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Publisher's Summary

A Texas map marked with three red dots like drops of blood. A serial killer who claims to have dementia. A mysterious young woman who wants answers. What could go wrong?   

Finalist for the ITW Thriller Award

"Fast and furious... You'll never see what's coming." (The Washington Post)

Years ago, her sister Rachel vanished. Now, she is almost certain the man who took Rachel sits in the passenger seat beside her. He claims to have dementia and no memory of murdering girls across Texas in a string of places where he shot eerie pictures. To find the truth, she proposes a dangerous idea: a 10-day road trip with a possible serial killer to examine cold cases linked to his haunting photographs. 

Is he a liar or a broken old man? Is he a pathological con artist - or is she? 

You won’t see the final terrifying twist spinning your way until the very last mile. 

Praise for Paper Ghosts

Paper Ghosts is a riveting summer read that shows Texas in a powerfully intimate light.” (The Austin Chronicle)

“[An] artful and elegiac psychological thriller...riveting.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) 

“[Paper Ghosts] elevates the often tawdry genre of the serial killer novel to a work of art.” (Sunday Express, UK) 

“Texas has yet again bred a major American noir writer.” (D Magazine)

“[Heaberlin has] developed a distinctive literary voice, one that is on full display in Paper Ghosts.” (Houston Chronicle)

“Entertainingly unnerving.” (The Dallas Morning News)

"Strong characterisation, haunting images, a wonderful sense of place, and some dark comedy make this travelogue-cum-psychological thriller well worth the read.” (The Guardian)

©2018 Julia Heaberlin (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"[An] artful and elegiac psychological thriller... Heaberlin brilliantly combines travelogue with a heartbreaking portrait of the damage done by childhood.... [She] wields words like weapons, with each one chosen to heighten tension, underscore emotion, or foreshadow doom." (Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about Paper Ghosts

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
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Love love love Paper Ghosts!

It's rare to find a book whose story sticks around and roams your brain for days and even longer.
Paper Ghosts is one of those books.
It is written with so much detail you'll feel like you're watching a movie.

The characters are brought to life by the narrator, Catherine Taber. She never fails to make them seem real.
She was the narrator for Before We Were Yours, another book dear to my heart.

Thank you Julia Heaberlin, Catherine Taber and Audible.
I highly recommend Paper Ghosts

13 people found this helpful

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Long slog to the finish

This was tedious from the beginning. The writing is excellent, the narration good enough, but the story of a potential serial killer who travels through Texas with a ;young woman whose sister was murdered and who wants to find out who killed her and other victims--is truly unbelievable on so many levels. I am also beginning to think that these 10hr plus mysteries are too author self indulgent with so much filler. The "surprise" ending takes so long the surprise is I stuck with the story until the end. This is not a novel of suspense. More of a mood piece that at times captures the Texas landscape and people in amazing ways. But as a story it fails.

8 people found this helpful

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Wish I could give Paper Ghosts 10 stars!

I loved this story from page one. Grace and Carl were so well fleshed out. I found myself attached to both of their character's. Having loved family members with Alzheimers had a bitter sweet feel. I adore this writers style and stories. An excellent ten star read. Narrator Ms. Taber is fantastic!!!

7 people found this helpful

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Great book

Enjoyed the unique twists and turns through Texas. Likable characters, who keep us guessing right up to the end.

6 people found this helpful

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ugh. wasted over 9 hours.

struggled through this. it was slow to start but I stayed with it. now I'm disappointed I had. the whole book was just flat. the narrator was great though, but there's only so much you can do with a boring, uneventful book.

5 people found this helpful

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Excruciating

This was seriously one of the worst books I’ve ever listened to. There Is an excruciating amount of description and detail in this book that is so not necessary. It drug this book out to be 10 times longer than it would’ve been without it. I listened to it on 1.8 speed and was hitting the fast forward button a lot! The only reason I finished it was to find out what happened to a certain person. That was a huge letdown. I personally would not listen to another book written by this author. Save a credit!

5 people found this helpful

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Hang in there

Slow confusing start but starts to makes sense as it progresses. Satisfying ending if you can hang in.

5 people found this helpful

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I can’t finish

This book just meanders. It’s slow, boring, and an unbelievable story. I can’t force myself to finish.

4 people found this helpful

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Julia Heaberlin never disappoints

Listened every chance I got. Her plot keeps you listening to the end, always guessing at the conclusion, but never quite getting there until she reveals the end. Excellent narration and character development. Book 4 awaits!

3 people found this helpful

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Love!

Twisting, turning plot. Where will it end? Kept me captivated until the end. Fun read.

2 people found this helpful