Sunday, July 24, 2016

Black Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin

At sixteen, Tessa Cartwright's life is irrevocably changed.  She is found in a field with a recently killed girl and the bones of several others.  Around them is a field full of black eyed susans and the girls are forever after known as the Susans.  The police soon arrest a man and Tessa's testimony helps put him on death row.

So much was taken from her that night.  Her ability to trust others.  Her sight for many months as her brain refused to see anything more.  Even her best friend as they fought bitterly over the trial and the part each played in it.

Now it is eighteen years later.  The man on death row is about to be executed.  Tessa has carved out a life for herself as a builder of other's ideas.  She has a daughter of her own who she loves fiercely.  And she wonders if the killer is not safely on death row but still stalking her.  There are signs that he is still on the prowl and interested in her and her daughter.

Desperate to determine if her earlier testimony was right, she turns to the lawyers fighting to exonerate the man about to die for the Black Susan murders.  She agrees after all these years to undergo hypnosis and to reveal her drawings created right after her rescue.  Will this give the lawyers enough ammunition to stop the execution?  If the wrong man is imprisoned, will this make him determined to finish the job he didn't complete all those years ago?

Julia Heaberlin has written a fast-paced, thrilling story of a long-ago crime and the fallout of that act.  Tessa is a believable heroine, determined to do what is right but unable to even trust her own memory.  The reader is drawn along cheering for Tessa and determined to find out what happened all those years ago.  This book is recommended for mystery readers.

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