Ann Rule was working on the biggest story of her career, tracking the trail of victims left by a brutal serial killer. Little did this future best-selling author know that the savage slayer she was hunting was the young man she counted among her closest friends.
Everyone's picture of a natural winner, Ted Bundy was a bright, charming, and handsome man with a promising future as an attorney. But on January 24, 1989 Bundy was executed for the murders of three young women - and had confessed to taking the lives of at least thirty-five more women from coast to coast. Ann Rule, who kept in constant contact with Bundy throughout the investigation, tells his story as no other person can, capturing the essence of his magnetic power, unholy compulsion, and demonic double life.
Available for the first time on audio, this shocking true story is an unforgettable listening experience. In an emotional reading, Rule tells us about Ted Bundy - the man she thought she really knew...the stranger beside her.
©2008 Ann Rule (P)2012 Simon & Schuster
"As dramatic and chilling as a bedroom window shattering at midnight." (The New York Times)
I bought this book because it was mentioned several times in the book "Without a Conscience" by Robert D. Hare. While I found the story of Ted Bundy interesting, the effect he had on Ann Rule was as chilling as his murders.
Hour after hour I listened to the book waiting for the realization that Ann would finally come to about what a monster Ted Bundy was, but it never came.
Ann Rule, calmly and with almost the same callousness that Ted Bundy displayed in his life, reports on his murders and yet, she Ann, still talks about him as if her were a favored lover.
I can certainly understand protecting and supporting your friend until it is proven he is a monster, but at some point common decency should make you cringe in horror with the rest of the population at these atrocities.
This book makes the point of Dr Hare's book even more evident. When you deal with a psychopathic personality you can be taken in to the point of no return. The Stranger Beside Me" is the embodiment of that.
I had always heard that this book was a classic of true crime. I am by no means an aficionado of the genre but I thought this was a rather boring book. It read a bit like a text book and had no real narrative flow.
Ann Rule sets the standard for true-crime books. I have yet to discover another author that comes close. If it is by Ann Rule, you know you are getting the very best, and you will be sucked in and taken away into another universe.
She does meticulous research the reader benefits from, and she adds a depth to the telling of the facts that comes from very deep understanding of her topic. Over decades of focusing on true crime, she has perfected the art of telling these stories like no one ever has.
This work is unique in that Ann actually knew the serial killer personally, had worked with him and maintained ties of friendship with him even after his trouble with the law began. So she had more than a bird's eye view, more than police records and media articles. That aspect - her own emotional involvement - adds another layer of interest but does not get in the way of her strict discipline in relating the facts and unfolding the story, to her credit.
There's no way you can go wrong with this book. Treat yourself.
I am a retired Court Reporter and I LOVE books. All kinds of books but my favorites are mysteries and period books. I like civil war books and some biographies.
I've read a lot of true crime books and this one was one of the very best. To be friends with one of the worst serial killers and not know it for a long time would be, for a writer, both interesting and terrifying. I thought the author did a great job in writing this book.
From Ann Rule, but never Lorelei King.
Her attempt to "sound like" various characters was very, very annoying and detracted from the story.
Yes, though there were times I didn't think I could stand the narration another moment.
long and dry
The narrator was great - I really appreciated her vocalization of the characters and her telling of the plot - it was just about the only thing that made it listenable. The story was long and drawn out, full of conjecture, and SLOW.
I believe it was Ann Rule's first book, so it is a little clumsy, but still an interesting story. I would like to see this rewritten now that she's honed her skills. There is so much more she could do to bring you into the moment. Some parts are a little too clinical and removed. She's added "chapters" over the years at the end, as time has gone by... again, a rewrite where she could incorporate that into the book would be better.
Learning about the "humane" side of Ted Bundy. So often we forget that people aren't black and white and he did some good things.
Unremarkable...which is good.
I wanted to see more and learn more about the victims so I did some research while listening.
You will not walk away understanding why he did what he did...which probably why it makes it such an interesting story.
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. That's putting it mildly. I was entranced by it! I like true crime books, but I stay away from subjects that are too gruesome and scary, like the murders of Ted Bundy.
I worried this book would give me nightmares. However, Ann Rule does not fill her book with gory details. Instead Ann tells the shocking and fascinating story of life in the years of his murders and trials, and of her relationship and correspondence with him. The book is updated to reflect all the changes in his legal situation.
There is a lot of heart in this book. Ann Rule writes it with such compassion and true emotion. It's incredibly well written!! I can't say that enough. Instead of coming away with nightmares, I was able to view the horror and tragedy of Ted Bundy from an unusual and fascinating perspective. Rule stays away from the sensationalism that you might expect from a "serial killer" expose. She has written an unbelievably compelling story. It was really interesting to read (hear) her shifting of thoughts and emotions regarding Bundy and his crimes, as she battled with the realization that he may have used her just like he used the other women in his life. Oh it is just a really good book.
I highly recommend this. It is a book that will stay in my thoughts for a long time to come. And I will continue to read Ann Rule. This isn't my first if her books, but I think this is her best that I've read so far!!
British ex-pat living in NC. Have more personalities than Sybil which is reflected in my choice of books! Frustrated writer at heart.
I felt that I met Ted Bundy. That I could have liked the person that he showed the world. As for his evil side I would only meet him armed with an AK47 and forty US Marines!
Ann Rule, having known Ted, had a fondness for the 'good Ted'. Ted was younger than Ann and perhaps he let her see the vulnerable side that made her want to 'Mother' him. He in turn was tall, well built and protective towards Ann. I think that made him show her his 'Big Brother' side.
It must have seemed so eerie when Ann was reporting on a serial killer only to find that it was her friend of several years. A man who knew where she lived and knew that she was a single Mother with teenage daughters who wore their hair long dark hair with a center part. A very fashion forward look of the '70s plus a favored look of Ted Bundy's.
Had to be Ted Bundy because of his two personalities.
The updated version over the original and Ann's feelings about the outcome. I was just surprised that Ann Rule did not visit Ted towards the end of his life.
Even if you have read the original volume this updated version is GOLDEN. Treat yourself to a good read as this is the quintessential true crime serial killer classic.
Worth the listen.
There was too much time given to legal proceedings and too many "final" chapters.
I didn't have a favorite. I thought she did good job giving different voice characterizations.
I can't say I was "moved," but more "astounded" that Bundy could accomplish the massacre at the sorority house in a 15 minute time span without anyone being the wiser.
It took so long for Rule to realize that Bundy was a killer. She sympathized with him far too long and it's hard to believe she couldn't see through him. But then again, I've never been (and hope never to be) in such a horrendous situation.
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