SHADOWMAN: An Elusive Psycho Killer and the Birth of FBI Profiling


The hole in Susie Jaeger’s tent, 1973

On June 25, 1973, a seven-year-old girl went missing from the Montana campground where her family was vacationing. Somebody had slit open the back of her tent and snatched her from under her family’s noses. None of them saw or heard anything. Susie Jaeger had vanished into thin air, plucked by a shadow. That single chilling disappearance mobilized Montana’s largest-ever manhunt and energized FBI agents, all searching for … a shadow. When the investigation later turned cold, agents were frustrated and ready to hear any idea that might help them close their grim case.

SHADOWMAN tells the entangled tales of a harrowing crime and the introduction of sophisticated criminal profiling at the FBI. It will be released March 1, 2022.

Reviews and features in the media


Advance Praise for SHADOWMAN

★★★ “Exceptional … Franscell’s portrait of rural Montana will remind many of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, and the way he weaves together the threads of the different killings is spellbinding. This is a must for Mindhunter fans.”  Publishers Weekly (starred)

 “SHADOWMAN is a thrill ride through the entangled brutality and brilliance that gave birth to one of the FBI’s most intriguing forensic tools—criminal profiling.” —John Douglas, legendary FBI profiler and author of Mindhunter

“Riveting … Franscell’s narrative is gripping, and he balances the complexities of these crimes with explorations of how [FBI’s groundbreaking profilers Pat] Mullany and [Howard] Teten used their criminal profile.”  —Library Journal

Ron Franscell has always been in the upper echelon of true-crime authors. SHADOWMAN is his crowning achievement. Bravo to a master of the genre!” —Gregg Olsen, #1 New York Times bestselling author of If You Tell and The Hive

“Ron Franscell has written criminal profiling’s origin story, an urgent and obsessive true-crime tale that transcends the genre. SHADOWMAN ramps up to an almost unbearable pitch, Mindhunter crossed with American Gothic. This chilling story has the ghostly unease of a nightmare — as atmospheric and unnerving a story as you’ll ever read.”  —Michael Cannell, former editor at the New York Times and author of Incendiary: The Psychiatrist, the Mad Bomber and the Invention of Criminal Profiling. 

“Riveting and fascinating … a well-researched and thoughtful book about the beginnings of FBI profiling. It is surely to be one of your favorite nonfiction reads this year.”  —Lili H., Librarian (at NetGalley)

“If any modern crime writer should bear the mantel of the late, great Jack Olsen it is Ron Franscell. He’s one of our most provocative authors in any genre, as I know firsthand. Here, he does his usual splendid job of weaving fear, monstrosity, and place into a vivid, harrowing story about an epic moment in forensic history. Nobody does it better.” —Dr. Vincent DiMaio, celebrated medical examiner and author of Forensic Pathology

“Absolutely a fascinating read … the author lays out the story in a way that captivates like a novel.” — Bookseller528594 (at NetGalley)

“A brilliant, long overdue page-turner of a story about the Behavioral Sciences Unit mindhunters.” —Dr. Peter Vronsky, crime historian and author of Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters

“What a suspenseful and powerful book … you cannot put this one down! A must read for the true-crime enthusiast!”  —Ron B. (at NetGalley)


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