BOOK 185: THE STRANGER BESIDE ME: ANN RULE
The Stranger Beside Me is a 1980 autobiographical and biographical true crime book written by Ann Rule about the serial killer Ted Bundy, whom she knew personally before and after his arrest for a series of murders. Subsequent revisions of the book were published in 1986, 1989, 2000, and 2008.
MY VERDICT: This book is simply amazing. It’s well written and continuingly interesting but the most astounding thing about it is it’s very existence – all the things that had to come into place to make this book happen. The fact that Ann Rule, as a true crime author, was commissioned to write a book about a series of murders and then slowly discovered that the murderer was a man she knew as a friend is something that you wouldn’t believe in a film script. But truth is stranger than fiction.
When I first heard about this book I had assumed that Ann Rule knew Ted Bundy in passing, that they’d worked in the same building taking calls from those in need, maybe they exchanged a few words. The truth is that they considered each other friends, they went to parties together, they had lunch together, they spoke about themselves and their personal problems. How shocked would you be if someone you knew this way turned out to be a brutal murderer? And for so long she believed that he couldn’t have done it. Ann Rule expresses all her emotions bare on the page and this is scattered among details of Ted’s life and Ted’s crimes. It’s fascinating from start to finish and although the order maybe could have been a little less disjointed, (it starts with his escape to Florida) which in my opinion should have been more chronological (especially with the notes at the start and finish of the book) it’s still easy to follow and you do feel like you’re taken on a journey through the life, crimes and relationships of a real serial murderer.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in true crime.