Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Defending the Devil: My Story as Ted Bundy's Last Lawyer” as Want to Read:
Defending the Devil: My Story as Ted Bundy's Last Lawyer
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Defending the Devil: My Story as Ted Bundy's Last Lawyer

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  57 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
As a brand-new lawyer, Polly Nelson was offered serial-killer Ted Bundy's case as a pro bono project for her prestigious Washington, DC law firm just weeks before he was scheduled to be executed. Defending the Devil is a unique and candid look at the Bundy case and at Nelson's three-year personal battle to balance her duties as a lawyer, her compassion for human life, and ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published July 1st 1994 by William Morrow & Co
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 Defending the Devil, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Defending the Devil

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
This book covers the Ted Bundy story from a different angle. It describes the 3 year battle Polly Nelson had, as Bundy's lawyer, to try and change his death sentence to a life sentence. She argued that Bundy was actually a manic-depressive who should not have been allowed to represent himself during his trial. He was incompetent in this role and ended up sabotaging his own case. His guilt was never in question just a man's right to live. At times it became bogged down in legal jargon, but this w ...more
Apr 03, 2008 Dennis rated it it was amazing
This is really the book to read about Ted Bundy. It's depressing and strange and truly, deeply weird. His last lawyer, Polly Nelson, gives her own tortured account of her life, her lack of success in her field, and her bizarre interactions with Ted Bundy in the last years of his irredeemably horrific life. Nelson has this desperately sincere, almost pollyannish attitude toward Ted, and watches in horror as he plays with the cops and dooms himself through crazy stunts like adding pages of weird q ...more
Whitney Milam
Jan 11, 2017 Whitney Milam rated it really liked it
Interesting but not for anyone but true Bundyphiles.
A really interesting, informative read. The author writes well; this book is well-organized and even well-copyedited. Nelson explains the legal issues involved quite well and even though the courtroom terminology got pretty dense at times, she never lost me. This is a very-little-known corner of the notorious Bundy story, and the author's approach to Bundy's case was really thought-provoking, with a potentially huge impact on other cases if other attorneys started using it. Ted was never going t ...more
Mar 16, 2015 Deborah rated it really liked it
Out of all the books I have read on Ted Bundy it is the only one that actually shows that yes He Did Kill All Those Women. Other books allude to it, even the ones by Michaud Ted just always uses the third person when discussing the crimes but this one actually shows that he acknowledged in First Person that he did this. It also discusses the amount of month the state of Florida spent in trying to get him executed abt 6 millions dollars, whereas it would have cost abt 1 million to keep him alive ...more
Jun 13, 2011 Alexa rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
I can't decide if the author is bravely honest or self serving and a little nuts. Maybe both.

More interesting for the insight it provides into his ordinary humanness than anything else. Despite the fact that she argued (sincerely, it seems) his lack of competence, he does not come across as insane. Unlikable, self-serving, disturbed and disturbing, yes, but not insane.

Detailed legalese weighs the narrative down. Reads like a rough draft or a journal instead of a complete and fully-formed book,
Cindy rated it really liked it
Apr 03, 2011
Victoria Atkins
Victoria Atkins rated it really liked it
Feb 03, 2015
Allison rated it really liked it
Feb 01, 2015
Alina rated it liked it
May 13, 2014
Bill H.
Bill H. rated it liked it
Dec 21, 2011
Mary rated it it was amazing
Feb 28, 2013
Laurel rated it really liked it
Jun 04, 2012
sparklemotion rated it liked it
Feb 18, 2013
Roni rated it really liked it
Nov 26, 2016
Mark Nader
Mark Nader rated it really liked it
Mar 14, 2012
Dustin Cucunato
Dustin Cucunato rated it really liked it
Sep 04, 2014
Tony rated it liked it
Apr 01, 2013
Jim Tracy
Jim Tracy rated it did not like it
Feb 01, 2015
Evelyn rated it liked it
Nov 05, 2012
Mindi rated it it was amazing
Jun 18, 2014
Jill Mccracken
Jill Mccracken rated it it was amazing
Nov 17, 2015
Erik Wilson
Erik Wilson rated it really liked it
Feb 14, 2016
Katie rated it it was ok
Aug 29, 2015
Robin Plan
Robin Plan rated it really liked it
Jan 26, 2013
Mario Lanza
Mario Lanza rated it it was ok
Nov 02, 2013
Rebecca McKanna
Rebecca McKanna rated it really liked it
Jun 26, 2013
Susan rated it it was amazing
Jul 30, 2015
Eric Snyder
Eric Snyder rated it it was ok
Jan 09, 2015
Chuck O'Connor
Chuck O'Connor rated it liked it
Jan 23, 2011
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy
  • Ted Bundy: Conversations with a Killer
  • Getting it Through My Thick Skull: Why I Stayed, What I Learned, and What Millions of People Involved With Sociopaths Need to Know
  • Child of Satan, Child of God
  • Will You Die for Me?
  • Love Her To Death
  • Ted and Ann: The Mystery of a Missing Child and Her Neighbor Ted Bundy
  • Colleen Stan: The Simple Gifts of Life: Dubbed by the Media the Girl in the Box and the Sex Slave
  • Lustmord: The Writings and Artifacts of Murderers
  • The Serial Killer Letters: A Penetrating Look Inside the Minds of Murderers
  • Killing for Pleasure: The Definitive Story of the Snowtown Murders
  • No Turning Back
  • I Survived Ted Bundy: The Attack, Escape & PTSD That Changed My Life
  • Internet Slave Master
  • Killing for Sport: Inside the Minds of Serial Killers
  • The Bundy Murders: A Comprehensive History
  • Invisible Darkness
  • The Strange Case of Dr. H.H. Holmes

Share This Book