The Phantom Killer: Unlocking the Mystery of the Texarkana Serial Murders: The Story of a Town in Terror

James Presley. Pegasus, $26.95 (408p) ISBN 978-1-60598-642-5
Pulitzer Prize–nominee Presley (A Saga of Wealth) effectively conveys the fear that gripped Texarkana in 1946 in the wake of a series of murders—and goes on to offer a persuasive solution to the unsolved crimes. The killer first struck on February 22, assaulting a young couple who managed to survive the brutal assault but were unable to give much of a description beyond noting that the perpetrator wore a white mask. About a month later, another man and woman were attacked, this time fatally. The murderer ended up taking five lives and seriously injuring three other people before his rampage stopped. The search for the so-called “phantom killer” was hampered by some police missteps in preserving evidence and the lack of certain forensic tests available today. 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. Agent: Mickey Novak, Writers House. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 08/11/2014
Release date: 11/01/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
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