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 formAnn 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 rest of us. Rule's book does a huge service to Bundy's victims by recognizing them as more than just "Bundy victims". Reading about their dreams, their goals and their daily lives makes the horror of their deaths sting even more. Rule's sadness over the story comes through in nearly every page - - sadness at the loss of lives and sadness over what Bundy's life could have been and what he could have offered had he not been so consumed by murder. Having known Bundy before he became infamous as a serial killer, Rule gives insight into Bundy's personality and character, from his childhood, through his adolescence into his political and legal aspirations, all the while fostering a murderous rage toward women. An insightful book, one that makes you check and doublecheck your windows and doors and pray that you never cross the path of someone like Bundy. Definitely one of Rule's best books. Highly recommended. ...more
Perhaps nothing is more frightening or fascinating than the female sociopath and maybe that's partly why this book is so intriguing and such a true crPerhaps nothing is more frightening or fascinating than the female sociopath and maybe that's partly why this book is so intriguing and such a true crime classic (or should be!) In May of 1983, young divorced mother of three Diane Downs shows up at an Oregon ER with her three children. All of them have been shot, by a bushy haired stranger that Diane ostensibly stopped to help. Certainly shocking enough to think that anyone would shoot three young children, but investigation into the incident unravels the tangled life of Diane, a woman who alleges childhood abuse at the hand of her father, physical and verbal abuse from her ex-husband, promiscuous behavior and an obsession with a married lover who had no intentions of leaving his wife, nor of becoming a father to her three children. Diane's solution to her dilemma - - sacrifice her three children on the altar of her married boyfriend, making it look as though some crazy stranger had accosted them. Ann Rule doesn't have the title Queen of True Crime Writers for nothing and this book is superlative. The story moves along quickly, it doesn't get bogged down in the legal aspects of Diane's arrest and eventual trial, or the psychological detail of Diane. Ms. Rule's portrayal of Diane is frightening - - a child/woman who would cold-bloodedly attempt to murder her children in order to have one man, and then unhestitatingly sleep with another man in order to impregnate herself with a child to replace a dead one. Highly recommended. ...more
Ann Rule's "If You Really Loved Me" is the sad, sick, twisted story of David Brown, who loved power, prestige and money so much that he was willing toAnn Rule's "If You Really Loved Me" is the sad, sick, twisted story of David Brown, who loved power, prestige and money so much that he was willing to manipulate his teenage daughter into killing his young wife, in order that he might collect insurance money on his dead wife, buy a nicer, larger home and conveniently marry HER younger sister (his sister-in-law). David Brown has got to be one of the most despicable individuals Ms. Rule has ever written about - - not only did he instigate the murder of his wife (whom he had been involved with since she was a young teenager) but his original plan had his daughter dying from a "suicide" after the crime, he molested his wife's younger sister for years, before marrying her to insure her silence and thought nothing of leaving his baby daughter by his murdered wife without a mother. That's not even mentioning his complete denial of his child by his wife's younger sister. This book excellently reports the crime, the investigation, probes David Brown's background and the eventual trial. A real gem for true crime buffs, it's Ann Rule at her best. ...more
"Everything She Ever Wanted" by Ann Rule is the true story of Patricia Vann Radcliffe Taylor Allanson, a Georgia woman who envisioned herself as a mod"Everything She Ever Wanted" by Ann Rule is the true story of Patricia Vann Radcliffe Taylor Allanson, a Georgia woman who envisioned herself as a modern day Scarlett O'Hara and systematically tore anyone and everyone down who stood in her way of that fantasy. Ms. Rule does an excellent job of researching Pat's childhood as a spoiled and selfish little girl who was coddled constantly by her family, who aged to become a spoiled and self-centered adult who never really truly grew up. Reading about her childhood and the complete lack of boundaries she had, while her family continually fawned over her and found no wrong with absolutely anything she did, had me angered and annoyed. Could fate have been changed if her parents had put their foot down with her? We will never know. Pat's brother ended up a suicide; her mother and father in law murdered; her husband's grandparents poisoned; an elderly employer poisoned; even her own daughter was poisoned. During it all Pat hid behind her frail, helpless female exterior, conveniently fainting when confronted with anything unpleasant, and keeping the mask of her sociopathic character hidden, with absolutely no remorse or concern for the havoc and path of destruction she left behind. This story was so fascinating, so unbelievable that it had to be true. Definitely one of Ms. Rule's very best works. Highly recommended...more
From the 1994 convictions of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, I have been interested in this case and read everything I could on itFrom the 1994 convictions of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, I have been interested in this case and read everything I could on it. Without a doubt, the best resource is Mara Leverett's excellent recounting, Devil's Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three. With the same tenacity and brutal honesty she displayed in The Boys on the Tracks (another excellent read), Ms. Leveritt, an Arkansas resident herself, pulls no punches in shining a harsh light on three young men wrongfully convicted by a community desperate to hold someone accountable for terrible acts.
Devil's Knot will drop you right into the small town of West Memphis, Arkansas and take you through the crimes, the circus of an investigation, the questioning of suspects, the circumstantial evidence, the trials and the convictions. She brings life to not only the three boys who were killed but the three young men who found themselves at the center of the controversy because of their penchant to wear black, their style in music and their low incomes.
Having covered the trials for her local paper, Ms. Leveritt has been enmeshed in this case from the beginning and her close proximity to locale and residents is evident in her writing. It is flawless; not only does she take you to the scene, as mentioned above, but she makes you feel. I was overwhelmed with feelings of sadness, anger, despair, disgust, rage and loss while reading this book. Regardless of your feelings on the guilt or innocence of The West Memphis Three, the local police's coercion, laziness and lack of a cohesive investigation, along with the prosecutorial misconduct and the judge's bias, should make your blood boil. Shoddy police work aside, the trials were anything but fair, allowing community hysteria to take over, evidence to be fabricated and questionable testimony to become expert. From the start these three young men didn't have a chance and Ms. Leveritt puts that on blast.
In the hands of a lesser journalist, Devil's Knot could easily have become a dime-store paperback; one that told the basic tale, glorifying the violence, but without any real depth. In Ms. Leveritt's able hands, this is a must-read for not only true crime junkies but also for anyone in the legal field. This is a lesson on how not to rush to judgment, how not to conduct an investigation, how not to speak to the press.
While this book was written in 2002, nearly ten years before Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley were released from prison, it's still the best read you will find on the case. Not a stone was left unturned in Ms. Leveritt's quest to find justice not only for The West Memphis Three but for the children killed.
I would not hesitate to recommend Devil's Knot to anyone wanting to learn about the investigation into the West Memphis crimes, the trials and the wrongful convictions. The story of The West Memphis Three and what can happen from public hysteria should scare the hell out of you.
But I Trusted You is the fourteenth volume in author Ann Rule's "Crime Files" series, where she takes a novel length case, makes it the main focus ofBut I Trusted You is the fourteenth volume in author Ann Rule's "Crime Files" series, where she takes a novel length case, makes it the main focus of the book and throws in several "smaller" type cases as well. As much as I have enjoyed Ms. Rule's previous efforts, But I Trusted You left me wanting and a bit disappointed.
Let's start with the feature length case, which concerns the murder of teacher Chuck Leonard by his estranged wife Teresa. I personally did not find anything noteworthy with this case, whether it be that the actual case was a "by the book" spousal homicide or too much was left on the editing room floor. I wish there had been more background on both Chuck and Teresa and would have been happier if this had been one of the "shorter" cases included, allowing room for another true crime case to be included in this volume. I also thought the title did not coordinate with the case, as Chuck and Teresa were already separated and initiating divorce at the time of Chuck's death and neither Chuck nor Teresa trusted the other.
The second case profiled "Death in Paradise" was a very interesting case but without a firm resolution. I felt as though the story was just skimmed on the surface and the ending left me feeling unsatisfied. Perhaps this would have been a better "featured" case, but with more information on all parties concerned. The title of this book, however, did fit the alleged facts of this case.
The title also fits "Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth", the third case profiled. This case was very sad to read as the laws of the 1970s prevented the victim from obtaining the protection she was seeking. Any parent reading this story will have a feeling of dread putting yourself in the victim's shoes.
"Monohan's Last Date" deals with the most vicious and cold blooded killer in the book. I felt this case had more detail than any other highlighted in the book.
"Run as Fast as You Can" seemed out of place in But I Trusted You. The killer and victim had no prior relationship and no trust issues. Perhaps the victim felt safe due to location and time but, again, it seemed an odd choice given the theme of the book.
Both "The Deadly Voyeur" and "Dark Forest: Deep Danger" dealt with individuals who ultimately put their trust in the wrong people, with fatal results. I did not like the somewhat ambiguous ending of "Dark Forest: Deep Danger" though.
Ann Rule's earlier Crime Files were fantastic, well written slices of true crime. Finishing this book, I couldn't help but wonder if she was scraping the bottom of the barrel with these. Don't get me wrong - - Ann Rule has long been my favorite true crime writer and she remains so. Her book on the Diane Downs murder investigation and case, Small Sacrifices, is one of the best written and accounted true crime masterpieces out there, as well as her tale of the Ted Bundy case, The Stranger Beside Me. For that reason, I always have very high standards for her books and this one just didn't quite peak for me.
But I Trusted You is a decent enough book and will certainly do if you are looking for a true crime compellation but I expect more from my Queen of True Crime.
I am an avid reader of Ann Rule's books and eagerly await each of her new releases. Because I am such a fan of Ms. Rule I can always find positives evI am an avid reader of Ann Rule's books and eagerly await each of her new releases. Because I am such a fan of Ms. Rule I can always find positives even if those books that are not my favorites of hers. In the Still of the Night was no different.
From a novice writer In the Still of the Night would be a passably good true crime selection. From Ann Rule, author of the flawless Small Sacrifices, Stranger Beside Me and her True Crimes Files series,among others, it's a bit of a disappointment. For one, I felt that the story was simply not strong enough to be a stand alone book and would have been better served being the central, title story of a True Crime Files volume. The sheer number of pages from being a stand alone book (over 400 pages) made the story feel a bit slow paced and slightly bogged down; compared to being an entry in a True Crime Files volume, where it would clock in at least half the number of pages.
My biggest letdown with In the Still of the Night was the unresolved conclusion. When I read true crime, and I invest my time and energy reading the story and getting to know the victim(s), I want to have closure in my mind that the victim(s) and families have justice. There is no such resolution in this book. It is through no fault of Ms. Rule's and she does lay out a substantial list of possible suspects at the conclusion of the book, as well as a reward for further information on Ronda Reynolds' death, but the unfinished business surrounding Ronda Reynolds' death makes me feel that perhaps this particular crime, or alleged crime, may not have been the best subject for a book.
On the upside, Ms. Rule became personally acquainted and involved with Ronda Reynolds' family and it shows in the pages of the book. I felt as though I grew to know her tenacious mother, Barb Thompson, as I flipped the pages and this admirable woman is to be admired. She does the memory of her daughter proud and I felt her heartache and pain as strongly as if they were my own.
I also believed that Ms. Rule did well in writing former police officer turned private investigator Jerry Berry, expert Marty Hughes and longtime friend to Ronda Reynolds David Bell. These were all people to be admired and they were more than just names in the book.
I do hope that In the Still of the Night creates a very belated proper investigation into what I too consider to be a questionable death, giving Ronda Reynolds justice and her family and friends the peace and closure they deserve.