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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!
The author tricked me into believing that Ted Bundy was a handsome, clever, ordinary guy--just as he tricked her. If we believe Ann Rule, it was long after capture and late in the judicial process that she saw the truth about the guy she had once worked with. And that's what makes the whole thing really creepy.
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.
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.
Book yes, narrator no.
Great writer, I love Ann Rule but did not care for this narrator. It was very monatone.
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.
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