• ShadowMan

  • An Elusive Psycho Killer and the Birth of FBI Profiling
  • By: Ron Franscell
  • Narrated by: Patty Nieman, Chris Berger
  • Length: 8 hrs and 43 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (117 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"Mindhunter crossed with American Gothic. This chilling story has the ghostly unease of a nightmare." (Michael Cannell, author of Incendiary: The Psychiatrist, the Mad Bomber and the Invention of Criminal Profiling)

The pulse-pounding account of the first time in history that the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit created a psychological profile to catch a serial killer.

On June 25, 1973, a seven-year-old girl went missing from the Montana campground where her family was vacationing. Somebody had slit open the back of their tent and snatched her from under their noses. None of them saw or heard anything. Susie Jaeger had vanished into thin air, plucked by a shadow.

The largest manhunt in Montana’s history ensued, led by the FBI. As days stretched into weeks, and weeks into months, Special Agent Pete Dunbar attended a workshop at FBI Headquarters in Quantico, Virgina, led by two agents who had hatched a radical new idea: What if criminals left a psychological trail that would lead us to them? Patrick Mullany, a trained psychologist, and Howard Teten, a veteran criminologist, had created the Behavioral Science Unit to explore this new "voodoo" they called “criminal profiling”.

At Dunbar’s request, Mullany and Teten built the FBI’s first profile of an unknown subject: the UnSub who had snatched Susie Jaeger and, a few months later, a 19-year-old waitress. When a suspect was finally arrested, the profile fit him to a T....

©2022 Ron Franscell (P)2022 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Ron Franscell has written criminal profiling’s origin story, an urgent and obsessive true-crime tale that transcends the genre. ShadowMan ramps up to an almost unbearable pitch, Mindhunter crossed with 'American Gothic.' This chilling story has the ghostly unease of a nightmare—as atmospheric and unnerving a story as you’ll ever read."—Michael Cannell, author of Incendiary: The Psychiatrist, the Mad Bomber and the Invention of Criminal Profiling 

“If any modern crime writer should bear the mantle of the late, great Jack Olsen it is Ron Franscell. He’s one of our most provocative authors in any genre. . . Here, he does his usual splendid job of weaving fear, monstrosity, and place into a vivid, harrowing story about an epic moment in forensic history. Nobody does it better.”—Dr. Vincent DiMaio, celebrated medical examiner and author of Forensic Pathology

“A thrill ride through the entangled brutality and brilliance that gave birth to one of the FBI’s most intriguing forensic tools: criminal profiling."—John Douglas, legendary FBI profiler and author of Mindhunter

What listeners say about ShadowMan

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Excellent book,but heartbreaking subject matter.

If you like true crime and the backstory on how these criminals are caught, you will love this book!

3 people found this helpful

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Excellent True Crime Story!

Story 5/5
Narration 5/5

Disclosure - I won a Kindle copy of this book on Goodreads, but I'm reviewing the Audiobook version which should apply to any version. In any case my review has not been influenced by this win.

Wow! This is the best new TC book I've read in a while!
The early parts, when all the murders take place, was thrilling and parts of it reminded me of a campground horror movie. The investigatory portion was very interesting, too. The afterward was about how this case was a watershed moment for the FBI's BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit)
The only thing this book lacked was the killer's background and psychological analysis, but through no fault of the author.

Highly recommended!

2 people found this helpful

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Not Really About FBI Profiling - don't be fooled!

I thought this book would be more about the infancy of FBI profiling but it was more lip-service than coverage. I also felt that the excessive details were included to pad the story so it would be longer than it needed to be.

Other than that, I did listen to the entire book.

1 person found this helpful

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Well done and informative

I’ve just about given up on true crime books as so many of them seem to be so full of what I consider filler. Just material included to make the book longer. I really don’t care that much about every detail of everyone who walks on stages’ life. But this this book gave us enough to make the people real without bogging us down. Mostly what I loved was the glimpse into early profiling in the FBI and how it was used early in. The reading was excellent also. I really wish we could know more about the killers life, but that was not to be.

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This was a great audiobook!

The performance was pitch perfect and the writing was more than excellent. Ron Franscell tells stories like no-one else. Each of his audiobooks have been riveting but this one was entirely gripping and impossible to turn off. A story that takes place in the least plausible place in the country reveals that evil knows no map and lurks in all of our hometowns.

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family from Manhattan

my mom is from Manhattan, she is related to Ron Skinner, the "night cop". it was hard for her to hear the low opinion the author had for the locals. I have to agree. but other than that the facts were all there.

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Clues That Were Overlooked

Yes, I knew about the girl that was taken from her tent, but I didn't know about the girl that vanished. The other boys that were killed. This story was interesting in the way things were woven together, and how criminal profiling started. Great book.

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One of the best true crime listens

I wasn’t disappointed with this selection. I liked how the author rolled out the crimes; that kept me interested. It wasn’t too drawn out, or too long, as some other true crime books were. The idea of creating a profile for the “unsub” (unknown subject) as the profiler called him, was also quite interesting. I’m always intrigued by stories of perps who “hide in plain sight” in a small town. Only thing I had wished I’d learned was “why” he felt compelled to carry out these despicable acts.

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Stellar True Crime Story

I’m not usually a true crime fan. This book changed that perspective for me. It was a great story with many twists. I had to resist the urge to google who was responsible for the murders many times. Well written and well read! I’ll read another of Ron Franscell’s books.

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A touching story, great author, excellent narratio

As a fan of Ron's storytelling style, I think this is one of his best. I love the way he describes each scene and setting - you can almost feel the cold. His style is casual and easy, with the right amount of perfectly timed snark and humor.

The narrator, Patty Nieman, captures the author's style, rhythm and pace so well. She's a narrator I hadn't heard before but will seek out her work for future audiobooks.

Another great book that I couldn't wait to experience and lived up to my hopes and expectations!!!

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  • S C DONOVAN
  • 07-06-22

Superb and gripping story, and very sad

Excellent narration and a story that grips and terrifies given the subject matter. So good to hear of the tireless efforts of law enforcement to solve and learn from the case.

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  • Rob
  • 05-15-22

Fantastic and I’m not a big true crime fan

I really enjoyed this it’s really well narrated and written every time I thought how or why the author explained it or explored making it very satisfying, the story is intense so it’s not an easy read but the humanity came through and it was heartbreaking brave and powerful leaving me with hope and a realisation that each of us have a responsibility an obligation to try and improve our world not just try and get by because there are David’s and they operate on such a selfish level such base monstrous acts will surely tear the very fabric of society apart.