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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"As dramatic and chilling as a bedroom window shattering at midnight." (The New York Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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Solidly meh.

I know everyone loves this book and I feel kind of embarrassed for being so bored by it. It's not a bad book. It's just a different kind of true crime than what I prefer. I like to get to know the victims and the criminals. I prefer works like those of Jack Olsen which include detailed nuanced pictures of the victims, their families, and the criminals and their families. This book is largely about Ann Rule. I should have expected this; it does have the word "me" in the title, after all. The portraits of the victims are two-dimensional at best. They're just names at worst. This book is part memoir, part true crime and there's nothing wrong with that. It's just not my thing. The narrator bored me too. She seems kind of disinterested and removed. There's little modulation in her reading and I found myself having a hard time paying attention. I listened to 75% of the book and felt so indifferent about it that I just gave up.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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May I introduce you to Ted Bundy?

What did you love best about The Stranger Beside Me?

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!

What did you like best about this story?

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.

Which character – as performed by Lorelei King – was your favorite?

Had to be Ted Bundy because of his two personalities.

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Pita
  • Miami
  • 08-11-14

Rule and Bundy, who knew?

Would you consider the audio edition of The Stranger Beside Me to be better than the print version?

Probably. Although I did not read the print version I believe true crime books benefit from a good narration.

Would you recommend The Stranger Beside Me to your friends? Why or why not?

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.

Have you listened to any of Lorelei King’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I had never listened to anything by this narrator before. She was excellent here.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

"Ted Bundy and Anne Rule: Unlikely buddies"

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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What a unique experience the author had!

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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • matthew
  • plymouth, in, United States
  • 06-17-12

Great narration; plodding storytelling

If you could sum up The Stranger Beside Me in three words, what would they be?

long and dry

Any additional comments?

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Colleen
  • beaverton, OR, United States
  • 06-11-12

Interesting Story

Is there anything you would change about this book?

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.

What did you like best about this story?

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.

What three words best describe Lorelei King’s voice?

Unremarkable...which is good.

Did The Stranger Beside Me inspire you to do anything?

I wanted to see more and learn more about the victims so I did some research while listening.

Any additional comments?

You will not walk away understanding why he did what he did...which probably why it makes it such an interesting story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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good book

Where does The Stranger Beside Me rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

this is a good book. for true crime fans. kept my interest until the very end

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Lorri
  • New Albany, IN, United States
  • 08-29-13

Worth the listen.

If you could sum up The Stranger Beside Me in three words, what would they be?

Worth the listen.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

There was too much time given to legal proceedings and too many "final" chapters.

Which character – as performed by Lorelei King – was your favorite?

I didn't have a favorite. I thought she did good job giving different voice characterizations.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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struggle

I struggled to finish and only did because I ran out of options.... so sorry

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Interesting point of view to read.

There is a reason this book is always recommend in true crime circles. It's good.