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The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule
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The Stranger Beside Me (1980)

by Ann Rule

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Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
One of the best true crime books ever written (up there with Helter Skelter and Doc: the Rape of the town of Lovell). The crime descriptions are too painful for me to read (now that I am a parent) but the story of the relationship between Rule and Bundy, and her growing awareness that he is a monster, is just as gripping as ever. ( )
  iBeth | Dec 11, 2014 |
I read horror novels like they're going out of style, I devour twisted psychological suspense stories, and yet I have the strongest reactions to true crime accounts. I guess that's not surprising, since these events actually happened, but The Stranger Beside Me scared the living daylights out of me.

Ann Rule's account of her relationship with Ted Bundy, before and after he was charged with murder, is straightforward but still manages to delve into the emotional aspects of the case, both in terms of her friendship with Bundy and in terms of his many female victims. The writing is not spectacular, but in this case, it really doesn't have to be. The facts speak for themselves. (Some readers don't respond well to this type of writing, but it seems to be more of a preference thing than a comment on the writing talent. I personally think this type of straightforward writing is extremely effective.)

The crime scenes are stomach-turning and graphic, which juxtaposes horrifically with Bundy's suave, charismatic demeanor. Simply put, this book is terrifying and still gives me chills when I think about it. Bonus chapters, epilogues, and forewords show just how far Ted Bundy's infamy has spread through American culture...25 years after his execution, we're still talking about him.

Readalikes:

Green River Running Red - Ann Rule. If you liked how this serial killer account unfolded, from the murders to official investigations, to the trial, GRRR is another must-read. This time, the murderer is the Green River Killer, who was finally caught at the end of a 20+ year reign of terror in the Pacific Northwest.

My Life Among the Serial Killers - Helen Morrison. A forensic psychologist interviews several infamous serial killers in the hopes of learning what makes these murderers tick, and how they became serial killers.

The Good Nurse - Charles Graeber. Although this book isn't written from an insider's perspective, it evokes many of the same powerful and visceral reactions as TSBM. The Good Nurse covers the crimes of Charlie Cullen, a male nurse on the East Coast who killed as many as 300 patients in his 16+ years of hospital experience.

Defending Gary - Mark Prothero. An insider's perspective into an infamous serial murder case - in this instance, written by the lead defense attorney for Gary Ridgeway, the Green River Killer.

John Wayne Gacy - Sam L. Amirante. See above. This book, however, covers the trial and crimes of John Wayne Gacy, the Chicago serial killer who dressed like a clown for his victims. ( )
  coloradogirl14 | May 28, 2014 |
Fascinating book. What a crazy perspective this author had of Ted Bundy. ( )
  wallerdc | Mar 26, 2014 |
This book rates a high mark more for the fascinating person it reveals than it does for the writing. The writing is definitely good, with an occasional clunky sentence, and certainly Ann Rule composes the book to create tension for her reader without the reader losing the context of the story or sense of time. But the story here is utterly gripping. Going into this book I thought I knew a lot about Ted Bundy having followed the stories of his trials, appeals, and eventual death in the newspaper and then having seen the movie some time ago. Ann Rule showed me I was very, very wrong.

On of the most fascinating aspects of this book is that Ann Rule herself had so many connections to Ted Bundy. Not only did she work with him, attend parties with him, see him in prison and at his trial, and correspond with him for years, but she also knew many, many of the police and detectives who worked on his cases, and she even had a connection to one of the victims.

This book was originally published in 1980, shortly after Ted Bundy was found guilty of murder in Florida. Since then Ms. Rule has updated it several times as things changed for Ted Bundy or when the book was re-released. Most of these updates are toward the end of the book and are certainly informative and necessary reading to find out the entire story, but it become tedious to think the book was done only to turn the page and find another update, where one would be re-told some things because the writer is trying to make sure you are filled in on background. I appreciated the information, but the tedium got to me. ( )
  whymaggiemay | Jan 4, 2014 |
Absolutely fascinating how this true crime writer, of all things, worked alongside and was friends with, Ted Bundy. Rule does a fantastic job detailing their relationship and his heinous crimes, and remaining objective throughout. ( )
  lesliewright34 | Jun 18, 2013 |
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Epigraph
And tortures him now more, the more he sees
Of pleasure not for him ordained: then soon
Fierce hat he recollects, and all his thoughts
Of mischief, gratulating, thus excites:
"Thoughts, whither have ye led me? with what sweet
Compulsion thus transported to forget
What hither bought us? hate, not love, nor hope
Of Paradise for Hell, hope here to taste
Of pleasure, but all pleasure to destroy,
Save what is in destroying; other joy,br>To me is lost...."
Paradise Lost: Book IX (Lines 469-79)
Dedication
This book is dedicated to my parents; Sophie Hansen Stackhouse and the late Chester R. Stackhouse...for their unfailing love and support, and because they always believed...
First words
I never expedcted to be writing about Theodore Robert Bundy once again.
No one glanced at the young man who walked out of the Trailways Bus Station in Tallahassee, Florida at dawn on Sunday, January 8, 1978.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0451203267, Mass Market Paperback)

Not long ago, true crime writer Ann Rule recalls lying on an operating table. The anesthesiologist leaned over before putting her to sleep. "Ann," the anesthesiologist said softly, "tell me, what was Ted Bundy really like?" Despite meeting Florida's electric chair in 1989, the subject of Rule's bestselling book continues to haunt her. Rule and Bundy were friends. They met in 1971 at a Seattle crisis clinic, where they shared the late shift answering a suicide hotline. Their subsequent conversations, meetings, and letters spanned the rest of Bundy's life as he evolved into one of the century's most notorious serial killers. It's been 20 years since Rule first penned this chilling account. But the story--and her 2000 update--will still have readers reaching for their Xanax. No gratuitous gore here; just the basic, bone-chilling evidence. In fact, like a protective mother shielding us from horrors too awful to mention, Rule seems to avoid delving too deeply into crime scene descriptions. She devotes one paragraph in her new afterword to her discovery that Bundy engaged in necrophilia and returned to the scenes of his crimes to "line dead lips and eyes with garish makeup and to put blush on pale cheeks." She tells readers that John Hinckley, who shot Ronald Reagan, and David Berkowitz, the Son of Sam Killer, traded prison correspondences with Bundy. And she hints that Bundy's insatiable killer instincts may have started when he was a 14-year-old paperboy. (Ann Marie Burr, an 8-year-old girl on his route, mysteriously disappeared in the middle of the night and has never been found.) The skimpy update is over too soon, leaving readers wanting more and offering further proof of the public's never-ending fascination with serial killers. --Jodi Mailander Farrell

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:17 -0400)

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From the perspective of the former policewoman, crime writer, and unknowing personal friend, tells the story of Ted Bundy, a brilliant law student executed for killing three women, who confessed to killing thirty-five others.

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