I'm a little behind on my book reviews, so I figured I'd load you up on book reviews this week. Monday I reviewed a popular Young Adult/YA novel, Anna and the French Kiss, and on Tuesday I gave you a great Juvenile/Middle Grade Fiction book, Summerlost. I felt an Adult Literature/Fiction book was appropriate to share with you all today.
Black-Eyed Susans... Did you know they are a flower? I honestly had no idea; how am I so bad at everything plant related. I can't keep plants alive (I just killed 2 succulents), and I apparently know very little about flowers. Anyways, black-eyed susans are a daisy like flower with a black center, and they are pictured on the book. These flowers play a big role in the mystery suspense book that shares their name..
Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin gets 4.5 out of 5 Stars in my book review. Black-Eyed Susans really earned that great rating. It's a great mystery book that waits until the last moment to solve, well written, and a good story.
I enjoy a good mystery, but they aren't my go to genre b/c I normally feel they aren't written as well. However, this book is fantastic, and I am glad I read it. If you are a mystery reader (yes I have a few great friends who LOVE mysteries- I'm looking at you Bessie), or if you are just looking for a great read give this one a check out. Though, I will give you fair warning; this book is not like Gone Girl. It's a mystery/suspense book, but I wouldn't put it in the same camp as Gone Girl which may be good or bad for some of you.
I do feel Heaberlin did a great job writing this story. Each chapter alternated between present day and past. It can be difficult to write a book that goes back and forth between characters or settings, but for the most part Heaberlin pulled it off and I think it was necessary to the story. There were only a couple of times I felt disjointed with the alternating time periods.
The hard part about reviewing Mystery novels is that I can't talk about the storyline in any sort of detail b/c I don't want to give the mystery away. However, in general terms, and the reason Black-Eyed Susans lost a half a star, was b/c the point of view of the story switched at the end. I understand why Heaberlin did that, but I think it would've been even more powerful if it had stayed consistent in Tessa's point of view. Though, I do realize writing it from Tessa's point of view would've been more difficult. However, that's what I think would've made it an awesome book.
As far as characters are concerned, I really liked Tessa, the main character, and all of the secondary characters. I also felt the content of the book was appropriate to the story. There was some violence, but it's a mystery and that usually involves some sort of crime. There was sex, but there were no details (as much as I remember). All in all, it really is a great mystery; you should definitely check it out. It could make a great Book Club book selection; you'd have plenty to talk about and discuss.
To be honest, there is loads more I'd like to say about the book, Black-Eyed Susans, but I don't want to be cruel and ruin the story for you. So, I'll let the book description on Amazon do the trick of sharing a little bit of the story line w/o giving anything away.
"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."
What do you think? Are you going to check it out? If you've read it before, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the story. Did you like it as much as I did?
Happy Mystery and Suspense Novel Reading!