Close cookie details

This site uses cookies. Learn more about cookies.

OverDrive would like to use cookies to store information on your computer to improve your user experience at our Website. One of the cookies we use is critical for certain aspects of the site to operate and has already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but this could affect certain features or services of the site. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, click here to see our Privacy Policy.

If you do not wish to continue, please click here to exit this site.

Hide notification

  Main Nav
Paper Ghosts
Cover of Paper Ghosts
Paper Ghosts
A Novel of Suspense
Borrow Borrow Borrow
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?

"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 ten-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

"A rich, hybrid work . . . a murder mystery, a road novel, a pair of psychological case studies and a meditation on photography."The Sunday Times (U.K.), Thriller of the Month

"[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
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?

"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 ten-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

"A rich, hybrid work . . . a murder mystery, a road novel, a pair of psychological case studies and a meditation on photography."The Sunday Times (U.K.), Thriller of the Month

"[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
Available formats-
  • Kindle Book
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:

Recommended for you

Excerpts-
  • From the book Chapter 1

    "Who the hell are you?"

    I slide my queen one space closer to his king. "You know who I am."

    He swipes his right arm, the one that still fully cooperates, across the board. A single, swift movement. Pieces fly, bounce off the carpet, rattle into corners fuzzed with dust from a past decade. I don't flinch, something I'm practiced at. Neither does the only other occupant of the room, a deaf woman knitting an infinite patch of blue. Or green or gold or pink. It could be any color.

    She doesn't have needles. Her hands work the air methodically while her invisible work piles up like an accordion. A wedding veil sits crookedly on the silvery threads struggling out of her scalp. The second hand on a plastic clock above her head jerks.

    I've wanted to rip that clock off the wall on every visit. Time for the people in this house is meaningless. No need to travel beyond the triple-locked front door or wonder who or what made the three long white scratches that run down its wood veneer. No good reason to think about the people who never visit you or the horrible things you've done. So what if you can't remember that you never liked dark bananas or the canned laughter of I Love Lucy but now you eat one while watching the other?

    I wonder what Carl is thinking. Maybe about how he'd like to kill me. I'm twenty-four, in the age range. White. Slender. People say I look like my sister. The difference is, she was lit from the inside. Dramatic. Gutsy. A performer. People drifted to her. Loved her. Carl drifted to her, and snatched her life.

    Maybe he thinks I am my sister come back to haunt him.

    I am the understudy, Carl. A shell of her, loaded with dynamite, set on revenge. The nervous one in the wings about to jump onstage. You and I, we will be co-stars.

    I am also a perfect stranger every time I come here, or he's lying. Each time, he claims to forget my name. He won't answer when I ask why, in June, he is wearing a Christmas tie leering with Grinch faces, or tell me where he bought his leaden, ancient boots, or the prettiest place he remembers they last took him. Boots always remind me of vistas. Of standing firm and steady on a dangerous precipice while beauty unfolds for miles before your eyes.

    He's unimpressed by any of my random musings on boots, or the Walt Whitman and John Grisham I read him by the only sunny window in this house, or the series of jokes about talking cows that I tell while we take walks around the neighborhood. Things any loved one would do. This afternoon at IHOP, I watched him drown his pancakes in strawberry syrup and knife them into a precise patchwork of bites. I wanted to ask, Does the syrup remind you of blood?

    He's trying to make me think his eyes are glimpses into a dark solar system where he retreats, alone, but I won't be fooled. I wonder what he sees in mine. Anything familiar?

    He's a hell of an actor, according to old court testimony.

    Right now, with a harmless bit of violence, he's reminding me that he's still strong. Relevant. I already know. I've studied him carefully. Weighed the risks. Searched his room while he was in the shower and found his secret stash hidden in a battered suitcase under the bed—the red rubber exercise band that keeps up that knotty little bulge on his right forearm, and the ten-pound free weights. The sharpened pocketknife and the silver lighter with the engraved N, tucked into the zipper pocket along the back with a single cigarette.

    The 8X10 photograph, pressed carefully flat, under the lining. It could be 1920, or two years ago. Carl the photographer, whose Time Travel book of surreal images once hit the bestseller...
About the Author-
  • Julia Heaberlin is the author of the critically acclaimed Black-Eyed Susans, a USA Today and Times (U.K.) bestseller. Her psychological thrillers, including Playing Dead and Lie Still, have sold to more than fifteen countries. Heaberlin is also an award-winning journalist who has worked at the Fort-Worth Star Telegram, The Detroit News, and The Dallas Morning News. She grew up in Texas and lives with her family near Dallas/Fort Worth, where she is at work on her next novel.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from February 26, 2018
    The unnamed 24-year-old narrator of this artful and elegiac psychological thriller set in Texas from Heaberlin (Black-Eyed Susans) has spent every moment since her older sister, Rachel, vanished 12 years earlier investigating what happened. Her primary suspect is 61-year-old documentary photographer Carl Louis Feldman, who was once tried for a girl’s murder and whose photos she can link to 10 missing girls; Carl
    suffers from dementia, though, and claims not to remember his past. Undaunted, the young woman springs the artist from his state-sponsored halfway house by posing as his long-lost daughter and takes him on a road trip designed to unlock his secrets and bring closure to his victims’ families, which offers some surprisingly comic moments. The author wields words like weapons, with each one chosen to heighten tension, underscore emotion, or foreshadow doom. Keen character work further distinguishes the tale; neither Carl nor the narrator is entirely good, reliable, or sane, adding texture and profundity to an already riveting relationship. Haeberlin brilliantly combines travelogue with a heartbreaking portrait of the damage done by childhood trauma. Agent: Kimberly Witherspoon, Inkwell Management.

  • Library Journal

    March 1, 2018

    What do you do with a criminal who has escaped justice and now has dementia? Carl Feldman--a documentary photographer now residing in an assisted-living facility--may be just such a person. And though he was acquitted for one murder, he's probably committed many more. That last fact is what brings a young woman to Carl's door; she says she's his daughter and wants to get to know him, but in reality she is determined to delve into the reaches of his memory. She's determined to find the man who killed her older sister, and believes Carl is responsible. And while Carl isn't fully convinced that she's his daughter and claims not to remember killing anyone, he does agree to accompany the woman on a death trip, which will take them to the sites where he is suspected to have enacted the crimes. VERDICT Heaberlin's latest (after Black-Eyed Susans) is a tense, gripping read with a cat-and-mouse game that will keep readers riveted. [See Prepub Alert, 11/21/17.]--Jane Jorgenson, Madison P.L., WI

    Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Random House Publishing Group
  • Kindle Book
    Release date:
  • OverDrive Read
    Release date:
  • EPUB eBook
    Release date:
Digital Rights Information+
  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

Status bar:

You've reached your checkout limit.

Visit your Checkouts page to manage your titles.

Close

You already have this title checked out.

Want to go to your Checkouts?

Close

Recommendation Limit Reached.

You've reached the maximum number of titles you can recommend at this time. You can recommend up to 99 titles every 1 day(s).

Close

Sign in to recommend this title.

Recommend your library consider adding this title to the Digital Collection.

Close

Enhanced Details

Close
Close

Limited availability

Availability can change throughout the month based on the library's budget.

is available for days.

Once playback starts, you have hours to view the title.

Close

Permissions

Close

The OverDrive Read format of this eBook has professional narration that plays while you read in your browser. Learn more here.

Close

Holds

Total holds:


Close

Restricted

Some format options have been disabled. You may see additional download options outside of this network.

Close

You've reached your library's checkout limit for digital titles.

To make room for more checkouts, you may be able to return titles from your Checkouts page.

Close

Excessive Checkout Limit Reached.

There have been too many titles checked out and returned by your account within a short period of time.

Try again in several days. If you are still not able to check out titles after 7 days, please contact Support.

Close

You have already checked out this title. To access it, return to your Checkouts page.

Close

This title is not available for your card type. If you think this is an error contact support.

Close

An unexpected error has occurred.

If this problem persists, please contact support.

Close

Close

NOTE: Barnes and Noble® may change this list of devices at any time.

Close
Buy it now
and help our library WIN!
Paper Ghosts
Paper Ghosts
A Novel of Suspense
Julia Heaberlin
Choose a retail partner below to buy this title for yourself.
A portion of this purchase goes to support your library.
Clicking on the 'Buy It Now' link will cause you to leave the library download platform website. The content of the retail website is not controlled by the library. Please be aware that the website does not have the same privacy policy as the library or its service providers.
Close
Close

There are no copies of this issue left to borrow. Please try to borrow this title again when a new issue is released.

Close
Barnes & Noble Sign In |   Sign In

You will be prompted to sign into your library account on the next page.

If this is your first time selecting “Send to NOOK,” you will then be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

The first time you select “Send to NOOK,” you will be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

You can read periodicals on any NOOK tablet or in the free NOOK reading app for iOS, Android or Windows 8.

Accept to ContinueCancel