• Through the Window: The Terrifying True Story of Cross-Country Killer Tommy Lynn Sells

  • By: Diane Fanning
  • Narrated by: Thomas M. Hatting
  • Length: 7 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 05-07-12
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Daine Fanning
  • 4 out of 5 stars 4.0 (1 rating)


Ten-year-old Krystal Surles watched as her best friend was murdered before the intruder slashed her throat with a 12-inch boning knife. Despite the odds, she survived and led authorities to 35-year-old Tommy Lynn Sells, a former truck driver, carnival worker, and drifter.
Through the Window includes his confession to the murder of 10-year-old Joel Kirkpatrick, playing a pivotal role in obtaining justice for wrongfully convicted Julie Rea.
Lock your windows and plunge into the dark mind of a serial killer as you follow his two-decade long, cross country trail of murder.
About the author: Diane Fanning is the author of the Edgar Award finalist Written in Blood: A True Story of Murder and a Deadly 16-Year-Old Secret That Tore a Family Apart. Her other works of true crime include the best seller Mommy's Little Girl, A Poisoned Passion, The Pastor's Wife, and Gone Forever. She is also the author of the Lucinda Pierce Mysteries: The Trophy Exchange, Punish the Deed, Mistaken Identity, Twisted Reason, and False Front. She has been featured on 48 Hours, 20/20, Court TV, the Today show and the Discovery Channel, and has been interviewed on dozens of radio stations coast to coast. Her books are sold throughout the English-speaking world, including the UK and Australia, and there are more than half a million copies in print. Before becoming a writer, Fanning worked in advertising, and she earned more than 70 Addy Awards.
©2003 Diane Fanning (P)2012 Diane Fanning
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Dave on 07-08-12

Very Good Book About a Very Bad Dude

This was one of the better True Crime books I've listened to in a while, and I thought it was Fanning's best work as well. The facts of the case are truly horrifying, and Tommy Lynn Sells' casual, almost nonchalant evil is hard to accept, but the book is all the more compelling for it. Fanning does a good job adding some backstory to each of the victims, and she recreates the monstrous details of the crimes without sensationalizing them. It's a bit difficult to keep track of all of the characters, in part because this guy took so many lives and affected so many more. You can't tell his story without telling all of theirs, and all the names do get a little lost in the crowd of ruined lives. Perhaps the author could have done a little better job adding context or recurring memory markers of some kind so listeners who aren't keeping score on a notepad can keep up with the catalog of horrors. But that's nit-picking ----- this was well-researched, -written and -narrated account that lovers of True Crime should enjoy immensely.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By farmhouselady on 24-11-12

i am slogging through it...

Would you try another book from Diane Fanning and/or Thomas M. Hatting?

i have had others by fanning, they were not this bad! definitely not up to ann rule standards, however. as for the narrator, i never want to be subjected to him again. he reads in this artificially soft, slow kind of voice that seems like he is reading to a kindergarten class. it just doesnt mesh with the subject matter. or anything else i can think of. possibly children's books.as for the author, i think this book is pretty fatally badly written. such statements as "and then he murdered her. she did not report in for work on monday." give me a break. there are countless such inartful, asinine statements, as if the author was just too lazy or unimaginative to say something in a better way. i am deathly tired of this horrible style of writing but trying to finish the book.... i was very surprised at this lack of quality in the writing having had several other fanning books. i am a true-crime fan. one or more of her books was actually good. not quite up to ann rule, but getting there. but overall, so far there has been a wide variety in the quality of her work. maybe this current one was an early effort in her career.but it definitely sounds like the work of a beginner or an amateur. because i like to learn the detail and background of true crime stories, and i do enjoy courtroom descriptions, i am trying to stay with it to the end. but it's not really easy nor that enjoyable. it is a total mystery to me, however, that such a narrator was chosen. this only made bad writing almost unbearable to listen to. i cannot imagine a situation where this reader was chosen over almost anyone else. again, maybe it was his first attempt. just awful. painful to endure.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

not to the end yet. trying to get there!

How did the narrator detract from the book?

the narrator practically destroyed a book that was very poorly written to begin with. i cannot listen to this narrator ever again.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

the only redeeming quality for me is that there is a fair amount of the factual detail included, such things as psych reports, police reports, some family background. but i resented that the author included in such background "facts" that she could not have known about a victim whose only appearance in the book is as a dead person. the author could not have known what the person thought or felt, not in the way she presents it. true, SOME assumptions can be made. but definitely not in the way, and to the degree, that she writes it. how someone twirled their sundress on a summer day, or was so eager to see someone and had missed someone so much, this type of thing, where these statements are not quotes from others who were there, they are just made up by the author. to me, that is injecting FICTION into the facts, which is what i DO NOT WANT. if i want a novel, i wouldnt be buying NON-FICTION. i resent this kind of liberty taken. there was way too much of this little sin. and it is only one of the, what i consider, little writing sins in this book.however, in answer to the question, if you grit your teeth and bear some bad stuff, you can glean the facts and circumstances, and general flow of various crimes the perp committed and how they were done, and why, if there is any answer to that last one. audible has so relatively few true crime books available, i feel i have to get as many as i can.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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