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The Stranger Beside Me - Ann Rule

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Author: Ann Rule / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 07 July 1994 / Genre: Crime & Thriller / Subcategory: True Crime / Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group / Title: The Stranger Beside Me / ISBN 13: 9780751508185 / ISBN 10: 0751508185 / Alternative EAN: 9780451203267

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      09.03.2013 23:04
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      A great book that covers everything regarding Ted Bundy the man & his crimes & aftermath.

      This book chronicles the life & crimes of the charismatic Theodore Robert Bundy,one of America's most prolific serial killers who confessed to 30 murders of young women in the 70's, but occasionally boasted that the real total was higher.He earned the dubious titles of serial killer,kidnapper,rapist and necrophile.Following his arrest in 1975 and numerous trials & appeals Ted Bundy died in the electric chair at Raiford Prison in Starke, Florida, on January 24, 1989.

      I bought this book some time ago and couldn't put it down. Literally. But I managed to string it out over three evenings and it had me totally in "just one more chapter...." mode. Then I passed it on to a relative & forgot about it. But someone mentioned Bundy recently & brought it to mind ,so I bought another copy and 'enjoyed' it just as much as last time....a rare thing in a book.

      Anne Rule must surely be the queen of true crime writing. She manages to include everything you need in her true crime books and this one is no exception. Having majored in Creative Writing & studied Psychology & Criminology she uses these skills combined with years working in the Seattle PD to ensure her books cover all the bases that we,the readers ,want covered.

      She details the background of Ted Bundy & that in itself is fascinating in showing us what MIGHT possibly have triggered Bundy's becoming the monster he evolved into. I say evolved because many of the people he associated with describe him as a really nice guy. Helpful,kind & friendly are words often used for him.Anne Rule even worked alongside him on a Crisis Hotline (similar to the British Samaritans)....hence the book title. Chillingly he made a point of escorting Anne to her car after their shifts to ensure her safety....oh the irony !

      His birth alone threw up questions when his mother Louise later claimed that the father named on his birth certificate was NOT the biological father.However,the sailor she claimed was the actual father could not be found in any Naval records & is thought to be a red herring on her part.He was raised by his maternal grandparents believing them to be his parents & only found out the truth later when a relative referred to him as a "bastard" & he checked out his birth certificate for himself. There was family speculation that Ted was the result of his abusive grandfather's incestuous relationship with Louise,but no proof of that theory has emerged.Bundy resented Louise & held a grudge over his dubious start in life.

      The list of Bundy's victims seems endless(and yet he claimed there are more) and Anne Rule covers them all to some degree and there are pictures of the victims included which I personally always find makes the story more real & emotive. You look at them & have to wonder what these young women could have achieved had they not fallen victim to Ted Bundy.

      The capture,his escape from jail, and recapture are all detailed and so is the trial . So everything you need to know or want to know about Bundy is here in this book & told in a way that enthralls you from start to finish. I can't recommend this book highly enough.

      Is it scary ? Some might think so, if you are easily spooked by real life crime. It certainly made me more aware of personal safety for a time .But as in 'jumping out of your skin' scary ? No.But it is a fascinating insight into a monster with many facets to him and the carnage he left in his wake.

      Paperback: 512 pages
      Publisher: Sphere; Rev. and updated ed edition (7 July 1994)
      Language: English
      ISBN-10: 0751508187
      ISBN-13: 978-0751508185
      Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 17.7 x 3.4 cm

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        08.10.2012 23:39

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        One of the most engrossing books I have ever read, without doubt.

        Ted Bundy was a notorious serial killer who killed possibly up to 100 women, mainly in the mid 70s. Ann Rule, was his friend, a former work colleague, who could not believe that Bundy was capable of such crimes, having found him a kind, and generous man.
        There were two sides to him it seems. One a real gent. The other, truly a monster of awful hatred and rage toward certian members of the opposite sex.
        He was highly intelligent. Charismatic. Often quite charming. Had the potential of a great career in politics. A man who had it all going for him it seems. Why would he choose to go don such a cruel, awful path of darkness?
        This is one of the most engrossing books I have ever read. Though not for the faint of heart.
        If you know the story, or if you don't, I guarantee that you will be startled, sickened, shocked but utterly engrossed in this story. At times its almost as if you're reading a Hollywood story, but these true life events happened.

        Check it out for yourself.

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        15.03.2010 00:53
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        A classic work of true crime

        This is a fascinating insight into the case of Ted Bundy, the Colorado/Florida serial killer who was eventually caught and executed for his many crimes. What makes this book different is that Ann Rule actually knew Bundy - she had been commissioned to write this book before the crimes were solved, and she would have no idea that the murderer the police sought was, in fact, her friend and fellow worker on the Samaritans helpline.

        Bundy is a fascinating character, and Rule (especially with her personal knowledge of the man) is able to really bring him to life for the readers in great detail, he was very intelligent but clearly very damaged, however he was able to hide his sociopathic tendencies so well that not even his closest friends and acquaintances would have suspected what he was capable of.

        Rule also writes with her usual sympathetic style about the victims of Bundy's many crimes and brings them to life just as effectively, so that the reader really understands the human cost of the crimes and is able to see the victims as people, not just as names on a page.

        A fascinating insight into the mind of a sociopath and also a tribute to the lives that were lost.

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        11.04.2004 22:12
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        Ann Rule is a true crime writer. Having an interest in crime and detective fiction I thought I?d read something factual this time. This book is a true account of Ted Bundy. The twist is Ann Rule actually knew him. She was writing on the savage murders that were happening without knowing she was a friend of the murderer. ?As the years passed, I learned that the stranger at the very vortex of an ever-spreading police probe was not a stranger at all; he was my friend.? When I first opened the book I noticed the print was quite small. This would make it a long book to read. I then thought it maybe long winded and I may lose interest. I was wrong though! From the moment I started reading it I was hooked. It was first printed in 1980 in the USA but it wasn?t until 1994 that it was printed in the UK. The copy I have has an update (1989) as a result of Ted Bundy being executed. So how did Ann Rule know Ted? They first met in 1971 when Ann was almost 40 and Ted was 24. They were both working together in Seattle?s Crisis Clinic. Ann was volunteering whereas Ted was a work-study student looking forward to law school. It was the chance that they worked alone on a late shift that brought them together. She starts the book off in Florida in 1978 when Ted had escaped from Garfield County Jail. He had stolen the identity of Chris Hagen and did a very good job of blending in with the students around him. A trial had been scheduled on January 9th. He was on trial for first degree murder, only he wasn?t there now. We then learn about Teds past. He confided in Ann one night at the Crisis Centre and told her that he was illegitimate. His grandparents brought him up, and his sister was in fact his mother. His mother Louise was determined that he wouldn?t be given away and when she was 7 months pregnant she entered a home for unmarried women. When he was born she went back to her parents. He only found out for certain of this when he w
        as 22 when he traced his birth back to the home in Vermont. Ted got romantically involved with Stephanie Brooks in the summer of 1967. She was from a wealthy family. Ted was deeply in love with her and she broke his heart the following summer when she told him they should go their separate ways. This made him determined to do well in his life and he continued with his career in law. He then met Meg Anders in 1969. She had a child and was recently divorced. They were to be together for several years and Meg would actually contact police in 1974 with her suspicions. What she didn?t know was that he was secretly engaged to Stephanie in 1973 and then dumped her. This was his way of getting revenge. She was let off likely considering his other victims. When they met at a Christmas party in December 1973 Ted told Ann that he had been employed by the City of Seattle?s Crime Prevention Advisory Commission to revise the hitchhiking law. She told him that she was against hitchhiking as she had found that most female homicide victims met their killers that way. However, the law passed and it was now legal to hitchhike again. In 1973 Kathy Devine went missing. She was last seen hitchhiking her way to Oregon with a male driver. She was found over a week later, dead in a park. The weather that summer had been particularly hot and decomposition was advanced. Also ravaging animals had taken away her heart, lungs and liver. She was the first supposed victim of Ted Bundy. We hear of other victims that went missing, some were either found dead, others have never been found. Some of the attacks took place in shopping malls and busy popular place. One of them was Lake Sammamish State Park. Janice Ott was seeing helping a young man, who had an arm in a sling, with a sailboat. They were overheard introducing themselves to each other. His name was Ted. He told her that the boat wasn?t actually there. It was at his parent?s house and with
        his b roken arm he couldn?t do it on his own. The last time she was seen was leaving with him. On the same day Denise Nasland also went missing from the same place. Rule throughout the book shows us how Bundy was a caring man. She herself was unsure of his guilt for many years. ?Ted Bundy would never hurt a woman; he wouldn?t even make and off-colour remark to one. A man whose life?s work was orientated toward helping people, toward eliminating that very sexual violence that marked the crimes, couldn?t be involved, no matter how much he resembled the composite.? To finally put her mind at ease she needed to find out if Ted owned a VW bug. So she went to Detective Dick Reed who was a close friend. He did a vehicle check on him. It turned out that he did own a VW bug. After a computer check he was never really seen as a suspect as he drew ?no hits?. The book takes us through all the missing and murdered women. The lack of evidence that the police had and eventually Ted Bundys arrest in 1975. He was pulled over by police for running two stop signs. They found a ski mask, crowbar, ice pick, rope and wire in his car. He was suspected of burglary. They never even suspected him of the murders then. The rest of the book shows us how Bundy was eventually suspected. I won?t go into detail as it may spoil it for those who want to read it and don?t know. Before reading this book I had heard of Ted Bundy but didn?t really know anything else. He was executed in 1989 when I was only 10. I found it not only to be factual but interesting, as Ann Rule actually knew him. He was clever enough to fool someone close to him for many years. I highly recommend The Stranger Beside Me. It?s not for those easily upset as there are some graphic details. Published by Time Warner Paperbacks, 1989, 500 pages £7.99 Quotes: ?As dramatic and chilling as a bedroom window smashing at midnight? New York Times ?No
        writer in America has ever probed the dark heart of a killer so deeply? Edna Buchanan

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          27.02.2004 17:15
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          Having been a true-crime enthusiast for many years, I?ve most likely read all of the books written about Ted Bundy. The Stranger Beside Me is all but unique among Bundy books. Author Ann Rule, an ex-cop, knew Bundy himself, before and after he was exposed as a habitual sex killer. The book is perhaps a little long to be read in a single sitting, but I?m sure many readers did just that anyway, so gripping is the story. Like a great many fictional stories, this real-life tale begins near the end. We join Bundy, now a fugitive from the law in 3 states, as he steps from a bus in his final killing ground, Florida, in 1978. In addition to educated speculation as to Bundy?s thoughts as he arrives penniless and alone in the Sunshine State, Rule paints pretty pictures of his surroundings. The university campus he attempts to make his home bears great resemblance to those he frequented in Washington, his beloved home state, to which he cannot and will not ever return. Having set the scene for her finale, Rule then transports us seamlessly to Seattle, Washington, 1971. Having quit her job as a city policewoman, single mother Rule has now established herself as a crime writer, and works part-time at a Samaritans-style callcentre to make ends meet. It is at the Crisis Clinic that she meets 24-year-old Theodore Robert ?Ted? Bundy, a handsome, intelligent but apparently insecure student. Working long nights together, sharing their callers? despair, Rule and Bundy become close friends and confidantes, despite their 15-year age gap. In 1974, still acquainted with Ted Bundy, Ann Rule gets the break of a lifetime. She is retained to write a book about a series of murders and disappearances of local women, all pretty young students. Rule, who has young daughters of her own, is as frightened as everyone else about the Seattle abductions and slayings, by a handsome stranger who has been seen and described, but has yet to be i
          dentified. As she begins her book, taking counsel from her circle of friends within King County Homicide, Ann begins to despair that the shadowy predator will never be caught, will simply kill and kill again, ruining the lives of more and more families. Remembering that this is a true story, the reader cannot help but feel Rule?s frustration, her feelings of helplessness, and her constant fear for her daughter and every other young woman in the city. All serial killers leave this kind of tension in their wake. Imagine Rule?s horror then, when her friend Ted, who has since moved to Utah, is arrested in the Mormon State, charged with abduction and investigated in connection with the Seattle disappearances, assaults and murders. This, however is only the beginning. Torn between friendship and dawning realisation, Rule joins Bundy on a legal and emotional rollercoaster, which inevitablly ends in the disintegration of their friendship, and with the death of a monster. The Stranger Beside Me is depressing in that it shows us that it is possible to spend a great many years sharing your life with another human being, then realise that you never really knew them at all. A non-fiction psychological thriller. A read and a half.

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            24.07.2001 08:29
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            I have all of Ann Rule's true crime books. My favorite she wrote is The Stranger Beside me. It is the true story of Ted Bundy, the man who mass-murdered women. In this book it tells the story of Ted Bundy's life up to the time when he took the lives of at least thirty-five people. What makes this book more chilling is that Ann Rule who was a former policewoman, was working on the biggest story of her life, tracking down a mass-murderer. Little did she know that the young man who was her close friend was the savage slayer she was hunting. MORE BOOKS BY ANN RULE - THE 1-5 KILLER - About a man named Randall Woodfield who was "the boy next door" But the handsome, athletic man was also a killer who cruised a northwestern super- highway and turned it into a trail of terror for woman. - SMALL SACRAFICES (1988)-Ann Rule's gripping, powerful, and ultimately terrifying true story of passion and murder. About a mother who is accused of shooting her two daughter's ages 7 and 8, and her 3 year old son, in cold blood. - LUST KILLER (1983) - One of the most terrifying true crime sories of our time. One by one the young women vanished without a trace. - POSSESSION - About a woman who went on a camping trip with her husband, then became a psychopathic stranger's sex slave. - THE WANT-AD KILLER - The terrifying true tale of a master manipulator of women. Brilliant and warped, he mocked the law in his orgy of savage sex and slaughter from Alaska to Washington State to Minnesota. After writing these books, Ann Rule started her crime files. VOL.1 - A ROSE FOR HER GRAVE (and other true cases) VOL.2 - YOU BELONG TO ME (and other true cases) VOL.3 - A FEVER IN THE HEART (and other true cases) VOL.4 - IN THE NAME OF LOVE (and other true cases) VOL.5 - THE END OF THE DREAM (and other true cases) VOL.6 - A RAGE TO KILL (and other true cases) There is a VOL.7, but I have not recieved it yet. My favorite stories are the other true cases that are in the back of all the VOL. books. There are about four or five short stories in each book. And let me tell you, if you like true crime stories, than you will love all of Ann Rule's books.!

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              17.05.2001 02:46
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              Without doubt this is one of Ann Rules best books. Being an avid reader of true crime I have come across a wide variety of writers who display very varied abilities. Ann Rule always researches her material well and is an expert at capturing the atmosphere. As the writer of A stranger Beside Me she had one major advantage over everyone else that has written anything on Ted Bundy,( one of America’s most prolific serial killers,) in that she actually knew him, and worked beside him in a tiny office for some time, hence the books title. Anne is able to offer a great insight into Ted Bundy not only as a serial killer and at one time America’s most wanted man, but also as a young man before he got involved in such horrors. She doesn't over indulge the reader in the gory details of the murders, but the effect of how horrid they were are still obvious. Like all of Ann's books the story doesn't end with the arrest. The court proceedings, where Ted, as a partially trained lawyer, attempts to represent himself, is able to put the victims of his rapes and attacks (that survived) through even more hell by making them relive the events whilst he questioned them in depth. Whilst awaiting execution on Death Row, Ted Bundy shared a lot of his inner most feelings and thoughts, by letter, with the author, the details of which are in the book. Knowing a little about Ted Bundy before reading A stranger Beside Me, I feel is a distinct advantage, as you are able to assess the mood of the country and the hatred most everyone had for him as he raped and murdered so many young women, and then balance that with the information Ann rule is able to provide having known him so well. It really is a must for any true crime buffs.

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                04.05.2001 01:23
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                America experiences the phenomenen of serial killers more often than most, and an ex-policeman by the name of Ann Rule was taking a more than passing interest in one particular man. Since she'd given up the job of being a policewoman in the 1950's, she'd married, had four children and was by 1971 was working on the helplines at Seattle's Crisis Clinic as a volunteer. She had a fledgling career as a freelance writer and was making a new circle of friends, due to her impending divorce. She loved law, and she loved to discuss it alongside her co-worker during the late evening stints. The guy was a 24 year old law student with a reputation verging on the brilliant. He was caring and told her to take care, as there were maniacs out there who could harm women as vulnerable as her. Handsome, charming and extremely likable, she had no idea that the serial killer of whom she would dispassionately write a book on, was the same man that sat with her in lonely offices night after night on shiftwork. Ted Bundy and Ann Rule were good friends. Born in 1946, Ted Bundy had grown up a shy child in a loving environment. The only quirk was that Ted didn't know that his elder sister was actually his mother. He doted on his grandparents, but when Ted came of an age when those that knew of his real parentage might start to cause problems, he moved away with his 'sister', Louise. Not long after, he attended her wedding to Johnny Bundy, an army cook, and at the age of 5 he's had his third and final surname. He was a bright child who grew into a tall, masculine and good-looking guy. In 1967 he met a girl called Stephanie, also clever, beautiful with long hair, well-off and he was obsessed with her. Determined that they would be together at all costs, he won himself a scholarship at a nearby University studying Chinese. Stephanie however, was not as convinced about Ted as her was about her, and she finished the relationship.
                Ted was devastated. After this time he also had confirmed what he had long suspected, that his mother and father weren't who he'd thought, and that even his other father-figure wasn't his father either. He had no father, just the cruel word "illegitimate" on his birth certificate, and rumours of a 30 year old salesman who'd abandoned them before he was born. Early 1970's and women are disappearing at an increasingly alarming rate. Beautiful young women with long hair, they were simply vanishing from public places, no one noticed them, no one remembered anything strange or untoward happening, the women just weren't there anymore. No traces of bodies in lots of cases, a few scattered remains in others. And so it went on for years, and then they caught him. But d'you know what? He got away, moved someplace else and started all over again. The unwitnessed and silent abductions, the remains turning up on some distant hillside, the police knew that Ted would be out there somewhere, disguising himself and keeping one step ahead of the police. Being clever. This is a pattern that will repeat itself in more than one American state. Places like Colorado, Utah, Oregaon, Florida, and maybe others besides. Wherever he was, the murders would follow the same modus operandi. When he was caught for the final time, he arrogantly dismissed his lawyers, intending to represent himself. After all, he had been acknowledged as a potentially brilliant student of law, and he fully believed in his own innocence. Finally, at the end of the case, he is found guilty and given the death sentence. No one really knows how many women he murdered, certainly 20 plus, maybe 30 or more, but come the day of his execution and the whole of America wanted to celebrate. (I can remember watching the news coverage and hearing the crowds roar as the prison lights momentarily dimmed with every surge that was passing through Ted Bu
                ndy's body. It was eerie and it felt sickly obscene, but it also felt right). Written in 1980, Ann Rule takes this unique journey brilliantly. She has a perspective and understanding of Ted Bundy in ways that no other author can claim. Her writing is clear, compassionate, compelling and well researched, maybe because of her attachment to Bundy, maybe not, but this isn't just the bog-standard book on a serial killer that she originally intended it to be. She includes correspondence that Ted intermittently had with her, and her feelings towards him and the appalling situation. This is what sets this apart from any other book on Bundy, this one includes the feelings of a friend who didn't want to believe what was happening. The same that you would feel if it happened to you. In my paperback, there is an updated section, written in 1989, after Ted had been finally put to death. In that she writes, "Ted wanted to be noticed, to be recognized. He accomplished that. He left this earth a man almost as hated as the Nazis who intrigues him. When Ted's representative announced that they planned to scatter Ted's ashes over the Cascade Mountains, there was a swell of ourtaged protest. The question was dropped and no one knows what has become of his earthly remains. It no longer matters. It is over. The Ted who might have been, and the Ted who was, both died on January 24th, 1989." An excellent read, and an absolute must for all fans of quality criminology.

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                  18.04.2001 19:56
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                  ‘A Stranger Beside Me’ is a true-life crime story with an amazing a twist that probably would not ring true in a fictional murder novel. As an ex-police woman and now crime reporter, Ann Rule tells the story of how she was involved in the case tracking down a mass murderer. Whilst working for a volunteer ‘Samaritan’ type helpline, she befriends a handsome and charming man who is working alongside her. This friend is called Ted Bundy and turns out to be the very man that is being sought – a man who has brutally murdered at least 38 young women. The book deals magnificently with the emotions that Ann Rule felt as she struggled to equate the friendly, appealing man with the horrific, murderous animal that was being sought. Her writing allows you to see a side to Ted Bundy that you find yourself liking, despite yourself. You know that to have committed such crimes he must be evil and sadistic yet you also get to see a slightly vulnerable, somewhat likeable man. I have read a number of Ann Rule books and this is without a doubt my favourite. Anyone who enjoys real-life crime books should give this one a go – prepare to be incapable of putting the book down! Available in paperback £6.99 ISBN 0751508187

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                • Product Details

                  True crime with a real twist.