Paper Ghosts by Julia Heaberlin

Paper GhostsReleased: May 15th, 2018

Publisher: Random House Publishing – Ballantine

Length: 368

Buy: Amazon

Format: Kindle

Genre: Myster & Thriller, Fiction

Rating 7/10

 

 

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

An obsessive young woman has been waiting half her life – since she was twelve years old – for this moment. She has planned. Researched. Trained. Imagined every scenario. Now she is almost certain the man who kidnapped and murdered her sister sits in the passenger seat beside her.

Carl Louis Feldman is a documentary photographer who may or may not have dementia – and may or may not be a serial killer. The young woman claims to be his long-lost daughter. He doesn’t believe her. He claims no memory of murdering girls across Texas, in a string of places where he shot eerie pictures. She doesn’t believe him.

Determined to find the truth, she lures him out of a halfway house and proposes a dangerous idea: a ten-day road trip, just the two of them, to examine cold cases linked to his haunting photographs.

I have to start by saying that this totally wasn’t planned, that my first post back into the book blogging world would be by the same author as my last post back in July of 2015! Total coincidence.

Julia Heaberlin’s new novel, Paper Ghosts, is such a unique and captivating tale. Throughout the book I found myself questioning not only Carl and his motives (his he lying or is he really losing his mind), but of the woman whose taken him; because let’s be honest, who in their right mind would think it’s a great idea to take a killer on a road trip, albeit an aging one? She has trained for this moment since she was twelve years old, an obsession so deep that it is all she knows about herself. What happens if she’s not right? Scarier yet, what will happen if she is?

I wouldn’t classify this as your typical serial-killer novel but instead a psychological game of cat and mouse. It’s a slow build, written beautifully with an eerie-edge. A mystery that makes you question everything you think is happening at every turn of the page.

I enjoyed this book more so than I did Black-Eyed Susans and if you’re looking for an emotional and clever mystery, than I would definitely recommend picking up a copy of Paper Ghosts. The ending was clean and poignant and I felt happy with the conclusion. Like a perfect little present. I look forward to seeing what Heaberlin has up her sleeve next!

 

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Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin

23746004Expected Release: August 11th, 2015

Publisher: Random House Publishing – Ballantine

Length: 368

Pre-Order: Amazon | Book Depository

Format: Kindle

Genre: Mystery & Thriller, Literature/Fiction (Adult)

Rating 6/10

 I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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?


Julia Heaberlin is a new author to me but I have to say that I really enjoyed her new upcoming thriller, Black-Eyed Susans.

Tessa is the victim of a serial-killer, left for dead on a pile of bones and bodies, who manages to send her monster to jail where he’s waiting for the death penalty. Now, years later, she is haunted by her past, the “Susans”, and desperate to keep her teenage daughter, Charlie, safe.

She has never been able to recall the details of her ordeal and as the execution date of her monster draws near, she’s beginning to have doubts. Has she let the wrong man go to jail?

The narrative switches between the past and present as Tessa relives her experience, therapy, the trial, and interactions with her best friend, Lydia, who hasn’t been seen since the trial ended.

The beginning was a little slow for me and I didn’t really become engaged in the story until a quarter of the way through. It was even a bit confusing in the beginning which I attribute to having to adjust to the narrative style and the constant flip-flopping between the past and present. It was a bit distracting, but eventually I was able to get into the flow of it.

I also felt that there was a huge emphasis on the court proceedings/death penalty process and less on some of the really key moments, like the explanation of ‘what really happened’ to Tessa, so that was bit of a letdown for me. Though I can appreciate the care and research that went into making those trial moments ‘real’.

I was intrigued by Lydia’s character and wanted more of her. Think manipulative, dark and very secretive. Tessa’s daughter, Charlie, and her eccentric neighbor, Effie, were likeable characters that I felt really grounded the story. And for a teenager, Charlie handles getting dragged into her mom’s crazy world like a champ!

Overall, though, I did enjoy this book and would recommend it to a friend. There were great twists and revelations that made it truly enjoyable in the end! It might even be worth a second read to see if there were things I didn’t pick up on before.

Definitely worth adding to your “to-read” list.