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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

True-Crime writer, Ann Rule, has died

Ann Rule. Photo source: Seattle Times.
Ann Rule, the true-crime writer who became well-known for her book about Ted Bundy, A Stranger Beside Me, has died. She was 83. Here is the Seattle-Times story about her death.

Ann Rule wrote several other true-crime books mainly exposing the lives and motivations of serial killers in the Northwest. Her books were meticulously researched yet also quite readable.

I grew up in the days before Ted Bundy started stalking college campuses, kidnapping, and killing young coeds. In those days young women were allowed to walk home from events without fear of being attacked or worse. Then Ted Bundy went on his rampage and everything changed. The world no longer seemed safe for women. He eventually confessed to raping and killing 30 women in seven states between 1974-78. During that time Ann Rule knew Ted Bundy. They worked together on a crisis hotline. After his arrest, she was in a unique position to write about him, since she knew him. The resulting book, The Stranger Beside Me, was published in 1980. It not only described the crimes but also delved into Bundy's childhood, looking for motivations for his actions. Ann Rule said she wrote this way because people are fascinated by "the need to know."

The first book I read by Rule, Small Sacrifices, tells about a mother, Diane Downs, who tried to kill her three children in attempt to get them out of her way so she could start a new relationship with a man. Diane Downs was from Springfield, the town right next to where I lived. We followed the few details we could get from the news then devoured Ann Rule's book for the full scoop.

My mother-in-law and sister-in-law enjoyed reading Ann Rule books so much they attended seminars taught by her and purchased all her books. Rule had a huge following. I read several of her books before I decided I'd had enough of serial murderers. Nonetheless I am saddened at her passing.

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