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)
Let's face it, these authors aren't paying me, so there's no need to lie!!
This book is unique in the sense that the author was actually close friends with Bundy, and you can feel the need she has to defend him permeating the pages. She presents the details of his killings in a cold, detached way that comes across as somewhat boring. She manages to convey the sense of how each murder/victim was different, but she does it in a way that feels like you're reading some kid's book report. It's just not that colorful.
I like some of Rule's other books, but this one doesn't do Bundy justice. For a criminal as charismatic and manipulative as he was, his story deserved to be told with more excitement and horror. In fairness to Rule, this was her first successful book, so I'm sure she's been improving as a writer with each subsequent book.
The 3 hour epilogue is helpful, in that it brings us up to the point that Bundy is finally executed... I doubt that's a spoiler for anyone. If it is, sorry.
The narrator was great. I've read reviews of the abridged version that says that narrator was horrible. This one is spot on.
Overall, if you're interested in Bundy, this is the book for you, NOT the abridged version. You'll certainly have a clear understanding of just how monstrous this man actually was.
One would think it would be difficult to make this sensationalist account of Ted Bundy -- one of America's most enduringly interesting serial killers -- boring. And yet somehow, Lorelei King manages.
She attempts to pitch her voice unnaturally low for all male characters -- the vice she shares with many female narrators -- but also bizarrely forces her voice higher whenever women are speaking. Beyond distracting.
Member since 2000
Unfortunately, Ann Rule stumbles with The Stranger Beside Me, by claiming to be an intimate friend of Ted Bundy. She transforms the short, erratic time she worked with the man into a close relationship. Yet, despite herculean efforts, nothing more than a casual acquaintanceship is described. Also, Rule frequently repeats that she was highly regarded by law enforcement agencies, thus attempting to validate her own self-importance. Furthermore, Rule is enamored with Bundy, often mentioning how sophisticated and gentlemanly he was. Eventually listeners will tire of the lavish praise heaped on one of histories most prolific killers.
However, interspersed with the leaps of fantasy are outstanding snippets of the gruesome horrors perpetrated by Ted Bundy. Of course, Rule does a superb job of describing his descent into murderous madness. To begin with, we see an intelligent, polite young man. But, gradually a portrait emerges of a monster. In addition, the notorious killer was suspected of abducting and killing eight year old Ann Marie Burr, in 1961. She is thought to have been Bundy's first victim, with the murder being perpetrated when he was only 14. Lorelei King delivers an effortless performance as she recounts Bundy's childhood, the murders he committed, his capture, imprisonment and trial. All things considered, it would be remiss to imply that this is less than an engaging account of the infamous serial killer.
Ann has a way with bringing a story to light. She can lift the victims in a way that makes you feel like they were your neighbors, your friends, your family. But she has a way of making the killers seem that way as well.
A perfect murderer, intelligent and cunning, Bundy swept the nation with his killing spree from Washington to Florida. To this day there isn't an accurate body count, and now that he's gone, there may never be.
As her first official novel, Stranger Beside Me casts an eerie shadow on our beloved author as she narrates her friendship with one of the worst killers of the 20th century.
I couldn't imagine having to admit that one of my best friends was a mass murderer and a psychopath.
This book isn't just about Bundy and his slayings, though they do go into incredible detail, it's also about one woman's struggle to see the devil in the angel she thought she knew.
Her journey was long, exhausting, and disappointing, but she weaves her tale so wonderfully that it seems as if you were right there with her throughout the ordeal.
This book is a MUST READ for ALL Ann Rule fans. Again, as I've said before, it's a must read for all of those who reside in the Pacific North West.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Life long compulsive reader & lover of recorded books
Probably. Although I did not read the print version I believe true crime books benefit from a good narration.
I would recommend this book to anybody interested in true crime in general and Ted Bundy in particular. For anybody who decides to try the true crime genre Anne Rule is a no fail option. I am not a hard core true crime reader but have a taste for it once in a while and Anne Rule has never fail me.
I had never listened to anything by this narrator before. She was excellent here.
"Ted Bundy and Anne Rule: Unlikely buddies"
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