Nick's Reviews > The Stranger Beside Me: Ted Bundy The Shocking Inside Story

The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule
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's review
Jan 05, 2009

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Read in January, 2009

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 again and again to put 2 and 2 together, at least according to the yarn she tells you in the book. Here's some examples:
-when the Washington murders first start taking place, the only thing known about the suspect is a brief physical description, that he goes by "Ted" and that he may drive a Volkswagen. The author's old co-worker (Ted Bundy), matches the physical description, lived blocks from the missing girls, and after a quick check by the author, drives a Volkswagen. Author's conclusion: coincidence, not worth following up on.
-Author's old co-worker Ted leaves Washington to go to law school in Utah; murders stop in Washington. Similar murders that the author reads about begin in Utah. Author's conclusion: coincidence, not worth following up on.
-Later on, Ted is finally at least a serious suspect. He is arrested and convicted on kidnapping charges (but not murder) in Utah; author's conclusion: that can't be Ted, they got the wrong guy. Author starts sending Ted money on a regular basis!!!
-Ted escapes from jail and disappears. Author's mom mails clippings of grizzly mass-murders in Florida shortly thereafter, at a time when authorities had not yet linked them to the escaped prisoner Ted. She attaches a note saying "It sounds like the 'Ted' murders. I wonder...". Author's conclusion: coincidence, not worth following up on.

Maybe I'm way off here, but any dope should have put it all together by then. Of course maybe that just explains why the author WRITES about crime instead of SOLVES crime.
Also beware of the last 50 pages or so. Extremely slow going, and also full of the author's sympathies for one of the most brutal killers to ever walk the earth. Pretty sad really.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Kara great review.

message 2: by Win (new) - rated it 4 stars

Win Yeah, suppose she's just another idiot, like the multitude of his victims, no?! Call her what you want, but at least she's no hypocrite. Who knows if you had a less insecure, more honest society, this book would likely have never been written because the events that inspired it would never have transpired. I admire her courage and her candor and her refusal to take the easy path which is to glorify violence and murder, or dehumanize the murderer, or to canonize the victims. No, she gave an account that only a person who had fair knowledge of these cases and who knew Bundy could give. A human account about acts that only humans commit. Which is what makes the book so chilling. She didn't pacify readers who can't get over themselves and who can't find it in themselves to seek to understand the why behind it all, by simply calling him a monster.

Tommy Walker It takes a lot to rat on a friend.

On a side note suggestive of the possibility that Ann Rule might in fact have been a disturbing person, what we might call the final verdict regarding Rule, coming from a couple of people who should know, namely her two sons. They bilked their wheelchair-ridden mother out of $100,000 near the end of her life. Don't blame the victim, I know.

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