• The Phantom Killer

  • Unlocking the Mystery of the Texarkana Serial Murders: The Story of a Town in Terror
  • By: James Presley
  • Narrated by: Michael Kramer
  • Length: 13 hrs and 33 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (85 ratings)

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The Phantom Killer

By: James Presley
Narrated by: Michael Kramer
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Publisher's Summary

The salacious and scandalous murders of a series of couples on Texarkana's "lovers' lanes" created a media maelstrom and cast a pall of fear over an entire region. What is even more surprising is that the case has remained cold for decades.

Combining archival research and investigative journalism, Pulitzer Prize-nominated historian James Presley reveals evidence that provides crucial keys to unlocking this decades-old puzzle. Although the case lives on today through television, the Internet, a revived fictional movie, and even an off-Broadway play, with so much of the investigation shrouded in mystery since 1946, rumors and fractured facts have distorted reality.

Now, for the first time, a careful examination of the archival record, personal interviews, and stubborn fact checking come together to produce new insights and revelations on the old slayings.

©2014 James Presley (P)2015 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Diligently researched, this gripping, page-turning account would be a standout true-crime narrative even without the material Presley gathers to buttress his identification of the serial killer." ( Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about The Phantom Killer

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The most thorough and accurate account of this case ever compiled

I grew up in Texarkana and remain a resident, now in my 70s.
Many times in my lifetime there have been accounts published about the series of crimes.
In the 1970s a “want-a be” hometown movie producer used mostly locals and B actors to film the movie “The Town That Dreaded Sundown”.
It was fun seeing friends, even my personal physician in the movie. It premiered in Texarkana complete with the stars being dropped at the curb of the theater from a limousine. The movie was silly and amateurish
This book is extremely well written and thoroughly researched.
Finally, the true story of the horror of 1946!
Thank you, Mr. Presley! I have ordered copies for friends and family. Kudos!

2 people found this helpful

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Dull and BORING.

this book is BORING. I have up on it after about an hour and a half.

2 people found this helpful

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Numb

What disappointed you about The Phantom Killer?

Such a shame, what should be a fascinating and riveting story from start it finish is dampened down by irrelevant facts, and a plodding pace that makes damp toast look exciting.

Has The Phantom Killer turned you off from other books in this genre?

Absolutely not, I love true crime books.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Yes. It's possible the book could have been solved if the narrator had managed to sound even slightly less bored but what he was reading, though I could hardly blame him.

2 people found this helpful

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Mostly great.

Mispronounced Ouachita, the name of a nearby college. Wrongly accented pronunciation of Texarkana. Proved my mother lied to me about k owing one of the victims! I believe he correctly identified the killer.

1 person found this helpful

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The Go To Source for the Texarkana Serial Murders

The narrator is fantastic and clearly put time and effort into learning how to pronounce names and locations before settling into reading the material. The case is presented from bottom to top with clever framing so that you don't know how frustrated you're going to be with the persons involved by the end. Not as much of a mystery, just horribly mishandled.

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  • J. Fothergill
  • 08-28-22

Very enjoyable

Superb narration by Michael Kramer. While we may never know who the Phantom Killer really was, James Presley certainly gives his comprehensive reasons for it being Youell Swinney. The crimes are detailed and missed opportunities discussed. I feel a lot more familiar with the case having listened to this audio book.