Bedtime Book #Review The Shout by Stephen Leather #Thriller

So it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these and I thought it was long overdue! You can read my last bedtime book review, Three Things About Elsie, here.

Title: The Shout by Stephen Leather

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Date Published: 12th July 2018

Genre: Thriller


He hunts. He kills. He burns.

Vicky Lewis is a force to be reckoned with: not yet thirty and already crew manager in the London Fire Brigade, she’s destined for great things.

But when she enters a burning building to save a man’s life and leaves it with catastrophic injuries, all that changes. She’s shunted over to the Fire Investigation Unit, where she’s forced to team up with cantankerous veteran Des Farmer, aka the Grouch.

When Vicky stumbles across the Grouch’s off-the-books investigation into the fiery deaths of a series of young, blonde women, she decides to join him in his search for the truth.

The answer is close – perhaps too close. Vicky’s already been burnt once, and now she’s playing with fire..


I want to thank Hodder & Stoughton for my physical copy of this book, I received via BookBridgr in exchange for an honest review.

Vicky Lewis is called to what she thinks is an ordinary fire at an empty old hotel but it turns out there are squatters. Ignoring advice and going against protocol, she stays behind to save a man’s life when the ceiling gives way and she ends up with terrible burns.

Unable to sack her the fire brigade shift her to somewhere that nobody will see her, the Fire Investigation Unit. Her boss Des Farmer, otherwise known as the Grouch makes it clear that he doesn’t want her there and must prove herself.

After a drunken night out, Vicky stumbles across The Grouch’s off the books investigation into the deaths of several women. All blonde. Not too old, not too young. There’s a serial killer and he has a type. Can they stop him before he kills again?

It’s been a number of year since I read a Stephen Leather book and it’s nice to pick one up again. This is a complete stand-alone, so you don’t need to worry about any other books, I don’t know if it’s going to be turned into a series but I kind of hope so.

The Shout is a quite gritty and realistic novel, that does contain some graphic violence and exceptionally nerve racking scenes.

I liked Vicky. She’s bold, brave and takes no prisoners! Even though the side of her face is badly burned, as is her left hand, all she wants to do is be a fire fighter. She also still lives at home with her mum which I found quite endearing.

Then we have The Grouch, who at first with his sexist attitude (he thinks there’s no place in the fire brigade for women) and old fashioned ways annoyed me but he kind of grows on you as the novel goes on and you see he is a good fire investigator.

There seems to be a good attention to detail with the fire fighting and fire investigation aspects of the novel, obviously I’m not a fire fighter so I can’t say whether it’s completely accurate but it was certainly interesting. It also show some of the reality of living with burns which gave it a more authentic feel.

My only issue is the ending felt rushed. Everything was rounded off nicely but I mean I’d already read 400 pages, a few more wouldn’t have hurt, just to give it a more satisfying ending.

This book also reminded me of one I’d read earlier in the year called Dead Watch written by Steve Liszka (a real life fire fighter) and I’d recommend if you enjoy The Shout you should check that one out too.

About The Author:

Stephen Leather is one of the UK’s most successful thriller writers, an eBook and Sunday Times bestseller and author of the critically acclaimed Dan “Spider’ Shepherd series and the Jack Nightingale supernatural detective novels.

Before becoming a novelist he was a journalist for more than ten years on newspapers such as The Times, the Daily Mirror, the Glasgow Herald, the Daily Mail and the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. He is one of the country’s most successful eBook authors and his eBooks have topped the Amazon Kindle charts in the UK and the US. In 2011 alone he sold more than 500,000 eBooks and was voted by The Bookseller magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the UK publishing world.

Born in Manchester, he began writing full time in 1992. His bestsellers have been translated into fifteen languages. He has also written for television shows such as London’s Burning, The Knock and the BBC’s Murder in Mind series and two of his books, The Stretch and The Bombmaker, were filmed for TV. You can find out more from his website and you can follow him on Twitter at

Bedtime Book #Review Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon

Welcome to another Bedtime Book Review, I actually won today’s gorgeous book as part of a giveaway run a few months ago by the lovely Jo on her fab blog My Chestnut Reading Tree, please go check her out!

If you would like to read my previous Bedtime Book Review,  My Best Friends Exorcism you can find it here.

Title: Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon

Publisher: The Borough Press

Date Published: 11th January 2018

Genre: Women’s Fiction


There are three things you should know about Elsie.
The first thing is that she’s my best friend.
The second is that she always knows what to say to make me feel better.
And the third thing… might take a little bit more explaining.

84-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she waits to be rescued, Florence wonders if a terrible secret from her past is about to come to light; and, if the charming new resident is who he claims to be, why does he look exactly like a man who died sixty years ago?

From the author of THE TROUBLE WITH GOATS AND SHEEP, this book will teach you many things, but here are three of them:
1) The fine threads of humanity will connect us all forever.
2) There is so very much more to anyone than the worst thing they have ever done.
3) Even the smallest life can leave the loudest echo.


Eight four year old Florence has had a fall. Laying on the floor of her living room she reflects on what has happened over the last month. She lives in Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly with her best friend Elsie who takes care of her and helps her remember things that have slipped her mind. Due to her behaviour she’s been put on a warning, if she doesn’t make an effort to mix with the other residents, she’ll be sent to Greenbank, a nursing home that you never come back from.

A new resident moves in by the name of Gabriel Price but Florence is convinced he’s Ronnie Butler, the person from her and Elsie’s past. But he’s can’t be, Ronnie drowned sixty years before.

Nobody will listen to her so Florence, with the help of Elsie and widower Jack, she sets out to prove that it really Ronnie Bulter. Memories slowly start to come back to her and a deeply buried secret comes to the surface. Can she face her past?

I’m finding it so hard to review this book because I don’t think I can put into words just what an amazing book it is!

Three Things About Elsie combines a bit of mystery with and unusual narrator with the heart breaking subject of dementia to create a really poignant and compelling tale. It really reminded me of a book called Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey, that I read a few years back and if you haven’t read it, I suggest you add it to your reading list after this one of course!

The story is told from three perspectives. Miss Ambrose, Handy Simon and Florence.

Miss Ambrose the supervisor of Cherry Tree, although she’s not quite in charge (that goes to the slightly scary Miss Bissell). She’s slightly frustrated with the fact that Cherry Tree is not the job she would have chosen for herself but it’s just where she ended up. She’s always try to think of new ideas to improve things, which don’t always work out.

Handy Simon is Cherry Tree’s handyman. He’s not the sharpest but he’s got a good heart. He enjoys facts and figures and is just wondering when he fits in the world.

Then there’s Florence. She’s a little loud especially when she thinks nobody’s listening to her, she’s not a fan of socialising and is finding it increasingly hard to remember things and gets confused quite easily. The friendship between her and Elsie was just so sweet and it brings out her kinder side.

I have to be honest at times this book made me quite sad, showing some of the realities faced with old age but it’s also coupled with sharp and witty observations that will make you smile.

Three Things About Elsie  is a book that will stay with me long after I read it.

Rating: 5/5

About The Author:

Joanna Cannon graduated from Leicester Medical School and worked as a hospital doctor, before specialising in psychiatry. Her first novel The Trouble With Goats and Sheep was a top ten bestseller in both hardback and paperback and was a Richard and Judy pick. She lives in the Peak District with her family and her dog.

Bedtime Book #Review My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

Welcome to another Bedtime Book Review in which I put down my kindle and pick up a good old paperback/hardback in a bid to get my tbr pile under control. You can read my last bedtime book review of Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell here.

Title:My Best Friends Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

Publisher:Quirk Books

Date Published:11th July 2017

Genre: Horror


The year is 1988. High school sophomores Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fourth grade. But after an evening of skinny-dipping goes disastrously wrong, Gretchen begins to act different. She s moody. She s irritable. And bizarre incidents keep happening whenever she s nearby. Abby s investigation leads her to some startling discoveries and by the time their story reaches its terrifying conclusion, the fate of Abby and Gretchen will be determined by a single question: Is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil? Like an unholy hybrid of Beaches and The Exorcist, My Best Friend s Exorcism blends teen angst, adolescent drama, unspeakable horrors, and a mix of 80s pop songs into a pulse-pounding supernatural thriller.


The story starts with Abby finding out the exorcist is dead, which takes her back to the terrible events in the summer of 1988 when her best friend Gretchen was possessed by a demon.

Now I kept seeing this novel on Instagram and what attracted me to it was the absolutely gorgeous cover! It’s so eye catching and also it has that air of nostalgia as it looks like an old VHS tape (if you’re reading this and don’t know what a VHS tape is, please google it and stop making me feel so old!!!)

This book is pure eighties teenage nostalgia. I have to be honest there were quite a lot of slang that I didn’t quite get because I’m not a) American and b) old enough to remember 1988 properly but it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the novel.

The main theme of the story is about friendship. We see Abby and Gretchen’s friendship from the very beginning, when she was the only one to turn up to Abby’s tenth birthday. The friendship continues into high school until the fateful night they decide to try drugs. Gretchen tries to skinny dip but it all goes wrong ending up with her getting lost. They find her the next day but there is something wrong with her. She stops looking after herself, self harming. Nobody stands by her except Abby even though Gretchen is utterly horrible to her.

There’s quite a few unlikable characters in the book but I did really like Abby. She’s sweet loyal yet a little naive and I did feel like shaking her and saying ‘no don’t do that!’ while I was reading.

While I didn’t find the book that scary, it takes a lot to scare me these days, but there were some pretty stomach churning moments. I’m just going to say worms and bugs and leave it there.

My only disappointment was it wasn’t really explained how Gretchen became possessed, that was something I felt could have been expanded upon a little more.

Overall My Best Friend’s Exorcism is not for the faint of heart but I think will appeal to anyone who enjoys those old eighties teen movies.

Rating: 4/5

About The Author:

Grady Hendrix is an American author, journalist, public speaker, and screenwriter known for his best-selling 2014 novel Horrorstör. Hendrix lives in Manhattan and was one of the founders of the New York Asian Film Festival.

Next up on Bedtime Book Reviews: Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon.

Bedtime Book #Review Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

Welcome Back To Bedtime Book Reviews! It went on a bit of a hiatus over the last month or so due to a bout of the flu and a huge backlog of reviews. If you’ve never read one these reviews before I basically put down my kindle at night and pick up one of my numerous paperback/hardback books and read in bed in a bid to help me sleep better! You can read my previous Bedtime Book Review Rivers Of London here.

Title: Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

Publisher: Arrow Books

Date Published: 14th December 2017

Genre: Psychological Thriller


She was fifteen, her mother’s golden girl.
She had her whole life ahead of her.
And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.

Ten years on, Laurel has never given up hope of finding Ellie. And then she meets a charming and charismatic stranger who sweeps her off her feet.

But what really takes her breath away is when she meets his nine-year-old daughter.

Because his daughter is the image of Ellie.

Now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.

What really happened to Ellie? And who still has secrets to hide?


Fifteen year old Ellie is about to take her GCSE’s, she’s bright but a little spoilt, everybody thinks she’d heading for greatness, that’s until she disappears. Her mum Laurel has never given up hope of finding her.

Laurel has spent the last ten years in limbo, her marriage broke down, her two other children barely talk to her. Then she meets Floyd, a smart, handsome and charismatic man who injects some much needed company in her life. Then she meets his daughter Poppy. She’s the spitting image of Ellie.

She brushes this off as a coincidence but then she finds out Poppy’s mother used to be Ellie’s maths tutor and the feeling of unease grows. Can she find out what happened to her daughter?

I discovered Lisa Jewell last year and her book I Found You was one of my top reads of 2017 (you can read my review here), so when I saw Then She Was Gone I thought I really want to read that!

Now initially I felt very sorry for Laurel. She’d lost her daughter, but not just that her favourite daughter, her ‘golden girl’ but the way she treated the rest of her family especially her other daughter Hanna really made me dislike her which I feel may have effected how I see this book. She does see the error of her ways but it takes a long, long time.

The story started off really strong, we have a mix of narratives from Laurel and Ellie from back in 2005 from before she goes missing, drew me in. Then Laurel meets the too good to be true Floyd and his slightly strange daughter Poppy who acts far too old for her nine years and his other daughter Sara-Jade who is a bit creepy but then I felt the story fell flat. I just felt like it lacked tension and what happened to Ellie was frankly a bit unbelievable.

Will this put me off reading any more of Lisa Jewell’s books? No but I just won’t be as anxious to get my hands on her next book.

Rating: 3/5

About The Author:

Lisa Jewell was born in 1968 in Middlesex Hospital in London’s West End and was brought up in North London. At primary school in Oakleigh Park, she was found to be gifted only in creative writing and was once accused of cheating by a teacher who didn’t believe that a poem she’d read in class could possibly have been written by her.

Despite such early indicators, she decided to eschew writing and instead study art and design at Barnet College. After a brief and largely unsuccessful stint in fashion, she at last found her calling after enrolling in a creative writing course at her local Adult Education College. She has since written thirteen bestselling novels.

Lisa lives in London with her husband and their two daughters.

Bedtime Book #Review Rivers Of London by Ben Aaronovitch

Title: Rivers Of London by Ben Aaronovitch

Publisher: Gollancz

Date Published: 25th August 2011

Genre: Urban Fantasy


My name is Peter Grant and until January I was just probationary constable in that mighty army for justice known to all right-thinking people as the Metropolitan Police Service (and as the Filth to everybody else). My only concerns in life were how to avoid a transfer to the Case Progression Unit – we do paperwork so real coppers don’t have to – and finding a way to climb into the panties of the outrageously perky WPC Leslie May. Then one night, in pursuance of a murder inquiry, I tried to take a witness statement from someone who was dead but disturbingly voluable, and that brought me to the attention of Inspector Nightingale, the last wizard in England.

Now I’m a Detective Constable and a trainee wizard, the first apprentice in fifty years, and my world has become somewhat more complicated: nests of vampires in Purley, negotiating a truce between the warring god and goddess of the Thames, and digging up graves in Covent Garden … and there’s something festering at the heart of the city I love, a malicious vengeful spirit that takes ordinary Londoners and twists them into grotesque mannequins to act out its drama of violence and despair.

The spirit of riot and rebellion has awakened in the city, and it’s falling to me to bring order out of chaos – or die trying.


Okay so my sister lent this to me, last year, I think, so I thought I had best read it and get it back to her!

PC Peter Grant is on track to become part of the Case Progression Unit, the ones who do the paperwork ‘real’ coppers are to busy to do, when he meets a ghost at a crime scene which changes all that. Suddenly his whole world changes and he is taken under the wing of DCI Thomas Nightingale and begins his training as a wizard. If dealing with a spate of violent murders, where random people are attacking each other and their faces falling off, they must deal with a turf war between Father and Mother Thames.

This book has a lot of things I like. Part murder mystery, part fantasy novel all set against inner city London. Also there’s that British self deprecating humour that really reminds me of the late great Sir Terry Pratchett who I am an absolutely massive fan of.

A lot of people have compared the character of Peter to a grown up Harry Potter but, I’m going to do another comparison to Terry Pratchett here, and say I found him to be more like Rincewind prone to accidents and trying to do the right thing and getting it wrong.

Also if you’ve never been to London, you get a real sense of the place. In fact there’s a lot of information which as a non-Londoner myself, will probably come in handy next time I visit.

In all honesty I wanted to like this book, I really did, but in the end I just found my mind drifting while I was reading it. There was also a lot of detail, almost a little too much for my little brain to take in, that just slowed the whole thing down plus the long chapters made it harder to read.

Will I read another one in the series, yes I probably will, just because I find sometimes that series get better as they go along. Fingers crossed!

Rating: 2.5/5

About The Author:

Ben Aaronovitch was born in 1964. Discovering in his early twenties that he had precisely one talent, he took up screenwriting at which he was an overnight success. He wrote for Doctor Who, Casualty and the world’s cheapest ever SF soap opera Jupiter Moon. He then wrote for Virgin’s New Adventures until they pulped all his books.

Then Ben entered a dark time illuminated only by an episode of Dark Knight, a book for Big Finish and the highly acclaimed but not-very-well-paying Blake’s 7 Audio dramas.

Trapped in a cycle of disappointment and despair Ben was eventually forced to support his expensive book habit by working for Waterstones as a bookseller. Ironically it was while shelving the works of others that Ben finally saw the light. He would write his own books, he would let prose into his heart and rejoice in the word. Henceforth, subsisting on nothing more than instant coffee and Japanese takeaway, Ben embarked on the epic personal journey that was to lead to Rivers of London (or Midnight Riot as it is known in the Americas).

Ben Aaronovitch currently resides in London and says that he will leave when they pry his city from his cold dead fingers.

Bedtime Book Reviews will be going on a little hiatus due to illness but I hope to be back with a new review mid July. Blog Tour posts will carry on as usual x

Bedtime Book #Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell #YAFiction

Title: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books

Date Published: 10th September 2013

Genre: Young Adult


Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they’re off to university and Wren’s decided she doesn’t want to be one half of a pair any more – she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It’s not so easy for Cath. She’s horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she’s experienced in real life.

Without Wren Cath is completely on her own and totally outside her comfort zone. She’s got a surly room-mate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

Now Cath has to decide whether she’s ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she’s realizing that there’s more to learn about love than she ever thought possible . . .

A love story about opening your heart by Rainbow Rowell, the New York Times bestselling author of Eleanor & Park.


You can read my previous Bedtime Book Review, The Chalk Man, here.

Cath is off to College, which would be alright if her twin sister Wren hadn’t decided to put as much space in between them as possible. Out of her comfort zone, sharing a room with a surly girl named Reagan who’s endlessly cheerful boyfriend Levi is always hanging around, Cath turns to her one obsession; writing fanfiction about her favourite characters Simon Snow and his arch nemisis Baz.

Okay I’m going to start by getting something off my chest, this book made me feel so old! Usually I don’t made a good bit of Young Adult fiction but I probably shouldn’t have read this a month before my birthday, a yearly reminder that my life is slipping away…

Okay, enough of the self pity! I adored Cath, she is awkward, shy, naive and prefers a fictional world to the real world, I mean who doesn’t? Also her mum left when she was young leaving her and her sister with her mentally ill dad (I believe he’s meant to be bipolar) who’s health is up and down. It shows that even though she had to take on the role of parent and carer and matures quickly, underneath she’s still that abandoned little girl who has trouble trusting anyone.

Most of the people around her I would have liked to have given a good slap to, her sister and her writing partner/self involved wannabe author Nick are two standouts. But then we have Levi, always smiling, always kind even though Cath tries her best to push him away.

Throughout the book, there’s little excepts of the ‘real’ Simon Snow books and Cath’s fanfiction which I found a nice little touch. Simon Snow seemed to be, to me anyway, inspired by the Harry Potter series with just a hint of Twilight in there. People reading Fangirl may have an issue with the fact Cath writes stories where Baz, Simon’s arch nemesis, and Simon falling in love. A straight girl writing gay fiction about two boys, I hear you cry, I urge you to check out fanfiction sites it’s quite a common occurrence.

I wouldn’t say there’s a whole lot of drama throughout most of the book and I did find the first half of it a little slow going but it ended up being such a sweet coming of age story I kind of forgot about most of the books faults. I’m actually quite shocked hasn’t been made into a movie!

I know Carry On, the fanfiction that Cath writes throughout the story has also been published as a book, I might have to pick it up.

Rating: 4/5About The Author:

Sometimes she writes about adults (Attachments and Landline).

Sometimes she writes about teenagers (Eleanor & Park, Fangirl and Carry On.).

But she always writes about people who talk a lot. And people who feel like they’re screwing up. And people who fall in love.

When she’s not writing, Rainbow is reading comic books, planning Disney World trips and arguing about things that don’t really matter in the big scheme of things.

She lives in Nebraska with her husband and two sons.

Bedtime Book Review: The Chalk Man by CL Tudor #Review

Title: The Chalk Man by CL Tudor

Publisher: Penguin

Date Published: 11th January 2018

Genre: Mystery/Thriller


You can feel it in the woods, in the school and in the playground; you can feel it in the houses and at the fairground. You can feel it in most places in the small town of Anderbury . . . the fear that something or someone is watching you.

It began back in 1986, at the fair, on the day of the accident. That was when twelve-year-old Eddie met Mr Halloran – the Chalk Man.

He gave Eddie the idea for the drawings: a way to leave secret messages for his friends and it was fun, until the chalk men led them to a body.

Thirty years later, Ed believes the past is far behind him, until an envelope slips through the letterbox. It contains a stick of chalk, and a drawing of a figure.

Is history going to repeat itself?

Was it ever really over?

Will this game only end in the same way?


You can read my previous Bedtime Book Review, Black Eyed Susans, here.

So I saw this book last year on NetGalley but I was turned down by the publisher to get an advanced copy (I’m not bitter…honest) so I just had to buy a copy for myself. This was before all the furore when Stephen King said if you like my stuff then you’ll like this. As I saw all the praise and the hype surrounding it, I know this will sound a bit weird, but it put me off reading it a little. I’ve been disappointed in the past by books that have had a lot of hype but I’m happy to say this was not the case, this book actually surpassed my expectations.

The story is split between 1986 and 2016, revolving around Ed and his friends, Nicki, Fat Gav, Metal Mickey and Hoppo. After a fairground accident Ed meets a new teacher to the area, Mr Halloran otherwise known as the chalk man due to his pale skin and white blonde hair. He gives the group the idea of drawing a secret code with chalk but chalk men keep popping up when bad things happen, until they lead them to a body.

I got completely lost within this book, so much so that I forgot to write notes, (sounds a bit anal but I have the memory of a sieve!), so if this review is brief then you’ll know why.

I’m not going to give this amazing and complex novel it’s due in this little review. It’s creepy, yet haunting, I stayed up way too long after finishing just thinking about the ending (a downside I’ve found about reading before bed).

Having just watched the movie IT, I can understand where a lot of Stephen King comparisons come from,.i.e. a group of young(ish) kids coming of age against a backdrop of violence but thankfully this novel doesn’t have the evil clown.

I know some people may not be a fan of the jumping from 1986 to 2016 but it to me it added real depth to the story, adding to the mystery. I enjoyed finding out about older Ed, a slightly disillusioned adult, haunted by the past with a drinking problem compared to the more carefree younger Eddie.

I will warn you there are some upsetting scenes, especially one between young Eddie and his bully Metal Mickey’s older brother Sean. Then there was the nightmares, no I’d say they were more night terrors, as in they were super scary!

Overall a really memorable and haunting story that I can’t do just justice to with this review, you’ll just have to read it and see for yourself!

Rating: 5/5

About The Author:

C. J. Tudor lives in Nottingham, England with her partner and three-year-old daughter.

Over the years she has worked as a copywriter, television presenter, voiceover and dog-walker. She is now thrilled to be able to write full-time, and doesn’t miss chasing wet dogs through muddy fields all that much.

THE CHALK MAN is her first novel.

Up Next on Bedtime Book Reviews: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.

Also a little note, I’m unable to comment on other people blogs at the moment as either my comments are spammed or automatically deleted.


Bedtime Book Review Black Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin #BookReview

Title: Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin

Publisher: Penguin

Date Published: 13th August 2015

Genre: Mystery/Thriller


Seventeen-year-old Tessa, dubbed a ‘Black-Eyed Susan’ by the media, became famous for being the only victim to survive the vicious attack of a serial killer. Her testimony helped to put a dangerous criminal behind bars – or so she thought.
Now, decades later the black-eyed susans planted outside Tessa’s bedroom window seem to be a message from a killer who should be safely in prison.

Haunted by fragmented memories of the night she was attacked and terrified for her own teenage daughter’s safety, can Tessa uncover the truth about the killer before it’s too late?


Before I start my review I’m going to tell you how I ended up owning this book. I got given book voucher for my birthday, went into the bookshop and there was a sale on, I spot the gorgeous cover and then glancing at the blurb I saw the words serial killer and I thought I’ll buy that. It has been sitting on my shelf for two years. I didn’t even realise until six months after I bought it, it was signed by the author!  So, yeah, I knew I had to read this as part of my next Bedtime Book Reviews.


The book follows the story of Tessa, the only surviving victim of the Black Eyed Susan serial killer. She remembers nothing about the attack, thirty two hours of her life is missing. She did her best to move on but the imminent execution of Terrell Darcy Goodwin, the man convicted of her attack, somebody plants black-eyed susans under window. Is her monster back?

This is the third time I’ve tried to read this book over the years, I’ve never got past the first few chapters but after over a week I managed to get through the whole book.

The narrative is split between Tessa, in the present day and Tessie her teenage self back in 1995 just after the attack. Tessa is such an interesting character, haunted by the voices of the other ‘susans’ she has her own teenage daughter too and miraculously she doesn’t seem to be doing too bad a job at living a normal life. If I were in her shoes, the victim of a serial killer who I thought was still out there, I would be curled up in a padded room that I never have to come out of.

There is also her best friend Lydia who features quite a lot, who frankly for most of the story I thought was in her head (don’t ask me why). There’s that air of uncertainty around her, why hasn’t Tessa seen her for twenty years, was she a victim of the Black-eyed susan killer too?

I have to be honest writing about this review, I’m genuinely not sure how I feel about it. Was the writing good? Yes. Was the storyline good? Yes. Were the characters memorable? Yes. Did I enjoy it? Not exactly. I think it all comes down to unnerving air about the whole book and the fact I had to go back over sentences sometimes because they didn’t make sense to me the first time around.

Overall an intense and intriguing story that I’d probably recommend for super fans of psychological thrillers.

Rating: 3/5

About The Author:

Julia Heaberlin is the internationally bestselling author of Black-Eyed Susans as well as two other psychological thrillers, Lie Still and Playing Dead. She is an award-winning journalist who has worked at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Detroit News and The Dallas Morning News. She has edited numerous real-life murder mysteries, including a series on the perplexing and tragic deaths of girls buried in the Mexican desert. She lives with her husband and son in Texas where she is at work on her next novel.

Up next on Bedtime Book Reviews – Chalk Man by C L Tudor.