planted out side her window. Tessa and Joanna start up an unlikely friendship while Bill tries to start something more than friendship with Tessa. Tessa is just trying to get through he days without losing her mind or driving her daughter crazy or vise versa. The pieces start to fall in to place as the clock ticks closer to Terrell's execution.

Overall, it was a great book, I couldn't put it down.        

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