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The Stranger Beside Me: Ted Bundy The Shocking Inside Story

4.13  ·  Rating Details  ·  32,580 Ratings  ·  1,340 Reviews
Ann Rule was a writer working on the biggest story of her life, tracking down a brutal mass-murderer. Little did she know that Ted Bundy, her close friend, was the savage slayer she was hunting.
Paperback, 560 pages
Published June 1st 2001 by Signet (first published 1980)
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Marcus Clark It is not suitable for anyone under 18. There are some horrible things in this book, most of the murders are not detailed, but the parts that are…moreIt is not suitable for anyone under 18. There are some horrible things in this book, most of the murders are not detailed, but the parts that are could disturb anyone, particularly a teenager, for life. (less)
Robert Many of his victims were never found so it's hard tell all the exact details. Many details of how women disappeared and some details on the few whose…moreMany of his victims were never found so it's hard tell all the exact details. Many details of how women disappeared and some details on the few whose bodies were found. Unfortunately many were just bones by the time they were found. The most detailed account is perhaps his attack on the sorority house in which 4 college students were attacked in their sleep(two were killed and two others severely injured). This was unfortunately one of the few times bodies were found and a lot more detail is given here. So much so even made me squeamish, and I've already read several Ann Rule's books so I'm not a newbie to horrible crime scenes.

It does talk of how he was tracked down and eventually caught by Florida. They didn't realize at first who they had and that he was on the run from Colorado on a murder charge. Police eventually put the pieces together and he gets the electric chair for the murders. (less)
In Cold Blood by Truman CapoteHelter Skelter by Vincent BugliosiThe Stranger Beside Me by Ann RuleThe Devil in the White City by Erik LarsonTrue Hollywood Noir by Dina Di Mambro
Best True Crime
3rd out of 576 books — 1,012 voters
American Psycho by Bret Easton EllisLord of the Flies by William Golding1984 by George OrwellA Child Called "It" by Dave PelzerA Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
The Most Disturbing Book Ever Written
78th out of 1,786 books — 6,437 voters


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Paquita Maria Sanchez
Sep 03, 2010 Paquita Maria Sanchez rated it it was ok
Shelves: truthiness
"Oh, I was just in the right place at the right time..."

...NOT something that many of the women in Ted Bundy's life would come to say about meeting America's Grade-A machismo pin-up boy. In fact, as far as I can tell, Ann Rule was the only person to actually benefit from knowing him. And boy, did she ever.

To state it quite plainly, Rule is not what one would call a "great" writer. Or even really a good "writer." She repeats herself to accentuate her point like she's me writing like I talk when I
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Samantha
Aug 15, 2007 Samantha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: True Crime Fans
Shelves: true-crime
This book was absolutely riveting. I had started reading it a while ago, but was reading another book as well and had set it aside for a while. When I picked it up again, I simply could not put it down.

Ann Rule is one of the premiere true crime writers, but what made this one special was that she had been friends with Ted Bundy (and had worked with him at a Crisis Hotline!) before he was a suspect in the myriad heinous crimes he eventually confessed to a few days before he was executed.

The most
...more
Shaun
Feb 01, 2015 Shaun rated it really liked it
Wow. This was an exhausting read. Between the epilogue, the afterword 1986, the last chapter 1989, the update: twenty years later 2000, and a postscript penned by Rule's daughter, I thought I might never finish this.

That said, it is considered by many to be the definitive work not only on Bundy the serial killer, but also on Bundy the charismatic, attractive, and promising law student.

And really. What are the chances? You're a struggling single mom of four, eking out a living writing true crime
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Jack
Jan 18, 2009 Jack rated it did not like it
For all that Ann Rule invokes her friendship with Bundy -both before and after Bundy's arrest - the truth is this book could have been written solely off of newspaper research and trial records. There's no real emotional-depth or analysis. And Rule's interjections of what was happening with her personal life are annoying; they don't connect to any of the other events she's writing about, and since her entire description of her feelings towards and interactions with bundy are about as dry as when ...more
Wayne Barrett
Apr 22, 2016 Wayne Barrett rated it really liked it

As an up and coming writer who had yet to publish her first novel, Ann Rule found herself working behind a desk for a suicide crisis hotline organization. She took calls from people who were angry, sad, depressed and suicidal. Sharing her shift and taking calls along side Ann was a caring, intelligent, handsome young man named Ted.

During this period, Ann, who had a background in police work, began working on an article about a mysterious killer. There wasn't much known about the killer at the t
...more
Lisa Greer
Nov 07, 2008 Lisa Greer rated it really liked it
I was hooked from the first page. What an opportunity Rule had. I know that is ghoulish, but wow. This definitely made her career, and it also shows that Bundy, like many others, is more than a cardboard cut out figure of a killer.

This was really excellent. I think Rule had great insights, and I think she might be right when she said Bundy probably fooled James Dobson in the famous interview. She showed her slow realization that he was a sociopath.

I think the interesting thing is that there are
...more
Estelle
Jul 12, 2015 Estelle rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
An uneven read. Sometimes griping and fascinating, other times tedious and dragging. Even tho Ann Rule's relationship with Ted Bundy and her unique perspective on the whole case made the book interesting, I almost wished I read something written by a different person. Someone with better writing skills.
I'd still recommend "The Stranger Beside Me" to anyone who wants a very detailed account of Bundy's life, but be prepared... This is a long and tiresome book.
Lori
Jun 18, 2009 Lori rated it it was amazing
Ann Rule's "The Stranger Beside Me" is probably the most frightening of all the accounts of Ted Bundy's murderous career. Why? Because Rule was a former policewoman, she considered Ted Bundy a co-worker and friend and never saw the sociopathic personality lurking behind his charming facade. As a society, I think we want to believe that we can easily spot those Bundys, Dahmers, Gacys . . . and Rule's book emphasizes the fact that we cannot. Those monsters blend in sometimes seamlessly with the re ...more
Caroline
Apr 12, 2016 Caroline rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Lovers of true crime stories; those wanting to know everything about Ted Bundy
***NO SPOILERS***

This, Ann Rule's most famous book, is a truly riveting read, never dry, not journalistic, and admirably thorough. One star docked, however, for an underlying sympathy toward Bundy that is very hard to understand much less accept. Rule, who had been a good friend of Bundy's, spoke of sending him money (totaling several hundred dollars over the years) and stamps while he was imprisoned and continuing her communications with him for years and years. It seems unlikely that Rule inte
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Kavita
Apr 12, 2015 Kavita rated it it was amazing
Shelves: true-crime
We serial killers are your sons, we are your husbands, we are everywhere. And there will be more of your children dead tomorrow.

What are the chances of a ex-policewoman turned journalist working on a story about random murders taking place in the country actually having worked at close quarters with the same serial killer in a crisis centre? That's a pretty unique position to be in and Ann Rule was unfortunate enough to be on the spot. She had bonded with Ted over months of saving people's liv
...more
Doug DePew
Jun 23, 2011 Doug DePew rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in true crime
I've worked in prisons most of my adult life. I have looked many killers in the eyes...some who committed crimes as disturbing as Bundy's. You can see it in most of them. The most disturbing thing about Bundy is the fact that most people couldn't see it. Even his friend, Ann Rule, didn't see it.

"The Stranger Beside Me" by Ann Rule is a brilliantly constructed book. It's amazing how she transitions from not knowing anything about the murders to not believing the murders to accepting that her fri
...more
Brenna
Mar 30, 2009 Brenna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
TED BUNDY WAS, to Ann Rule, the sort of low-maintenance manner of friend with whom one conversed once in a great while, just to exchange news or perhaps share the occasional lunch. There were times, late at night, when the two worked together at a Washington state crisis hotline - and this bothered the then small-time crime column writer not at all. Ted Bundy made her feel safe, in fact, when local women were turning up missing - and, eventually, murdered.

In writing this book, it became clearer
...more
Allie
Sep 11, 2011 Allie rated it it was ok
Ann Rule was in a position any crime writer would be jealous of: she starts writing a book about a series of incredibly awful crimes and finds out the central suspect is a person she knows. Yet as the book went on, it seemed more like she was just another Ted Bundy "groupie," fascinated with him and unable to believe such a "nice" person would do such awful things. She doesn't go into much detail on the crimes, obviously wanting to believe, and for us the readers to also believe, he's not such a ...more
Israel
Jul 04, 2008 Israel rated it it was amazing
This was a haunting book, I simply could not put it down. Ann Rule narratives are honest, straightforward accounts of events as she knows them, no sensational embellishments. An incredible true crime book.

------------------------------

Una de las grandes habilidades de Ann Rule (primer libro suyo que leo) es la de poder organizar una gran cantidad de información técnica, entrevistas, evidencias y criminalistica puntual de una manera que se hace deliciosamente digerible.

La historia de Bundy es si
...more
Sumit Singla
Aug 15, 2014 Sumit Singla rated it did not like it
Shelves: horror, non-fiction, 2014
Redundant, boring, and a massive drag. There is just so much wrong with this book that if I list all of it, my review might get to about half the length of the book.

Ann Rule cannot write. There are far too many repetitions, poorly phrased sentences, typos, and missing words in the book. I can understand that the 'writer' might have created many chapters from her notes, but that is no excuse for poor editing. The length of the book is too much for my liking. (Did Ann Rule get paid by the number o
...more
Mel
Nov 18, 2010 Mel rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-as-an-adult
A poorly written and very disturbing book. Not just because of Ted Bundy but because of Ann Rule. She writes about how she knew Ted over a long period of time, suspected he might be the man police were looking for but then claims she had no way of knowing for certain and it isn’t her fault he wasn’t apprehended earlier. She is an ex-police officer and says she has good contacts in the force but after she makes her original inquiry about Ted’s car she explains her own failure to insist they look ...more
Liz
Jun 03, 2012 Liz rated it it was ok
Ann really had nothing here. She hung out with him for maybe a couple of months and nearly smoked pot with him (obviously this was her, 'I was nearly a victim of Bundy' bit; but Ann he was killing young attractive brunette co-eds, not 50-something grandmas....but hey, it was a close call.

There was no additional information here that you couldn't pull from the internet. So although not bad, just disappointing.

I get where Ann is coming from though, if I once caught a bus with a woman who knew a gu
...more
Shelly
May 21, 2012 Shelly rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The content of this true crime story kept me on the edge of my seat. The descriptions of Bundy's easy going mannerisms and his brutal murders really creeped me out. Rule's writing on the other hand was just okay and never really hooked me. It wasn't horrible by any means, it just didn't add much to the experience. Compelling subject matter, okay writing.
Grace
May 28, 2012 Grace rated it it was amazing
These sorts of stories fascinate me. Ted Bundy - a guy who has everything going for him, a student of law, incredibly intelligent and an amazing future ahead of him turns out to be one of the most brutal and terrifying serial killers in America. This is as well as being blessed with good looks and women practically falling at his feet - I can't make sense of it. It's frightening that if Ted Bundy hadn't confessed I may not have believed it.

I'm not a supporter of the death penalty, even in extre
...more
Linda
Ann Rule, a former police officer and author for the magazine True Detective, worked with a case of serial murders in the 1970's. Eventually, something made her remember her colleague at the Seattle Crisis Clinique. Was it possible that a man she had known for several years - and worked with at a place where humanity and empathy are essential - could be something else than a sweet, modest man?

This is the story of Ted Bundy, who murdered approximately 30-100 people in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, U
...more
 PuMbA's MoMmy*•.♥.•*
The crimes of Ted Bundy were horrific and very brutal. This book is filled with so many details on his known crimes. It is suspected that there are hundreds of Bundy victims that no one knows about to date.

I was very shocked to know that Ann Rule knew him personally before he began his serial killing spree. What really horrified me is how she keot in contact with him even after he was arrested. She would even send him money or stamps. That is just crazy to me. I would have thought that she would
...more
Nick
Jan 05, 2009 Nick rated it liked it
Fascinating and extremely quick read of the story of serial killer Ted Bundy, written from the point of view of a "crime writer" who coincidentally was at one time friends with the killer. This author disturbs me nearly as much as Ted Bundy though! She is at best the most naive crime writer ever born, or at worst a knowing witness of a serial killer's career from beginning to end, possibly simply to further a dying writing career. For someone so sure of her clever criminal mind, the author fails ...more
Nicola
Feb 27, 2011 Nicola rated it liked it
Ann Rule’s book about Ted Bundy, The Stranger Beside Me, is undeniably compelling and well-researched, but I don’t quite think it deserves to be hailed as a ‘classic’ of true crime.

The narrative hinges on Rule’s ten-year friendship with Bundy and her initial refusal to believe he was capable of mass murder. Although this friendship clearly deeply affected Rule, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that… um… they weren’t really friends.

They met as occasional work colleagues at a crisis hotline, at
...more
Stephen
This book was a really interesting read about the serial killer, Ted Bundy, particularly because the author, Ann Rule was a personal friend of his and started covering the case before finding out that the murderer was someone that she knew, which in itself makes the book pretty unique. The thing that I found most disturbing about the book was how normal Ted Bundy seemed - not at all the stereotype serial killer (loner, unpopular, strange, showing signs of unusual/weird behaviour,etc).
He seemed t
...more
Brad
Dec 02, 2015 Brad rated it liked it
This is really two books, so I offer two reviews:

The Stranger Beside Me: Ted Bundy the Shocking Inside Story

When Ann Rule is focused on her memories of Ted Bundy, when she is really giving us a look at a serial killer from the perspective of someone who knew and liked him before his guilt was revealed, her book is an impressive (and I am guessing singular) piece of true crime writing.

The case she makes in the original book (there are numerous addendums as times changed and new developments aros
...more
Constanza
This book is a very detail account of the life and crimes of famous serial killer Ted Bundy, what makes this book different from the average memoir or documentaries you can find about him is that this one is told by someone who knew him and was an actual friend of him. This works well for most of the novel but it's also where the major problems with it, I'm not sure if Ann Rule was able to distance herself completely from being a friend and an author so at times her view on the crimes, trials an ...more
Deborah Edwards
Jul 30, 2009 Deborah Edwards rated it really liked it
Still the most famous - and possibly the best - of the true crime genre, featuring Ted Bundy as the poster boy for America's obsession with serial killers. Rule's book stands out for a number of reasons. She knew Bundy, worked alongside him in a crisis center, and although she was a former policewoman with a real talent for researching sociopaths, Bundy was so intelligent, so charming, so seemingly "normal," that Rule never once suspected his darkness. Her fluid writing style and talent for conv ...more
anionce
Apr 15, 2016 anionce rated it did not like it
Definitivamente me gusta más la ficción.

Aunque la idea de que Ann Rule conociera al asesino sobre el que investigaba es apasionante, el libro está escrito con poca emoción e intriga. Además, parece que Ann esté enamorada de él, aunque no lo llegue a decir nunca. Y tela.
Abby
Jul 10, 2015 Abby rated it really liked it
A truly interesting perspective on a mass murderer that I haven't seen with true crime before. There's something so much more real when it's told by a personal friend. Though it dragged in places, I gave this a 4/5 for being so fascinating.
Brenda
Dec 31, 2008 Brenda rated it it was amazing
I adore the way Ann Rule tells her stories. I read this book when I was in college...living on the bottom floor of a dormitory... I was freaked out for a few months after finishing. You will understand once you pick this one up.
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Ann Rule was a popular American true crime writer. Raised in a law enforcement and criminal justice system environment, she grew up wanting to work in law enforcement herself. She was a former Seattle Policewoman and was well educated in psychology and criminology.

She came to prominence with her first book, The Stranger Beside Me, about the Ted Bundy murders. At the time she started researching th
...more
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“Just be careful," a Seattle homicide detective warned. "Maybe we'd better know where to find your dental records in case we need to identify you."
I laughed, but the words were jarring; the black humor that would surround Ted Bundy evermore begun.”
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“I watched from somewhere up above and saw the troopers lift the car off someone. Then I saw that it was me lying there. I wasn’t afraid, and I didn’t feel any pain—not until I woke up in the hospital three days later. Since then, I’ve known that the soul doesn’t die, only the body, and I’ve never been afraid.” 1 likes
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