Black Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin
Published by Michael Joseph
13th August 2015
A chilling new thriller that gets into the heart and mind of the killer, and the victim . . .
Seventeen-year-old Tessa, dubbed a 'Black-Eyed Susan' by the media, became famous for being the only victim to survive the vicious attack of a serial killer. Her testimony helped to put a dangerous criminal behind bars - or so she thought.
Now, decades later the black-eyed susans planted outside Tessa's bedroom window seem to be a message from a killer who should be safely in prison.
Haunted by fragmented memories of the night she was attacked and terrified for her own teenage daughter's safety, can Tessa uncover the truth about the killer before it's too late?
I raced through this novel by Julia Heaberlin, and I really enjoyed it. Thankfully there was no sloppy ending as I've experienced with some crime/thriller novels over the past year or so, and actually, this would make a really great movie. At the age of 17, Tessie is the only survivor of the 'Black-Eyed Susan' serial killer, found in a hole amongst some of the other discarded bodies. A defect in the way her heart beats led her to appear to have stopped breathing, thus ensuring she survived. Fast-forward twenty years, and Tessa, as she prefers to be known, isn't fully convinced that the right man is serving time for this crime on death row.
Terrell Darcy Goodman is a condemned man, with only a few weeks to live before his date to die reaches fruition, but not if his law team can help it. They are still convinced that he is not the serial killer he has been convicted of being, and with Tessa's help, they aim to get him a stay of execution.
Tessa isn't convinced either, because if Terrell Darcy Goodman is in fact the killer, then who has been planting the flowers synonymous with her attack, near to her home, for the past two decades?
I thought this was well-paced and a gripping read. There are lots of suspects and un-savoury characters floating around, as well as an old, and new love interest for Tessa, not to mention the life of her own daughter Charlie, who she wants to protect from the past as much as possible. Is the right man on death row, or is the black-eyed susan killer still out there?