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The Stranger Beside Me

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  38,377 Ratings  ·  1,734 Reviews

Ted Bundy was handsome, charming, a brilliant law student, and on the verge of a dazzling career. On January 24, 1989, he was executed for the murders of three young women, having confessed to taking the lives of at least thirty-five more.

This is the story of one of the most fascinating killers in American history—of his magnetic power, his bleak compulsion, his double lif

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Paperback, 498 pages
Published July 7th 1989 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)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Paquita Maria Sanchez
"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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Ana
Sep 03, 2016 Ana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dark-reads, crime
What’s one less person on the face of the earth, anyway?

 photo 5a281e09a294fecc25dd43c20d2c3147_zpsfbgzgghh.png


Ted has been described as the perfect son, the perfect student, the Boy Scout grown to adulthood, a genius, as handsome as a movie idol, a bright light in the future of the Republican Party, a sensitive psychiatric social worker, a budding lawyer, a trusted friend, a young man for whom the future could surely hold only success. He is all of these things, and none of them. Ted Bundy fits no pattern at all; you could not look at his re
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Jonathan Ashleigh
This was an interesting read, and for the most part it was written adequately. Due to the geography of the murders (I am from Aspen), I had a particular interest in some of the events. My problem with the book is the self-important place which the author places herself when her own words make me feel as though she was nothing more than a "Ted groupie" who sent him money in jail and gave him information. At times, she claims Ted calls her only to talk, and then it is clearly evident by what their ...more
Maede
از بین همه ی قاتل های سریالی که مدت هاست پرونده هاشون رو می خونم، بدون شک "تد باندی" موجود کاملاً متفاوتیه. درسته که باندی به متهم به کشتن و تجاوز به حداقل سی زن بود (آمار اصلی به احتمال زیاد خیلی بیشتر هست) ولی کسانی بودند که خیلی بیشتر از باندی کشتند و خیلی فجیع تر

اما باندی یک موجود نادر بود. یک هیولا-انسان.
مردی که می تونست حقوق و روانشناسی بخونه و یک دانشجوی نمونه باشه، سال ها عاشق زنی باشه، برای صاحبخانه ی پیرش مثل یک پسر باشه و بچه ای در حال غرق شدن رو نجات بده و در همان حال دخترهای جوان ر
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Shaun
May 23, 2013 Shaun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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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Poonam
Generally I do not read much of non-fiction but I do make an exception for True crime stories. I have read another book by Ann Rule and the thing I like about her books is that even though they are non-fiction they read like a fiction story.

This book is about the famous serial killer Ted Bundy who terrorized U.S in the 70's. The story is told from perspective of his close friend (Ann Rule) who had known him before he was ever suspected in any of the killings.

The story takes us back to Ted's chil
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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
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Jack
Jan 18, 2009 Jack rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Estelle
Nov 26, 2014 Estelle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
LeAnne
I was a freshman at FSU in the fall of 1979 and had a work study job at the multimedia laboratory on campus. I worked with professionals learning about campus TV productions, photography, and journalism. Several of the people that I worked with had to go to Bundy's trial to testify for the defense. After he killed the girls at FSU's Chi Omega sorority house, it was a multi media laboratory van that he stole and drove to Lakeland where he killed his final victim and was captured.Basically, they w ...more
Lori
Jun 18, 2009 Lori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Lisa Greer
Nov 05, 2008 Lisa Greer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Kavita
Apr 12, 2015 Kavita rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime, usa
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
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Caroline
Oct 28, 2011 Caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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's very hard to understand much less accept. Rule, who'd been a close 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 friendly communications with him for many years. It seems unlikely that Rule in
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Sumit Singla
Aug 05, 2014 Sumit Singla rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Doug DePew
Jun 23, 2011 Doug DePew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Alissa Patrick
Hello. My name is Alissa and I am a True Crime addict & a serial killer enthusiast. ::waves::

I don't know what the fascination is with this awful people, but any type of True Crime story comes my way and I eat it up. I have a coworker that feels the same and we are constantly discussing which ones are our "favorite" serial killers. Morbid I know. You can judge me, it's okay!

For me, it has always been Ted Bundy. Ted Bundy was the first one I can clearly remember. As sick as it sounds, he was
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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
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Allie
Sep 11, 2011 Allie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Rebecca McNutt
Many true crime stories are easily predictable and sensationalist pieces, but The Stranger Beside Me is not the case. This book tells the story of notorious serial killer Ted Bundy, but instead of focusing on him, it focuses on the opinions of one of his close friends, who finds herself trying to come to terms with his twisted actions.
Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
This book was really good. I loved how she wrote about her friendship with Bundy honestly, and about his crimes. She does not make excuses for him. She wrote about the many sides of Bundy- the manipulative charming side, the narcissistic side, and the monster that he is deep down. In the end, he really was a stranger, instead of one of her good friends.

I can see how she got her reputation of writing excellent true crime, and I plan on reading more of her writing.
Israel Calzadilla
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.

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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
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Liz
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
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Angel Erin
Review to come
Katherine Addison
I admit I have a blind prejudice against Ann Rule, because she is (1) prolific, (2) wildly popular, (3) published in paperbacks that look like the epitome of trashy true crime.

Now, I know better than all of this. I know prolific is no barometer of quality, I know popularity is likewise charted on a completely different axis, and holy freaking Jesus do I know that how a book is packaged has nothing whatsoever to do with the book itself. But of course that's how prejudice works; it's something tha
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Travis Hutch Belushi
THIS IS NOT FICTION, that was something I had to keep reminding myself of while reading. This is a brilliantly written %100 accurate true story of a Man who makes Satan look like an angel. I want to give Ann Rule a massive shout out, this is my first Ann Rule book and WHAO what a ride.

I got caught up in a strange fascination with Ted Bundy. Such a charismatic character that anyone would love to have as a friend. Though the loveable and admirable 'Ted' he lets people see is just the tip - of the
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Angus McKeogh
Jan 26, 2017 Angus McKeogh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one was really good. I've had it in my reading list for a while but was a little hesitant because I thought it was going to revolve around a casual acquaintance from a couple of weeks of shared time at a Crisis Hotline. Instead, imagine you have a circle of pretty good friends, and one of them is arrested and charged with being a prolific serial killer. I didn't really anticipate the level of closeness and correspondence the author shared with Bundy. Such a weird and statistically unusual o ...more
Mel
Nov 17, 2010 Mel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Shelly
Aug 13, 2011 Shelly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sara
May 15, 2017 Sara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime, eh, elusive
This was not quite what I was expecting.

I'm a true crime junkie. I'm also totally unashamed of that fact. I am fascinated by the criminal mind. I'm obsessively interested in serial killers and famous cold cases and I listen to things like "My Favorite Murder" and I spend hours on Murderpedia and I embrace that part of myself wholeheartedly. I think we need to know about the worst things we're capable of as people. We need to understand what makes people like Jeffrey Dahmer and Albert Fish do the
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« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • The Riverman: Ted Bundy and I Hunt for the Green River Killer
  • Blind Faith
  • Bitter Blood: A True Story of Southern Family Pride, Madness, and Multiple Murder
  • The Only Living Witness: The True Story of Serial Sex Killer Ted Bundy
  • The Hillside Stranglers
  • The Night Stalker
  • Tears of Rage: From Grieving Father to Crusader for Justice: The Untold Story of the Adam Walsh Case
  • The Cases That Haunt Us
  • Killer Clown: The John Wayne Gacy Murders
  • Depraved: The Definitive True Story of H.H. Holmes, Whose Grotesque Crimes Shattered Turn-Of-The-Century Chicago
  • Whoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty Years Tracking Serial Killers for the FBI
  • The Search for the Green River Killer
  • Deadly Innocence
  • Perfect Victim: The True Story of "The Girl in the Box"
  • I: The Creation of a Serial Killer
  • In Broad Daylight: A Murder in Skidmore, Missouri
  • The Jeffrey Dahmer Story: An American Nightmare
  • Zodiac
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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
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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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“Some people hate the smell of hospitals. I hate the smell of jails and prisons, all the same: stale cigarette smoke, Pine-Sol, urine, sweat, and dust.” 1 likes
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