Black-Eyed Susans was a psychological thriller with a great protagonist. Tessa, was the only victim to survive a serial killer whose victims earned the nickname Blacked-Eyed Susans, after their bodies were discovered surrounding by the happy flower. The story was split in two parts, the first part honed in on Tessa’s emotions immediately after being found by focusing on her sessions with her therapist. The second, took place in the present where Tessa wasn’t sure the man on death row for her crime was actually the killer.
In so many of these types of stories, a killer is about to be set free and the main character is running around trying to prove their guilt. So to have the opposite be happening here set the book apart and provided an intriguing premise. The killer’s impact on Tessa’s life was abundantly clear through her worry over her daughter, her panic over noises, and the chorus of voices in her head. Still she was an engaging character who evoked empathy from me. There were moments when the narration mirrored the noise inside Tessa’s head, which worked to emphasize her fragile mental state. Aside from the focus on Tessa, the novel also discussed the legal aspects of challenging a death penalty sentence and the forensics involved in testing old remains. The supporting characters for these plot lines were also very believable.
The surprise ending was beyond satisfying, but it came out of nowhere. In reflecting over what I’d read, I really don’t think I missed any clues that would have led me to that conclusion. I am not a fan of such things, I like a good conclusion supported by the story that I can follow. But I intend to read more from this author. This was a solid book I would highly recommend.