Black-Eyed Susans (Paperback)

A Novel of Suspense

By Julia Heaberlin

Ballantine Books, 9780804178013, 368pp.

Publication Date: May 31, 2016

List Price: 16.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Description

TOP 5 SUNDAY TIMES AND USA TODAY BESTSELLER • For fans of Laura Lippman and Gillian Flynn comes an electrifying novel of stunning psychological suspense.

“My book of the year so far . . . breathtakingly, heart-stoppingly brilliant.”—Sophie Hannah, New York Times bestselling author of The Monogram Murders

I am the star of screaming headlines and campfire ghost stories. I am one of the four Black-Eyed Susans. The lucky one.

As a sixteen-year-old, Tessa Cartwright was found in a Texas field, barely alive amid a scattering of bones, with only fragments of memory as to how she got there. Ever since, the press has pursued her as the lone surviving “Black-Eyed Susan,” the nickname given to the murder victims because of the yellow carpet of wildflowers that flourished above their shared grave. Tessa’s testimony about those tragic hours put a man on death row.

Now, almost two decades later, Tessa is an artist and single mother. In the desolate cold of February, she is shocked to discover a freshly planted patch of black-eyed susans—a summertime bloom—just outside her bedroom window. Terrified at the implications—that she sent the wrong man to prison and the real killer remains at large—Tessa turns to the lawyers working to exonerate the man awaiting execution. But the flowers alone are not proof enough, and the forensic investigation of the still-unidentified bones is progressing too slowly. An innocent life hangs in the balance. The legal team appeals to Tessa to undergo hypnosis to retrieve lost memories—and to share the drawings she produced as part of an experimental therapy shortly after her rescue.

What they don’t know is that Tessa and the scared, fragile girl she was have built a  fortress of secrets. As the clock ticks toward the execution, Tessa fears for her sanity, but even more for the safety of her teenaged daughter. Is a serial killer still roaming free, taunting Tessa with a trail of clues? She has no choice but to confront old ghosts and lingering nightmares to finally discover what really happened that night.

Shocking, intense, and utterly original, Black-Eyed Susans is a dazzling psychological thriller, seamlessly weaving past and present in a searing tale of a young woman whose harrowing memories remain in a field of flowers—as a killer makes a chilling return to his garden.

Praise for Black-Eyed Susans

“A masterful thriller that shouldn’t be missed . . . brilliantly conceived, beautifully executed . . . [Julia] Heaberlin’s work calls to mind that of Gillian Flynn. Both writers published impressive early novels that were largely overlooked, and then one that couldn’t be: Flynn’s Gone Girl and now Heaberlin’s Black-Eyed Susans. Don’t miss it.”The Washington Post

“[A] gem of a novel . . . richly textured, beautifully written . . . Tension builds, and the plot twists feel earned as well as genuinely surprising.”The Boston Globe

“A tense, slow-burning, beautifully written novel of survival and hope. Highly recommended.”—William Landay, New York Times bestselling author of Defending Jacob

“Deliciously twisty and eerie, Heaberlin’s third psychological suspense novel is intricately layered and instantly compelling.”Library Journal (starred review)

“Brilliant . . . a breakout book.”Fort Worth Star-Telegram


From the Hardcover edition.


About the Author

Julia Heaberlin is the author of Black-Eyed Susans, Lie Still, and Playing Dead. She is an award-winning journalist who has worked at the Fort-Worth Star Telegram, The Detroit News, and The Dallas Morning News. She grew up in Texas and lives with her family near Dallas/Fort Worth, where she is at work on her next novel of psychological suspense.


From the Hardcover edition.


Praise For Black-Eyed Susans: A Novel of Suspense

“My book of the year so far . . . breathtakingly, heart-stoppingly brilliant.”—Sophie Hannah, New York Times bestselling author of The Monogram Murders

“A masterful thriller that shouldn’t be missed . . . brilliantly conceived, beautifully executed . . . Both as a portrait of modern, urban Texas, and in terms of suspense, characterizations and storytelling, Black-Eyed Susans is outstanding. . . . The answers are as astonishing as they are finally believable. [Julia] Heaberlin’s work calls to mind that of Gillian Flynn. Both writers published impressive early novels that were largely overlooked, and then one that couldn’t be: Flynn’s Gone Girl and now Heaberlin’s Black-Eyed Susans. Don’t miss it.”The Washington Post
 
“[A] gem of a novel . . . richly textured, beautifully written . . . Tension builds, and the plot twists feel earned as well as genuinely surprising.”The Boston Globe
 
“A tense, slow-burning, beautifully written novel of survival and hope. Highly recommended.”—William Landay, New York Times bestselling author of Defending Jacob
 
“Deliciously twisty and eerie, Heaberlin’s third psychological suspense novel is intricately layered and instantly compelling.”Library Journal (starred review)
 
“A breakout book . . . Heaberlin maintains her tight grip on narrative control, expertly maintaining the delightful, nail-biting suspense. . . . It’s her emerging talent as a masterful storyteller that sets this book apart.”Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“Heaberlin does a neat job, in Black-Eyed Susans, of making us care. . . . [She’s] a pro who strengthens her theme of judicial prejudice by referring to the O.J. Simpson trial and by drawing our attention to the morbid regularity of executions in Texas prisons.”The New York Times Book Review

“A terrific plot, matched by the quality of the writing and superbly paced tension.”The Times (U.K.)
 
“Utterly riveting and relentlessly creepy, Black-Eyed Susans will keep you up into the late hours turning pages and checking your locks.”—Deb Caletti, National Book Award Finalist and author of He’s Gone

“Perfect for readers looking for something to pick up after The Girl on the Train.”LibraryReads (Top Ten Pick)
 
“Gripping . . . The suspense builds as Tessie uncovers devastating secrets from the past en route to the shocking ending.”Publishers Weekly
 
“If readers looking for the next Gone Girl do pick it up, I guarantee they won’t put it down. Because the story . . . is a classic page-turner.”D Magazine
 
“A truly compelling tale of the fragility of memory and elusive redemption.”Kirkus Reviews
 
“An absorbing character study and a good choice for readers who want to really sink into a psychological thriller.”Booklist
 
“The spectacularly dark and twisty story of what happened to one young Texas girl, and the ghosts who refuse to let her rest. I didn’t want it to end—but I couldn’t put it down.”—Carla Buckley, author of The Deepest Secret
 
“A twisted tale of how evil makes its mark, Black-Eyed Susans winds a net around the reader, shifting time, perspective, and events until the only sure thing is the pulsing question at the heart of this novel: What happens when a ruthless predator leaves one of his victims alive?”—Jenny Milchman, author of Cover of Snow
 
“A suspenseful page turner of the best kind! . . . Black-Eyed Susans is written in such a tantalizing way that you will be hard pressed to stop reading until you also have the answers. There is a bit of everything here—mystery, terror, suspense and romance. The ending is shocking, jaw-dropping, and one you never see coming. In short, Black-Eyed Susans is a book to be relished!”Fresh Fiction

“This twisted tale is disturbing in the best way, rife with suspense and rich in eerie detail. I would recommend Black-Eyed Susans to anyone who enjoys psychological thrillers—it’s a deeply creepy page-turner that you won’t want to put down.”—Laura McHugh, author of The Weight of Blood
 
“A spellbinding tale, at once both completely believable and utterly suspenseful—and once you reach the novel’s perfect ending, you will want to read it again.”—David R. Dow, author of Things I’ve Learned From Dying


From the Hardcover edition.