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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.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Donna on 08-27-15
Dark and compelling - Gillian Flynn readalike
This is the kind of suspenseful, tension building story that I'm hoping for every time I open a book labeled "Thriller." Very reminiscent of Gillian Flynn, Tessa's story was dark without ever getting into the details of what actually took place that caused her to end up in a grave with other murdered girls with no memory of how or why she was there. The tension in the story builds as Tessa tries to piece together what happened as the time ticks down for the possibly innocent man on death row who was found guilty of the crime that haunts her life. I was so eager to get this audiobook and I wasn't disappointed. The narration was fantastic, from the southern drawl of a friend, to teenager whine, to the whimsical neighbor, the narrator breathed life into each character.
The writing itself was vivid and descriptive which helped give each character nuance and depth that was enhanced by the exceptional narration. It was one of those books that kept me up all night reading because I couldn't sleep until I had the answers I needed.
The reason I didn't give this a full 5 stars is because of several things - First, the way the story weaves back and forth between past and present was sometimes jarring and confusing and at times made it a bit hard to follow. This often made it difficult for me to simply lose myself in the narration and in the story the way I would have liked. Then, while I enjoyed the diversions and false trails that kept me guessing, when all was finally revealed, it struck me as a little too far-fetched to seem plausible AND there were too many things left unanswered.
While I wanted more from the story, it was because the story and the characters were so compelling. I wanted to understand more about the intriguing friendship between Tessa and Lydia, I wanted to hear more about Tessa's strange and quirky grandfather and his creepy house, I wanted to learn more about Terrell and his experience on death row, I wanted to learn more about the other "Susan" victims. But even though I still wanted more - I still loved the story. It's actually because I so thoroughly enjoyed it that I wanted more from it!
I need to find more audiobooks like this so I'm going to check out more of this author's work.
75 of 78 people found this review helpful
By ROBIN on 08-20-15
Fantastically interesting... as long as you know
I am thankful to the reviewer who mentioned that the book did a lot of time hopping back and forth.,and since I went into it knowing that it was one of the BEST suspense novels I have listened to in a very long time! Everything from the story line, to the interesting details, to the narration was fantastic
74 of 78 people found this review helpful