What Ricky’s Reading

The Phantom Prince:
My Life with Ted Bundy

by Elizabeth Kendall

We are fascinated by serial killers. Don’t believe me? Look at the popularity of television shows like Criminal Minds and You. We binge watch each new season and never think about the fact that there are people living in the world that take pleasure in killing other people. Do any of these names ring a bell? John Wayne Gacy. Jeffrey Dahmer. Dennis Rader. Who am I forgetting? Oh, that’s right, Ted Bundy.

Elizabeth Kendall, in the 1970s, described Bundy as confident and in control of the world. “Sitting across the table from him I was surprised at how easy he was to talk to and how easily we laughed together.” Now that she had met Bundy, he would forever be a part of her life. The Phantom Prince is Elizabeth’s story.

After meeting Ted Bundy, Elizabeth fell in love. She fell in love with a man that loved her and loved her 3-year-old daughter Molly. She had to pay for everything since Ted was in college, but that was no big sacrifice. He always had excuses for why they couldn’t get married, but she loved him anyway. He was a liar and a thief, but no one is perfect, right?

Then Elizabeth read a report in the paper that two young women had disappeared from Lake Sammamish State Park. Denise Naslund and Janice Ott had disappeared several hours apart. The suspect was described as a smooth talker, possibly with a British accent, wearing expensive-looking tennis clothes. He had introduced himself as Ted and his car was a bronze or metallic-colored Volkswagen.

That can’t possibly be Ted Bundy! As the years rocked on, more women went missing and the evidence piled up. Elizabeth Kendall could no longer deny that she had been in love with a monster. Ted wasn’t Prince Charming. He was a phantom prince.

Ted Bundy confessed to killing 36 young women across several states in the 1970s, but experts believe the final tally may be closer to 100 or more.

My thoughts: Serial killers have always fascinated me. They give us a glimpse into the reality that human beings are capable of terrible and unspeakable things. We shouldn’t be proud of that. One reason I really enjoyed this book is because it focused on Bundy from Elizabeth’s experiences with him. Elizabeth Kendall really loved Ted Bundy. The book really strayed away from gory details and gave you an inside glimpse into how Ted got away with it for so long. Many people will definitely want to throw rocks and say, “Kendall should have spoken up more or abandoned him sooner,” but I hope we can remember that we weren’t there and sometimes love really does blind us.

Ricky Statham is director at Oneonta Public Library. Visit the library Monday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., to check out this or another great book.