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The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy, Updated and Expanded Edition

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  4,111 ratings  ·  528 reviews
Elizabeth Kendall’s 1981 memoir, detailing her six-year relationship with serial killer Ted Bundy, long out of print, now reissued with startling new material from the author and her daughter

Ted 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
Hardcover, Updated and Expanded Edition, 210 pages
Published January 7th 2020 by Abrams Press (first published September 1st 1981)
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Johann (jobis89)
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
“People have suggested that I have survivor’s guilt. I reject that. We all should be alive.”

They say love is blind and The Phantom Prince truly epitomises this. Kendall wrote this book back in 1981, and in the after note she revisits her relationship with Ted Bundy all these years later, and this was really the most interesting part of the book. She reflects on how naive she was and that she wishes she could just erase some parts she had previously written. I’m glad I read this edition, as other
Oct 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed, nonfiction
I was 14 when I read this book. That's too young. My mom had a unique philosophy regarding censorship--so far as I remember, she didn't censor anything. I watched Holocaust movies when I was six. And I watched Mark Harmon portray Ted Bundy in The Deliberate Stranger on TV when I was just a kid.

I was a freshman in high school, doing an overly ambitious research project on Ted Bundy. He had captured my imagination in the movie, and his recent execution left him lingering in my thoughts. As I was r
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I first read Ann Rule's The Stranger Beside Me, I was intrigued by the fact that Ted Bundy was first reported to the police by his girlfriend Elizabeth Kendall. Kendall felt that the sketch put out by the police in the papers resembled her boyfriend . He also drove a Volkswagen, the car reported to be used by the killer according to people who might have seen him. But by then, the police had already checked Bundy out twice and ruled him out as the killer/kidnapper of the missing women. Kend ...more
Christina - Recipe & a Read
4, what a harrowing story, had to read it before her interview stars!!

Full disclosure, this one was hard for me to read and to rate. What Kendall went through, especially in hind-sight and having to learn piece by piece the atrocities that Bundy committed is devastating to say the absolute least. However, Kendall isn't an author, she was just a woman who had a story to tell and a human being who had more trauma and emotion to sort through than most of us will ever have to face.

They saw Ted Bund
Nov 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quick addictive read. I got this out of print book in a PDF attached to a discussion thread in one of my murderinos groups on face book. As interested as I am in the psychology of everyone, it was extremely interesting peering into the mind of Ted Buddy’s long time girlfriend. I feel like I understand her. He sounds like he was your average avoidant manipulative asshole to her and she didn’t want to believe that he was truly a monster. He really was a frightening monster and a confusing one. M ...more
Liz Pardue-schultz
The only memoir I’ve read while constantly muttering “Oh hooneey..” to myself the entire ride.
Valerity (Val)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
JG Wagner
Aug 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book at my parents used book store in a pile of books they found at a yard sale. I read through it in a weekend. This book is super creepy. If you want a book that you can't put down and will scare you to death for the next ten years, then read this.
Jun 13, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
Thin, but fascinating! This and Ann Rule's book are the best two about Bundy of all of them. Good luck finding this one. My hubby bought it off ebay for entirely too much.
This was an impulse read, a book which I noticed our library had on order. Years ago I read Anne Rule's book on Ted Bundy The Stranger Beside Me: Ted Bundy: The Shocking Inside Story and she mentioned this woman (in a somewhat derogatory way, if I remember correctly). Bundy was a big story when I was in high school and his actions and trials may have been what started my life long fascination with true crime stories. Sometimes I wonder if I read this genre to get clues about keeping safe. On the ...more
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Christ alive. That was rough.

God, I just can't get over the last few lines in the book. The realization that Kimberly Leach was only 12 years old, the same age as Elizabeth's own daughter at the time, and how Bundy's assurances that she and her daughter were safe from him were an outright lie.

Or his admittance to either considering or outright trying to kill her on multiple occasions.

Or the last few lines of that final letter he sent her, threatening her and everyone she loved had the informati
May 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
How well do you think you know your loved ones?

Ted Bundy was a master of disguise. To people looking in, he seemed like a doting boyfriend, goofy father figure, and charming golden boy. Even to Liz, his worst offences seemed to be cheating and stealing— definitely not murder and rape. He played his role well and that makes it all the more terrifying. He didn't seem like a serial rapist and murderer, just a flawed, normal dude.

As an outsider holding the knowledge we have now, it's easy to look at
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I adored this book.

I'm probably one of the few people who thinks Ted Bundy's interview with James Dobson and his salvation were genuine and that he really did hate what he had done. Too many books and documentaries about Bundy focus on the awful things he did (as they should), but they never attempt to show his human side.

This book does exactly that. It shows that Ted Bundy was not a monster, but a man who somehow got lost along the way and started doing the most terrible things. I love that t
This book is extremely disturbing. I don't know how to talk about it, I don't know how to review it, and I don't want to think about it.

All I can say is that Elizabeth is a hero. I don't judge her for any of the ways she reacted in this retelling of her life. I know if I found out somebody I loved was a brutal serial killer, I'd be destroyed and traumatized for life.

That she managed to move on, raise her daughter and find love again is a testament to how strong she is as a woman.

It seems very
Alana Voth
May 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Here's a must read for those interested in learning what sort of boyfriend/lover Ted Bundy was as revealed by his former girlfriend of seven years, Elizabeth Kendall, who was a single mom struggling to make ends meet in the late sixties and early seventies. Right away, Elizabeth refers to herself as a "failure" following her divorce. She leaves Utah for Washington in hopes of a new start for herself and her young daughter, Tina. Once settled in Seattle, Elizabeth admits her loneliness and throug ...more
Mariah Roze
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was fantastic! I really appreciate Elizabeth's (author) honesty and openness in her book.

I have created chapter vocabulary questions, quizzes on this book. Here is a link:

"Elizabeth Kendall’s 1981 memoir, detailing her six-year relationship with serial killer Ted Bundy, long out of print, now reissued with startling new material from the author and her daughter. Elizabeth Kendall’s memoir, The Phantom Prince, was originally published in 1981. Mo
Stacy Fetters
Aug 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sneaky-librarian
What a frightening tale to tell. Can't even imagine the horror she went through not knowing who she was actually seeing.
With each page came unbelievable truths of living/dating a serial murderer.

What really got me was that even after she knew what he was up too, she didn't leave him and kept crawling back to him. Quite astonishing.

Why has this book never been republished? It took me forever to get my hands on this book and I'm glad I did. One I need to have in my own collection of macabre.
Julie Belcher
Jun 06, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm surprised this book got so many good reviews. Personally I was disappointed. It gives you another perspective on the many faces of Theodore Bundy but it ended up being more like diary entries from a 14 year old girl. Why won't he love me? Why won't he marry me? Why am I so miserable? Why is he so distant? I wanted to hear facts and stories of her time with Ted but instead all I heard was her damsel in distress act.
Dec 14, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
makes me want to quit drinking
Attack Salmon
Well ... at the end of the day I am like Elizabeth . I can't concide the image of Bundy killing women to the Bundy in here. He is too normal and too caring.

I don't know what make this not as fascinating as A Father's Story. Could it be the writing? But it could be also that Bundy is too good of an actor. He is freaking good at hiding his true nature and put on a facade of the All American golden boy. With Dahmer, he shows unusual behaviour and characteristics that we can pinpoint, things like a
May 29, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Most of my time was spent getting frustrated with the narrator and her sympathy for a serial killer.
It had a very 'woe is me' vibe that got awfully tiring.
Regardless, learning more about true crime is always a plus for me.
Jennie Damron
Jul 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read many books on Ted Bundy. He is probably the most evil man I have ever read about. Never once have I thought him attractive and could not understand how women could think he was good looking. Could they not see his souless eyes? That's why this book was fascinating to me. Elizabeth dated him, loved him, trusted her daughters care to him. She saw a side to this man that few did. The pain and anguish of building their lives again once finding out he was murderer, i could never understan ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
"I understood perfectly well what the power of fear could do to a person."

I've been dying to read The Phantom Prince for years, and I'm so happy that it was finally re-released. This was an intense and unsettling read, and I highly recommend picking it up if you're interested in a unique perspective on Ted Bundy.

The Phantom Prince is haunting because it really shows how normal he appeared to be (even more so than The Stranger Beside Me, in my opinion, because Ted and Liz were romantically invol
Mar 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I still think Ann Rule’s is the best written form of Ted Bundy’s story, this was definitely an interesting read and from the most long term, directly-involved party. Also, seeing the photos at the end only reinforces for me how I will never ever understand why people say he was “so attractive.” I mean... no. Just no. The letters shared in this book did help shed some light, though, on what someone could have seen in him (he had a way with words for sure!) and it is so sad that he took such advan ...more
Scar Young
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, true-crime
Liz was also a victim to Ted Bundy. I hope one day her story gets published again, because it deserves to be heard.
Jun 02, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The old adage states that 'love is blind', and The Phantom Prince proves it.

In 1969, Liz Kendall was a 24-year-old divorced single mother of a 2-year-old girl when she moved to Seattle from Utah to start her life over. She met charismatic Ted Bundy at a bar—he seamlessly inserted himself into their little family unit, and they dated for about seven years. Five years into their relationship, he began his rape and murder spree which turned him into one of the most notorious serial killers of the 2
This book is out of print and I needed an interlibrary loan to get my hands on a copy. It is an account of Ted Bundy from his girlfriend/fiancé of five years.

Liz is a 25 year old divorcee and Mother of a young daughter. She meets Ted, a charming law student, falls in love, and thinks she’s on track towards a marriage and a nice life.

Unfortunately lies, thefts, and evidence of other woman hurt her (though surprisingly no violence). When descriptions of a murderer named Ted that fit her Ted start
Mandi Bean
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't remember the last time I read a book in two days.

The honesty of the author's account of her life with Ted Bundy is remarkable. Kendall freely admits her own shortcomings which may have attracted Ted to her in the first place. She does not deny any facet of her relationship with Ted and while some readers have found her to be irritating in her inconsistencies, I felt it made her human and actually gave her credibility.

Unfortunately, now having read the source material for the wildly popul
emily smith
This was a really interesting look at Ted Bundy through the eyes of the woman who once loved him. Liz and Molly’s story both terrifies and saddens me. How could a man who appeared so normal to so many, including those closest to him, be so very sick in the head? Ted Bundy’s is a sad story all around, but especially for Liz, Molly, his victims and their families. All in all, this was an intriguing and very sad read.
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Did you set an extremely ambitious Reading Challenge goal back in January? And has this, uh, unprecedented year gotten completely in the way of...
45 likes · 18 comments
“Ted lunged at me, put his hands on my shoulders, and pushed me into the river. The plunge into the icy water took my breath away. I came up sputtering and grabbed the rope on the edge of the raft, too dazed for the moment to do more than hang on. I looked up at Ted and our eyes locked. His face had gone blank, as though he was not there at all. I had a sense he wasn’t seeing me. I struggled to pull myself into the raft. He didn’t move, he didn’t speak. I could find no expression on his face.” 1 likes
“A few of the horrendous facts include: He abducted and killed two women in one day and then took me out to dinner that evening. He raped and murdered women and then slept with me. He took my visiting family out for a fun evening of pizza. He then excused himself, went to a bar in South Seattle, found a young woman, and murdered her. The next day he was his charming self at a family event. One day when he was driving to Utah to go to law school, he called from Nampa, Idaho, to tell me he loved me. I learned later that he abducted a young woman that day and murdered her.” 1 likes
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