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'm a bear that likes honey, climbing trees, stealing picnic baskets and listening to audiobooks.
I struggled a lot with this book. There are parts that are totally riveting (the accounts of Bundy's killings, for example). I was much less enthralled with Rule's account of her struggle to come to terms with the Ted she knew and the Ted that was accused of all this killing. One could almost argue that she is being willfully ignorant just to draw out the "drama" in this book.
Lock my doors. Take a harder look at people.
I think that this book is an excellent case study for a class in crime writing. It is maddening at times, frightening at times, and repetitive at times. With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, you want to shake this lady and tell her to stop making allowances for Bundy. Is she being willfully ignorant because it keeps her close to the story? Is she inflating her relationship with him to become a bigger part of the Bundy saga? It seems strange that she was not able to reach some of these conclusions sooner, but then again maybe that is hindsight talking. Recommended, but be prepared to be frustrated.
Rule produced the best of the Ted Bundy books. She was the one of those who, initially, thought that there had been a ghastly mistake. It was fascinating to watch as she came to the realization that the trusted companion, from a crisis center, was a monster. Rule held her emotions in check, when It must have made her skin crawl to remember her experiences. This book was the making of her career. It is the First but not the Last word on the Bundy Case. It does whet the appetite to read more.
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 can't believe it took me so long to read this book. What a great perspective from someone who actually knew the monster. Very interesting and offers a different view from other books out there.
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.
Avid reader turned listener.
This is my 3rd Ann Rule book, 1st being Dead By Sunset, and 2nd: Green River, Running Red. I say this one was "good". It's clear, like other reviewers have said, that this was her first book, but the relationship between her and Ted make for a more interesting story than had she not known the main character of what was to be her first book. I didn't find her vacillating feelings for Ted annoying, like some other reviewers did, nor did I think she exaggerated the extent of her relationship with Ted. I think it was all pretty appropriate.
There is definitely something lacking with this story, which I can't put my finger on, but I'd recommend it to an Ann Rule fan or someone looking to learn more about Ted Bundy and his crimes.
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.
Someone who likes "Romance / Murder" stuff.
Nothing. It seems like she held back. These crimes were creepy and horrible, her version is like reading a grocery list.
I found it droll, hard to pay attention.
Most of the crap about the author. Seems like it should have been titled, "ME, beside the stranger".
I love serial killer books. This was recommended as Rule's best. For me, it fell very short as a serial killer story and I won't invest time or money on this author again.
A 32 year old with a painfully short attention span. Audio books brought me back to reading.
I read multiple reviews that said how awful the narrator was for this book, and I nearly turned away but had been convinced by the high overall rating the book had. I'm glad I ended up doing that. I'm not sure why those people thought the narrator did a bad job. Okay, her male voices sound a little silly sometimes, but the variation in her female voices is great. Her overall narration is very good too.
I'm not big on writing reviews because let's be honest, I'm not very good at putting my thoughts into words. But at the very least I wanted to make sure to do my part to assure people that this lady knows what she's doing. I'll let people smarter than I am review the book itself. (Which is good by the way. One of Ann Rule's best.)
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