Published by Ballantine Books on August 11th 2015
Genre: Mystery + Thriller + Suspense
Challenge Theme: A book with a color in the title
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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.
This is probably my favorite genre of books. Thrillers, at least good ones, keep you glued to the pages and telling yourself “just one more chapter” when you should have been in bed a hour ago. Another aspect of a good thriller is you can’t figure out the ending/twist until it is revealed to you. This book did both those things. I don’t want to spoil anything but I definitely did not see the ending coming. Not only did I not guess the correct killer I also didn’t see the twist coming. There were times when I was wondering “what in the heck does this have to do with the story” but then it all came together perfectly. I really enjoyed this book and have since added the author’s other books to my TBR list.
“My grandfather told me that God puts pieces in the wrong places to keep us busy solving puzzles, and in the perfect places so that we never forget there is a God.”
“Closure doesn’t exist,” she responds smoothly. “Just…awareness. That you can’t ever go back. That you know a truth about life’s randomness that most other people don’t.”
“He believed that a person’s most profound flaws or virtues emerge in great crisis, or they remain buried forever.”