The Stranger Beside Me
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Stranger Beside Me

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  24,753 ratings  ·  973 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

...more
Paperback, 498 pages
Published July 7th 1989 by Signet (first published 1980)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Stranger Beside Me, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Shelby The book gives detail on each victim and how they disappeared. It doesn't go into the grotesque side of things, but gives a lot of information about…moreThe book gives detail on each victim and how they disappeared. It doesn't go into the grotesque side of things, but gives a lot of information about how the victims were kidnapped, where it was done, and the investigation's attempts to connect it to the various suspects they had on their list.

And yes, it talks about how he was caught. Rule talks about Bundy and how he was perceived at the time, as well as her personal friendship with him. (less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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...more
Samantha
Aug 15, 2007 Samantha rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
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...more
Caroline
***NO SPOILERS***

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 (totalling 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 intended her account to communicate such sy...more
Lisa Greer
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
Jack
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
Doug DePew
Jun 23, 2011 Doug DePew rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Israel
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
Shelly
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.
Bren
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
Lori
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
Nick
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
Grace
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
Nicola
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
Allie
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
Sumit Singla
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
Brenda
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.
 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
Deborah Edwards
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
Carrie
I pretty much said all I needed to say about this book through the status updates I gave while reading it. It feels like it took forever to finish reading this book. While there were a few interesting parts, for the most part, the book just seemed to drag by. It got tiresome reading about her conflict over Bundy's guilt and the bits and pieces of her personal life. She came across as being too sympathetic toward Bundy and did not give nearly enough information about the victims. It ticked me off...more
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...more
Donna
One of my favorite books by Ann Rule all about Ted Bundy and the murders he was responsible for. He worked in a crisis center along with the author so it is a very intriging book.
Kelly
Fascinating, and so well-written! This definitely gave me a brand-new appreciation for Ann Rule. There was not a single paragraph in this 625-page book that was boring or tedious (which some fact-based books may tend to be, when dealing with a lot of details). I always thought/assumed that Ann had met Ted once or twice while working in the same crisis center, but I was wrong; they actually did have an on-going friendship and continued communication throughout the years. Therefore, Ann was able t...more
Tabby
Nov 18, 2008 Tabby rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Teenagers
Recommended to Tabby by: My teacher
Tabitha Portillo
Ms.Rogal
Strategic Reading
November 17 2008
Book Review
The book is called RULES
By: Cynthia Lord
Ms. Lord wrote Rules to show that even though, every teenager wants a normal life, and they all want to be accepted, that it’s okay to be different and have issues. The viewers to this book should be teenagers, simply because the book is all about them and the situations they may face in life. For instance this book also fits the teenagers because the story is being told by a teenager n...more
Teresa
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of books on various serial killers that terrorized America throughout the years, but none affected the country quite like Ted Bundy.

He was the handsome, intelligent boy next door, working for the Crisis Clinic as work study during his undergraduate studies. She was a promising true crime writer volunteering some of her time as a way to possibly atone for the guilt she felt over her brother's suicide.

During their late night shifts manning the phone bank, Ann...more
Nita Costello
Riveting account of the life, crimes, trial, and inevitable death of serial killer, Ted Bundy, written by Ann Rule, someone who knew him before he was suspected & caught. They even remained in contact throughout his trial and incarceration. This is a haunting first-person account. I was on the edge of my seat the whole book. Yes, hindsight is 20/20, and it's so clear now how much of a sociopath Bundy was. And he got away with it for so long because of his believable denials, clean-cut looks,...more
Mel
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
Sofia Galvez
This is the 1st true crime book I have ever read, so basically I am saying I am not the target audience. That being said, this book was really long and at times I grew bored. Overall I found the case to be interesting but could have gone for the edited version.
Dionne
What are the odds that a crime writer would actually end up personally knowing one of the most infamous serial killers? Ann Rule gives an amazing account of her relationship with Ted Bundy, his life story, the lives of the victims and his crimes.
Kathleen
I really like true crime books and shows and such. I usually watch a true crime video before I go to bed-- it's oddly soothing, because they've caught the killer and I don't have to worry (obviously I don't watch the ones about the killers they don't catch). So of course I read about Ted Bundy. In some ways he codified the idea of a serial killer in American memory. Gary Ridgeway was (probably) more prolific, but Bundy was more... serial-killer-esque, this handsome charming man who lured young w...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Another cover update request 2 19 Nov 08, 2013 11:57AM  
  • The Night Stalker
  • The Only Living Witness: The True Story of Serial Sex Killer Ted Bundy
  • The Riverman: Ted Bundy and I Hunt for the Green River Killer
  • Blind Faith
  • Tears of Rage: From Grieving Father to Crusader for Justice: The Untold Story of the Adam Walsh Case
  • The Search for the Green River Killer
  • Deadly Innocence
  • Bitter Blood: A True Story of Southern Family Pride, Madness, and Multiple Murder
  • Murder in Greenwich
  • The Hillside Stranglers
  • And the Sea Will Tell
  • Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters
  • Son
  • Deviant: The Shocking True Story of Ed Gein, the Original "Psycho"
  • The Cases That Haunt Us
  • Killer Clown: The John Wayne Gacy Murders
  • The Jeffrey Dahmer Story: An American Nightmare
  • Whoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty Years Tracking Serial Killers for the FBI
9678
Ann Rule is a popular American true crime writer. She came to prominence with her first book, The Stranger Beside Me, about the Ted Bundy murders.
At the time she started researching the book, the murders were still unsolved. In the course of time, it became clear that the killer was Bundy, her friend and her colleague as a trained volunteer on the suicide hotline at the Seattle, Washington Crisis...more
More about Ann Rule...
Small Sacrifices: A True Story of Passion and Murder Green River, Running Red: The Real Story of the Green River Killer--America's Deadliest Serial Murderer If You Really Loved Me And Never Let Her Go: Thomas Capano: The Deadly Seducer Every Breath You Take: A True Story of Obsession, Revenge, and Murder

Share This Book