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Black-Eyed Susans

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  31,337 ratings  ·  3,375 reviews
For fans of Laura Lippman and Gillian Flynn comes an electrifying novel of stunning psychological suspense.

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
Hardcover, 354 pages
Published August 11th 2015 by Ballantine Books
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Angela The book really doesn't give too many details about what the serial killer did to the girls, which in my opinion was unfortunate because the story fel…moreThe book really doesn't give too many details about what the serial killer did to the girls, which in my opinion was unfortunate because the story felt not complete. But, to answer you question, you won't be freaked out by the minimal details it does offer.(less)
Kathie Watson Its a good read!! It keeps you guessing and its well written.

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Average rating 3.78  · 
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 ·  31,337 ratings  ·  3,375 reviews

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Elyse  Walters
Jun 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Update: Wow... I remember this book!
$1.99 Kindle special today!!! Great psychological thriller!!! I loved it. Reviews are mixed so read through several others. I think it's definitely a worthy read... with a great price tag to match.

Left to die in an abandon field in Texas, Forth Worth, Tessa, (16 years old), is covered in Black-Eye-Susan's...... CREEPY

She opens her eyes... but can't see anything. She is blind.......SCARY

Tessa can't remember anything......DISTRESSED & DISORIENTED

Two years late
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Sep 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kelly (and the Book Boar) by: sha. {"go book yourself"}
EDIT: Because I seriously wrote "outside her winder." WTF kind of hillbilly am I?!?!?!?!

Find all of my reviews at:

“The Susans are a greedy plant, often the first to thrive in scorched, devastated earth. Pretty, but competitive, like cheerleaders. They live to crowd out the others.”

Nearly twenty years ago Tessa Cartwright was labeled “the lucky one.” Rather than dying with the other ladies who occupied the ditch in which she was dumped, Tessa was rescued. Si
Diane S ☔
Jul 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
A big WOW. This book was terrifically suspenseful throughout. So well thought out and plotted, Haeberlin made nary a mistake. Loved the way the story is told, alternating chapters that introduce Tessie meeting with a psychiatrist shortly before the trial of the man identified as the killer, and years later as the man is nearing his execution date and she has doubts about her earlier identification.

So yes very well thought out but also deals with the unreliability and fragility of memories and t
Nov 03, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
Black Eyed Susans is yet another novel blurbed to be for Gillian Flynn fans. Perhaps it is for other Flynn fans, but not for me.

It had a powerful start, imagine a half-dead girl lying in a field of Black Eyed Susans with a dead girl and two sets of skeletons. She's the surviving Susan and she's eked out a pretty decent life for herself and her teen-aged daughter. That is until the countdown starts for the execution of the man wrongly convicted for the crime. Tessa breaks her silence in the atte
"I am one of the four Black-Eyed Susans. The lucky one."

I rarely read thrillers, but based on my limited experience with this genre, I would say that Black-Eyes Susans is a slow burn yet completely gripping story! Probably more my speed - in fact, more like a mystery rather than an intense thriller. At the age of sixteen, Tessie was left for dead in a grave along with the body of a recently killed young woman and a pile of bones with no name attached to them. Now fast forward to present day and
Dec 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Paula by: Mary
Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin is one of the finest psychological thrillers I have read. 17 year old Tessa is found barely alive and buried with other young women later called the Black-Eyed Susans. Tessa is the only survivor. A brilliant, creepy, chilling thriller where the author goes back to the past and to the present 20 years later with great skill. A killer is put in prison after the crime, but who is it planting black-eyed susans under Tessa's window 20-years later?

This is a suspen
Creepy as creepy gets.

Adult Tessa recounts her ordeal as a sixteen-year-old teen in a grave with four other girls. She was suppose to be dead, with a serial killer on the lose. Due to her fitness, she survived. The only one of the four Black-Eyed Susans who made it.

Seventeen years later someone is planting Black-Eyed Susans in her garden, while an innocent man is probably incarcerated all these years for the crime. His execution date is coming up, his lawyers is fighting to save him, and Tessa'
Jennifer Masterson
Aug 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Meh. This was just ok for me. It felt like it dragged quite a bit. I enjoyed Tessa from the past way more than present day Tessa. Too much CSI and not enough suspense in my opinion.

Aug 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Now this was a time-worthy book. We all know the feeling of grabbing a book that is popular and well promoted by its publisher only to be let down and disappointed. This one fills the bill to a tee for an attention-getting storyline.

And while the storyline is quite intriguing, it is Julia Heaberlin's talent for formulating descriptives and delicate passages that showcase her craft. She draws from personalized dialogue, scaling the void from past to present and back again, infusing deep-set scien
Melissa (Mel’s Bookshelf)
I love a good thriller and was so excited to get an advanced copy of Black-Eyed Susans as I have heard wonderful things about this upcoming book!

Thankfully I was not at all disappointed!

Tessa is only 16 when she is left for dead, the only survivor of a serial killer. The victims are known as "Black-Eyed Susans" - as their bodies were found in a field of Black-Eyed Susan flowers. The story is predominantly told from two perspectives. Tessa at 16 years of age (Tessie), having just survived the ter
Feb 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Cleverly Crafted Suspense Novel Lost Thrust After Premature Climax
3.5 stars

Black-Eyed Susans is a well-written, clever mystery novel, complete with a best teen buddy, a budding romance and a sexual tension that builds to a palpable purple. On the other hand, excessive flashbacks made the story hard to follow, losing me in large chunks.

After suffering the literary equivalent of untimely emissions, the novel's resolution is largely dubious.
“Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin, is a crime drama/psychological suspense novel, and creepy at times, but without the need of graphic violence.

The novel is set in Fort Worth, Texas, and I was first drawn to the vivid cover of a field full of “Black-Eyed Susans”. I have to admit when I first started this book I was confused and initially had difficulty following the direction of the novel, as the chapters alternate between present day and flashback. Tessie, aged 17 in 1995 and Tessa, aged 3
Dec 11, 2015 rated it liked it
The twist.... ummm DIS TEW MUCH. This is one of those books whee I kept thinking, yeah I've read this before. And then there was the twist and I was like, wait, WHAT? WHAT? HUH? I certainly kept turning pages to get to the end and see how it all unravels but oh I hated the twist. The last two parts kind of didn't make sense BUT all this said, there is a lot of ambition to this novel and the various pieces and I admire that. ...more
Amanda Jane
Black eyed Susans is a psychological thriller by Julia Heaberlin. I would wager this will not be the last we hear of this author.

This is not a book I will forget any time soon, I found it was original with many unique twists and turns. I didn't find it to be overly gruesome but it is super creepy that will keep you guessing to the very end.

I must mention the very beginning of the book, I was quite confused because each chapter alternates from 1995 to the present. Usually, this is a concept in
Dec 15, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Sadly a DNF for me. I got about 100 pages in over a week or so (slow for me) and then the next 50 pages were like wading through treacle and not in a good way. I think the construct of the novels what got me. As our protagonist Tessa looks back on her childhood she’s blocking events out, as you might if you were left for dead by a murderer, but sadly Heaberlin keeps us at such a distance we don’t connect and I sadly stopped caring and just got a bit bored. Oops.
May 30, 2020 rated it liked it
A literary law of diminishing returns. The premise was intriguing and the short chapters moved the story along at a good pace, but at some point it got bogged down in DNA, the story became repetitive and the more I read, the less involved I became. Yet I could still see my way to four stars for the storyline and writing, that is until the end. Too convenient and convoluted with several threads left dangling.

Digging back in the dusty to read piles has been an interesting experience --this has bee
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
Jun 26, 2015 rated it really liked it

Finished this a couple of days ago and had to let my thoughts settle. Story of Tessa, the lone survivor of the somewhat notorious Black Eyed Susan serial killer. Tessa had a difficult childhood, losing both her mother and father and being raised by her grandparents. She befriends the one girl in the class that others seem to shy away from. Lydia is a complex character, as a ch
Nov 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-books
Dear reader,

If you are in the mood for an utterly compelling psychological thriller that will keep you in tight suspense,then you need to treat yourself to this book!

Centred around an event that happened some seventeen years ago that saw Tessie survive being abducted and dumped in a grave with other girls,nicknamed the Black Eyed Susans,we are immediately enticed into this most beguiling of storylines.

Told from two perspectives,in alternate chapters,we are privy to the teenage Tessie, the only
Krystin Rachel
Book Blog | Bookstagram

This is just an OK book about O.J. Simpson... Oh, I’m sorry, it’s not about O.J. Simpson? He’s just talked about more than necessary? My bad.

So, this is a pretty good suspense-mystery that is not about O.J. Simpson. But who are we kidding? There really is no O.J. mystery.

He did it.

"I am the Cartwright girl, dumped once upon a time with a strangled college student and a stack of human bones out past Highway 10, in an abandoned patch of field near the Jenkins property. I
Jul 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The only reason this is missing a full star rating from me is because at the beginning I was confused [doesn't take much] because of going back and forth to the past/present. It wasn't as straight forward a layout for a lame person like me to adjust to quickly [blame it on middle age]

Black-Eyed Susans

Doesn't that title intrigue you? It did me. I had to look at what the book was about, then I was "oh I I NEED this book

At the start of me reading it, a fellow book friend I know on Goodreads [Ste
Jul 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
4.5 Stars

Black-Eyed Susans
is a suspenseful mystery that will keep you hooked and on the edge of your seat! I devoured this story in 24 hours.

At the age of sixteen Tessa was a miracle as the only survivor in the Black-Eyed Susan murders. She didn’t remember much about her abduction or the ordeal, and for many years she welcomed the unknown. Back then Tessa was struggling with her own mental survival, not really pondering whether the authorities had the right guy, Terrell Darcy Goodwin, on trial
Erin Dunn
May 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I won Black-Eyed Susans in a Goodreads giveaway. Thank you to Goodreads and Ballantine Books!

Black-Eyed Susans is the best thriller that I have read in awhile. It's such a completely captivating book. I love how the story expertly weaves from Tessa's past and back into the present. And kept me entertained in both the present and in the flashbacks! Also, there is some forensic science in the book and I liked that a lot. It seemed to me that the author reall
Jul 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am the Cartwright girl, dumped once upon a time with a strangled college student and a stack of human bones out past Highway 10, in an abandoned patch of field near the Jenkins property.
I am the star of screaming tabloid headlines and campfire ghost stories.
I am one of the four Black-Eyed Susans. The lucky one.

This book jumps between multiple points of time, from just after Tessa was found, to the current day, two decades later where she is a mom with a daughter almost the age that she was whe
Jun 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
The cover of this book initially drew me in - I know, never judge and all that - and when I read the description, I was truly intrigued. I am generally not crazy about amnesia stories, but there was this added dimension with questions of morality and the death penalty in Texas, which caught my attention, and made Black-Eyed Susans stand out.
The story centers around Tessa, a woman who was almost killed as a teenager, but whose memory of that event is hazy at best. The plot weaves smoothly from pa
Dec 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: suspense
I did not connect with this as well as others did. The mystery was good, it just took a really long time to get all the answers.

Typically I love short chapters, but with that and the bouncing back and forth from past to present, I found the flow to be a bit jarring. This was all meant to build up to the big reveal, but I think there is a lot that could have been cut out to help build more suspense or tension.

This is a rather lengthy read, and at times I did find my mind wandering. I kept hoping
Jul 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
I am very conflicted on this book due to the way the author wrote about Tessa liked her in the present not the past the Characters were totally psychotic & really did my head in there was a lot of CSI type of information i could not pronounce which was annoying but all in all a okay read for me.

17 year old Tessa dubbed a Black eyed Susan by the press became famous for being the only victim to survive the vicious attack of a serial killer, her testimony helped put a dangerous killer behind bars o
Oct 04, 2015 rated it liked it
This is my first read of a Julia Heaberlin novel and I was drawn to reading it by the not only the description of the book but also the impressive reviews I had read by other readers.

I found the book a little disappointing, although it was good in patches and showed promise I still felt generally that it didn't hold my full attention. The book alternates between the past and present but it's failing for me was that it was too slow.

The novel is set in Fort Worth, Texas, and tells the story of te
Jx PinkLady Reviews ♡ bookwormthoughts
Black-Eyed Susans opens with immediate intrigue but unfortunately the subtle telling did not engage my attention as much as I would have liked during the middle section. I feel the characters didn't give me quite enough of themselves and consequently I found that I did not greatly care for the outcome. Having said that the last 30% of this thriller turned the pace of the story up to a more engaging tempo. The court case is depicted from this point and the climax unfolds brilliantly, I truly wish ...more
Oct 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this mystery/thriller. Took me a bit to get really into but was 'full steam ahead' once I did. The ending was easily one of the best twists I've read this year... I did not see it coming at all. High recommendation. ...more
Eleanor (bookishcourtier)
me: *sees pretty book*
me: ok it is a thriller
me: i'll try something different
me: *reads creepy sounding blurb*
me: should be good
me: *is disappointed*

If the above tells you anything, it is that I thought this book was pretty, and that is basically the reason why I read it. I did think that the blurb sounded kind of creepy, and I actually did want to read a thriller to kind of mix up the genre of books I read a bit, but I chose this one in particular because of the cover. Look at the pretty flow
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Julia Heaberlin is the author of the international bestseller BLACK-EYED SUSANS and PAPER GHOSTS, a finalist for Best Novel of the year by the International Thriller Writers. WE ARE ALL THE SAME IN THE DARK, her latest psychological thriller, has received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Her books have sold to more than twenty countries, including two other psychological thrillers set in T ...more

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