Black-eyed Susans

Black-eyed Susans

A Novel of Suspense

Book - 2015
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"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"--Dust jacket flap.
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, [2015]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780804177993
Characteristics: 354 pages ; 25 cm


From Library Staff

This fast-paced suspense novel alternates between present-day single mom Tessa Cartwright and her teen-aged self in 1995, both coping with the aftereffects of being kidnapped by a serial killer and buried alive with other victims. Tessa remembers almost nothing about the 30 hours that she was mis... Read More »

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jun 09, 2018

Took forever to get through this one but didn't give up with the hopes that it would get better. It didn't. What really turned me off this story was the religious references. If that is a common theme of her books, I will pass. It's too bad because I was looking forward to reading Paper Ghosts. The forensic information was interesting however.

May 04, 2018

You chase reality around and then you think "I know the answer!" And then you turn the page and think "maybe not". It' s a very good book.

Jun 25, 2016

30 pages later and I was still reading 'witty' and 'analytical' remarks of the main character to her shrink. 50 pages later and gave up linking her 'smartness' to her life adventures and black eyed Susans. Mind you, 50 pages later there was no clue as to why that name was chosen or how it was associated with that flower. I sent the book back as soon as I realized that I learned nothing about anything having read those 50 pages, and I have zero interest to anyone who tries hard to be a 'smart' and pretentious cookie and that exactly what the main female character is. Not my read at all.

May 26, 2016

I started off loving this book and couldn't put it down. HOWEVER, 2/3's of the way through I felt totally manipulated and the "who-done-it? You're kidding, right?

Feb 21, 2016

After reading this book I want to read more by Heaberlin. The fast-paced narrative is told by a strong female character, Tessa, who was left by dead in a grave with other girls. Switching from the events that followed the crime to current times, we see Tessa’s conflict and worry that the murderer is still out there. Working with a forensic bone specialist and a lawyer, she is convinced the wrong man is behind bars. It wasn’t until the end that I realized how Heaberlin managed to create the feeling that something is not right with two prominent characters, but it’s not until the very end that the pieces are all put in place.

Dec 18, 2015

Not very well developed and slightly confusing.

Dec 09, 2015

I loved Julia's first two novels, and waited anxiously for the third book. I was disappointed. After the first few chapters I finally got into the swing of switching between Tessa and Tessie. This was actually an effective way to tell the backstory and current action. Then this rhythm abruptly changed over to Tessa and Lydia. As we raced to the climax and resolution, I felt cheated. The resolution was faulty and unsatisfying. I was left wanting more. I will add, however, as always, I enjoyed the male counterpart to the heroine. Bill was a well written character, and I wanted more of his grounded wisdom. Who am I to critique Julia Heaberlin? Let's just call me a strong, but disillusioned fan. Guess you can't win them all.

Dec 01, 2015

Poorly written, disjointed and confusing.

ehbooklover Nov 10, 2015

A psychological thriller that grabbed me from the very beginning and would not let go. On top of the never-ending suspense, this book was full of interesting and eccentric characters and had lots of twists and turns that kept me guessing right up until the end. Highly recommended for fans of Gillian Flynn.

Oct 30, 2015

The “Black Eyed Susans” were the girls found left in a hole in a field of the black and yellow flowers. Some were mere skeletons, while some were freshly dead. But one survived. Tessie.

Black Eyed Susans is a thrilling novel that bounces from the present day Tessa (her name now), and Tessie after the attack. Tessie is an angry, angsty teenager who has to go through a lot of challenges after she is found and brought safely home. Tessa is a single mother of a teenage daughter who is helping to exonerate the man who was wrongfully convicted as her kidnapper and attempted murderer. The contrast between these two points of view gives the reader a well-rounded perspective of the crime, the aftermath, and Tessa’s life as an adult, trying to figure out what actually happened to her on that fateful day.

This is one of my favorites of the year. It’s packed with twists, shocking revelations, and an ending you won’t see coming.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at CPL

To Top