Book Review

Black Eyed Susans -Juliaa Heaberlin

book-review-spoiler-free

22nd January to 25th January ~ Audio ~ Link to Goodreads

Black-Eyed Susans

Synopsis:

I am the star of screaming tabloid headlines and campfire ghost stories. I am one of the four Black-Eyed Susans. The lucky one.
Left with three other girls in a grave shrouded by black-eyed Susans, Tessa alone survived, her testimony helping to put a killer behind bars.
Now, sixteen years later, he is about to be executed. But Tessa feels no relief.
Because someone is planting black-eyed Susans outside her window. Someone is sending her daughter sinister messages. And there’s a lawyer telling her the man about to be put to death is innocent.
Which can mean only one thing: the wrong man has been sentenced, the real killer is still out there and Tessa might not be the last Black-Eyed Susan..

Review:

It has been a while since I’ve read a thriller and this one had been sitting on my shelf for about a year when I unwrapped it in January. I’ll admit this was a complete cover buy for me which in the end turned out to be a little bit of a waste because I listened to the entire book.

The plot is divided between current day Tessa and Tessa when she was 17 just after she survived. The audio was done by two different people to show this divide in time but I think it was pretty obvious even without this. Sometimes in split time-line books it can be really tricky to get it right because the protagonist blends in but current day Tessa had grown up and was in a much better place than 17 year old Tessa so it was never a struggle to keep track of what time you were reading about.

I think that Young Tessa was written very well. She had obviously been through a very traumatic event and it didn’t just brush this away and move past it, it mentioned how angsty it had made her and how she had seen several counselors.  It felt very real and quite raw to listen to the book in her POV chapters struggling not only to come to terms with what had happened and the trial going on but also normal every day teenage life.

Older Tessa was also a great POV to listen to. Grown up with a kid of her own you can tell that she is in a better and more stable place but that she is still haunted by what happened. The author did a fantastic job of portraying her as older and wiser but still keeping true to herself.

Though I have a lot of praise for protagonist in this book I did feel everyone else mentioned was very Meh and forgettable. In fact without picking up my copy of the book and scanning through I wouldn’t even be able to tell you the name of Young Tessa’s best friend and she was a constant throughout both timelines either being present or mentioned. This was a let down for me because I like a book with a good cast of characters even if it is just 2 or 3.

The plot was pretty standard too though the ending was a little different to what I was expecting overall. It felt really suspenseful and exactly what you’d want in a thriller for the most part but as it built and built toward the end I found myself wondering if that was it when it ended. The synopsis says “the real killer is still out there and Tessa might not be the last Black-Eyed Susan” and this is another thing that drew me to the book but if you’re looking for a book with a bit of darkness and a few killings in it this is not going to be your bag. I was totally here for a repeat of what had happened to Tessa (as bad as that sounds) but this never happened.

Overall: I’m really glad I read this and I did enjoy the reading experience but I can’t see myself ever re-visiting it. I’d say it’s a pretty good in-between book or a starter book if you are not familiar with thrillers.

Representation:

From what I can remember there is only one POC in this book and that is the guy who is sentenced to death as he was originally said to have been the person behind it all. He isn’t really seen and is only really mentioned now and then. I think because he didn’t really feature in the book it is hard to say whether the representation was accurate but I’m inclined to say it wasn’t purely for the fact he wasn’t featured. *1

paw heartpaw heartpaw heart

Have you read The Black Eyed Susans?

What is the latest Thriller you read?

*1 The representation section of my reviews is new and something I am incorporating to help me in understanding different view points to my own. As I am not part of a minority I would appreciate any and all feedback and discussions. 

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