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Publisher's Summary

The inspiration for the five-part Amazon Original docuseries Ted Bundy: Falling for a Killer

This updated, expanded edition of The Phantom Prince, Elizabeth Kendall’s 1981 memoir detailing her six-year relationship with serial killer Ted Bundy, includes a new introduction and a new afterword by the author and a startling new chapter from the author’s daughter, Molly, who has not previously shared her story. 

Bundy is one of the most notorious serial killers in American history and one of the most publicized to this day. However, very rarely do we hear from the women he left behind - the ones forgotten as mere footnotes in this tragedy. 

The Phantom Prince chronicles Elizabeth Kendall’s intimate relationship with Ted Bundy and its eventual unraveling. As much as has been written about Bundy, it’s remarkable to hear the perspective of people who shared their daily lives with him for years. This gripping account presents a remarkable examination of a charismatic personality that masked unimaginable darkness.

©2020 Elizabeth Kendall Molly’s Story copyright 2020 Molly Kendall (P)2020 Audible, Inc.

Editor's Pick

It’s Complicated
"My relationship with true crime can be summed up as #itscomplicated, but I can't deny my recent obsession with true crime memoirs like Blood and A Serial Killer's Daughter. I'm fascinated by these firsthand accounts of what it's like to find out someone close to you is capable of unthinkable darkness, in all its messy strangeness. What's the roadmap after you find out someone you've shared a roof with is a murderer?! While Elizabeth Kendall's memoir The Phantom Prince isn't new, it's new to me—and an updated edition of the once-impossible-to-find memoir is brand new to audio, just in time for the new documentary series Falling for a Killer. Kendall talks about her relationship with Ted Bundy with mesmerizing vulnerability and openness, describing what it was like to be a young, single mother in the 1960s and '70s and why it left her so unguarded to Bundy's manipulations. By taking back her power and sharing experiences that she once kept secret for fear of being judged, she's contributed a fascinating and moving entry in the growing #metoo canon. I couldn't stop listening."—Rachel S., Audible Editor

What listeners say about The Phantom Prince

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Same Planet, Different Worlds

If you have lived and been on the planet for 50 or so years, you probably know about Ted Bundy. I would guess that there would not be any spoilers in the review. I would say this, I listened to the entire story and had trouble being sympathetic to the author. I could easily tell the turmoil in her life. I wondered often how she did not die at the hands of this killer.

Throughout the book, I thought of returning it and getting my money back. But, I really did want answers on why this woman stayed with this monster and exposed her child to him.

Chapter after chapter, I was disgusted with the author **and** myself for looking into her life. But, I kept going because I truly felt that some point there would be clarity.

Why did I give this story I hated, the entire way, four and five stars? Because, a few things. the performance was good. It was engaging. I found it hard to stop listening, even though, I was angered by the author's retelling. Why did I give this story five stars even though I hated it. Honestly, it was well-written.

There is only one change I would make. I would put the last three chapters in the beginning. If you do not want to listen to the book out of order, I understand. BUT, if you think like I do and fight to finish it because it angers you, and you fight with yourself to return it, then please, by all means, listen to the last three chapters first.

The author has clearly never healed. But, she has come to a place of acceptance and has courageously tried to pull her life together. That is how I can recommend a book I hated.

67 people found this helpful

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A tragic story, respectfully told

The Ted Bundy story has always been portrayed as just that...his story. And while his life and psychopathy are indeed fascinating, there are other pertinent tales to tell in this horrifying tragedy. One of those stories is that of Elizabeth Kendall, his long time girlfriend.

Kendall was a Utah native, a very young single mom, who was a recent transplant to Seattle when she met Bundy in a bar. She had dreamed of marrying young and being a stay-home mom of lots of kids, a not uncommon aspiration in 1969. Instead, she was already divorced with a 3 year old daughter, and looking for a new start. Painfully shy around strangers and with (my opinion) perhaps an undiagnosed anxiety disorder, drinking was becoming her coping mechanism.

Bundy clearly keyed in on her subservient tendancies, insecurities, and intense shyness, and spent the next several years manipulating her eight ways from Sunday. She fell in love, and he claimed he loved her in return. She wanted to get married and put him through law school, and he said he wanted that too, but he danced away from letting it happen each time. He'd disappear and come back, they'd fight, she'd drink, he'd play mind games, but he looked the part of the dream guy on the surface, and Kendall was never able to let go of that. It seems to me that she still struggles with that, even today.

Along the way, she began to suspect Bundy of the murders happening in Seattle and later in Utah when he moved there. But each time she went to the cops she was told he'd been checked out and appeared clean. It wasn't until she began talking to a female detective that she was taken seriously. She was so full of self-doubt, was convinced Ted wasn't capable of these crimes, but there were so many coincidences that she just couldn't explain. It tore her apart, and her drinking continued to escalate.

This experience has clearly traumatized her terribly, and altered the course of her life. But, she has kept the same job for decades, raised her daughter, owns her own home, and is sober. She has profound grief for Bundy's victims, respect for their families, and tries to invest her time in positive pursuits. She is a success story if for no other reason than she lived to tell the tale. I was impressed with how well-written and brutally honest this memoir is, and I truly applaud Elizabeth Kendall for coming so many miles on what had to be a treacherously hard road.

If you like true crime told from a different POV, or if you - like me - have been interested in Kendall's story for decades, I highly recommend this book. The Amazon Prime documentary it inspired, Ted Bundy: Falling for a Killer is likewise worthwhile and covers things about the victims and the era that are not brought up in this book. The afterword by her daughter is also fascinating, and offers yet more aspects of Bundy's depravity.

The narration was ok, nothing outstanding, but no issues either. But this story shines with frankness, is important, and I highly recommend it.

28 people found this helpful

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Moving, Unsettling and Thought Provoking

I wanted to hear Ms Kendall’s story for YEARS. It appeared that this book was no longer published and now I get a treat...kindle AND audible versions! Her narration is relaxing, she was honest and forthcoming.

At the end of this book I wanted to cry, then hug both she and her daughter because she did do her best. As far as I was concerned, the only thing anyone COULD have done is execute this horrific man because he had NO INTENTION to stop. My prayers go to Liz and Molly, the murdered and attacked victims, and even the Bundy family for having to relive this experience again and again.

Thank you, Ms Kendall for sharing your world with us.

19 people found this helpful

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Not What I Expected

I was really intrigued by the story that got such great reviews. To hear the perspective of someone so close to him was enticing.

The beginning was good and I understood how she could feel taken in by this man. But then, it fell apart for me.

I was in an abusive type of relationship for about 9 months so I understand the emotional ups and downs of living with an unstable, controlling person.

The latter part of this book was a struggle for me to finish. Full of self loathing, enabling, and sympathy for the devil, I had a rough time listening to the rest. I kept hoping there would be a change. Maybe sympathy for the murdered victims. He murdered a twelve year old girl! He was seeing another woman! Yet, she always seemed to overlook these unbearable actions.

I managed to listen until the end. I was glad for the afterword, but it still felt like she has trouble reconciling her relationship with him.

Molly, the daughter, was the saving grace, the light in the darkness. I can’t imagine growing up, trusting someone who you truly cared for, and finding out what a monster he really was, and that your mom knew! But she always reasoned her way out of reality.

I actually got upset at the end when Molly talked about burning his letter to her and Liz told her it was ok but Molly kept her from having closure.

Really?! Sorry, but your therapists have failed you. Molly was right to burn the letter.

Ugh. I do feel bad for them, but after a time, once you see the truth, you need to look at reality and step away from your feelings. HE WAS A MONSTER! Plain and simple. And you both are lucky to be alive.

I sincerely hope you can both push him into the background and move forward with your lives.

13 people found this helpful

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So Interesting

It was so interesting hearing Elizabeth Kendall’s experience of living with such a crazy, violent person the world knows as the killer, Ted Bundy. I have always wondered what she knew, and thought, about Bundy. I can’t imagine living with someone you love and then realizing he is a sick, monster killer. The book was incredibly well written. The new parts of the book offer an interesting perspective from Elizabeth after years of distance from that time period. And, hearing her daughter’s perspective, from her now adult view, was amazing to me. I feel for the pain they both went through.

12 people found this helpful

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fascinating

great narration and I really appreciated the new foreword, afterward and molly's story. my prayers for liz and molly and all of the victims and their families.

8 people found this helpful

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So many words..

I have been waiting to read (or listen to) this book for a year, it was worth the wait. Elizabeth and Molly's updates to how they are doing now answered my questions, after watching Extremely wicked, shockingly evil and vile with Lilly Collins and Zac Efron. It hurts my heart all the pain Ted caused to these two beautiful women by taking advantage of Liz's love and kindness. My heart hurts for all of the victims of Ted Bundy. I hate that people had to live being around such a terrible person. in order for the women today to have a story to listen to, so we are cautious about who we let into our own lives. Liz and Molly you two are so brave and I am so glad that you are both doing well in life. Thank you so much for sharing your incredibly painful stories ❤️

7 people found this helpful

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I can feel this women's pain

love the book. so emotional. I can truly feel Liz's struggle with this man.

2 people found this helpful

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So so good

I am so glad I used a credit for this one - I have never finished an audible book in two days until this one!

2 people found this helpful

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Liz & Molly

The whole story was phenomenal but hearing Liz & Molly read their own experiences with their own voices was truly the highlight. I was in tears throughout Liz’s afterword & Molly’s story & am so grateful that they had the strength & bravery to share their experiences.

1 person found this helpful

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  • josephine
  • 05-25-21

100% Recommend

This book is intense but yet amazing in a way. It gives so many details that the documentaries leave out like his capture and what he was really like. I feel for both Molly and Elizabeth in that in a way they were his victims too. Knowing that he is a serial killer will forever haunt them with thoughts like "at any moment it could have been me" and I think that is very important to keep in mind. We often only think of the victims the killers and the victims families. But this book gives such a great insight into those who loved a killer.

Worth the read 100%.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-15-21

Unique Insight

I thought I had heard everything Bundy related but this book is just as gripping as The Stranger Beside Me by Anne Rule and had detail which I had not heard before. It makes you realise just how many victims Ted Bundy actually accumulated during his murderous rampage. Anyone close to Bundy became either an innocent ,murdered young girl/lady , a pawn to help cover up,/hide or facilitate his evil acts or a family member or friend crippled by the grief and loss his actions caused. Just like a domino effect, the damage caused is wide and ongoing. The updates are a much welcomed addition and the daughters part at the end is one of the most shocking and creepiest yet. I wish the author and her daughter as much peace and happiness as possible in the future. Do I understand Bundy any more after reading this? No, perhaps because people like Ted are so different to the rest of us, we never will. However , it's an interesting read/listen nonetheless to either further cement our fascination with people capable of such evil or for us to try to understand as much as we possibly can . The book also shows just how easily duped the rest of society is to such a man for how can you begin to understand someones actions that are so foreign to your own? The book proves to me, the goodness of the author , her strength of character and ultimately highlights the need for us all to trust our "gut" for she was right all along. Someone the polar opposite to Ted would try to rationalise and make sense of his behaviour especially if you are in love with the other parts of them. As usual, failings with the police, not before portrayed in movie/tv adaptations were a huge reason why he was not apprehended sooner. May have been even longer if it was not for her initial persistence. Well worth a listen! Especially for TC rubberneckers like myself.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Manda N
  • 04-10-22

Essential Bundy Reading

Wow. A powerful revised edition, particularly Liz and Molly’s updates in their own voices at the end.

Much respect due to this unique perspective on the evil that was Bundy.

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  • Alex
  • 01-30-22

An emotional experience

Well worth your time. I found myself questioning strongly her decisions throughout but then I got it. Elizabeth Kendall is not trying to label herself a victim of Ted Bundy as some other listeners have suggested. She met him at a difficult time in her life, he used her he manipulated her and spat her out, I highly recommend you give this a listen.

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  • S C DONOVAN
  • 12-10-21

Excellent story and terrifying at the same time

I felt great compassion for Liz and Molly as they had the terrible misfortune to have a cunning and highly dangerous man in their lives without truly knowing at the time what a monster he was when the shadows fell. I wish them both happiness in the remainder of their lives. Their story reminds us all that we live amongst people who do not wish to follow the norms and for whom life is all about their needs at the cost of the innocent.

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  • MR GP HAYNES
  • 11-09-21

The Phantom Prince

The inside story of Liz and Molly’s life with Ted Bundy.
Well narrated with recent update read by Liz and Molly.
A must read for anyone interested in the story of Bundy

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-29-21

Wow

This book was so interesting and kept me gripped the whole time, listened to it all in almost a day! While at work. But getting to see it from the perspective of someone that loved him is great because people don’t often talk about how the family of the murderer is actually doing and how it affects them, hope you burn in hell for like ever ted

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  • Michael Lewis-Shermer
  • 07-10-21

Very Impactful

This is the first time I've read anything like this and wow. these people are 2 of the strongest individuals I've ever had the pleasure of reading about. This story made it so easy to understand how he got away with it for so long and why she had stuck with him for so long. Beautifully written and I'm so glad they added recent additions that I could hear that both of them are healing well to present day.

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  • sb3
  • 04-10-21

Good story, hard to get through at some points.

as stated by Liz herself at the end of the book, she was still in love with ted at the time of writing... and this comes across in every sentence she describes of him. it's almost fawning at some points and it is hard to listen to, but at the same time it is easy to see why she was so conflicted thinking he was guilty at one moment and innocent in another. he had her so confused and wrapped tightly around her finger. Overall a very compelling story.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Blake
  • 03-01-21

Decent

Very good listen, especially Molly telling her story at the end. she is so beautiful and strong. I wish I knew her.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-31-20

A different side

Thank you Liz and Molly for sharing your most difficult moments in life with us.
I cannot even imagine what you have both been through.
I loved this book
I couldn’t put it down.
Thank you for your honesty
So well written... raw and honest.
Amazing.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Elizabeth S
  • 07-15-21

Immersive and powerful

I found this story to be quite immersive. I couldn't help but compare someone I had known with Bundy. The toxicity, gaslighting and the abuse. I could understand the choices Elizabeth made and it allowed so much insight and raw honesty. Highly recommend.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-09-21

Creepily Good!

This was a super unique perspective for a well-known story. Even in parts of the book that were a tad boring I found the narration and suspense to well and truely overcome this. Overall it was great!

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  • dani walker
  • 09-08-20

wow

I really appreciate a different view of the life these 2 went through. engaging heartbreaking