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Our recommended summer 2024 crime fiction Explore now

What I’m Reading: Laura McHugh

Laura McHugh is the author of The Weight of Blood, a gripping, suspensful novel about two mysterious disappearances a generation apart. It’s a compelling exploration of the sacrifices we make, the secrets we keep and the lengths to which we will go to protect the ones we love.

We all know that when crime authors aren’t writing, they’re probably reading! We asked Laura to tell us about what she’s currently reading and what she loves about it.

Over to Laura:

“I was lucky enough to receive an early copy of Julia Heaberlin’s psychological thriller Black-Eyed Susans just as I was leaving on a trip. I took it with me to read on the plane, and the deliciously creepy story kept me riveted. This was my first exposure to Heaberlin, who is also the author of the novels Playing Dead and Lie Still.

The premise drew me in right away: when Tessa was sixteen, she was found, clinging to life, in a field of black-eyed susans. Lying with her in the shallow grave were the bodies of three other girls, and the four of them became known collectively as the Black-Eyed Susans, victims of a serial killer. Tessa can’t quite remember what happened the day she almost died, yet her testimony helps condemn a man to death row. Years later, as the execution date nears, someone plants black-eyed susans outside Tessa’s window and she is forced to face the possibility that an innocent man might die while the real killer stalks her and her young daughter.

The novel moves back and forth in time as Tessa struggles to recover her missing memories. Meanwhile, forensic scientists examine the unidentified Black-Eyed Susans’ remains in a last-ditch attempt to unravel the truth before it’s too late. But does Tessa know more than she’s letting on? And whatever became of her best friend, the girl who never left her side, in the aftermath of the brutal attack?

This twisted tale is disturbing in the best way, rife with suspense and rich in eerie detail. I would recommend Black-Eyed Susans to anyone who enjoys psychological thrillers — it’s a deeply creepy page-turner that you won’t want to put down.”

A huge thank you to Laura McHugh for her time! Laura’s debut novel The Weight of Blood is out now in paperback.

Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin publishes 13th August.

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