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The Stranger Beside Me: Ted Bundy: The Shocking Inside Story

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  64,411 ratings  ·  3,658 reviews

Utterly unique in its astonishing intimacy, as jarringly frightening as when it first appeared, Ann Rule's The Stranger Beside Me defies our expectation that we would surely know if a monster lived among us, worked alongside of us, appeared as one of us. With a slow chill
Paperback, 548 pages
Published June 1st 2001 by Signet (first published August 1st 1980)
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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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Jeffrey Keeten
“And, like all the others, I have been manipulated to suit Ted’s needs. I don’t feel particularly embarrassed or resentful about that. I was one of many, all of us intelligent, compassionate people who had no real comprehension of what possessed him, what drove him obsessively.”

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Would you trust this man?

Comparisons could be made between Lois Lane and the writer Ann Rule. She was caught in the middle of a bizarre set of circumstances that was quickly becoming a nightmare. Someone she considered
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
Dan Schwent
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, 2019-books
Like half the planet, my wife and I watched the Ted Bundy series on Netflix. For some reason, I decided I wanted more so I picked this up. Even though I scared the shit out of myself as a kid watching 20/20, Unsolved Mystery, and Dateline, true crime books aren't normally my thing. This one was an easy, compelling read.

I find it fascinating that Ann Rule knew Ted Bundy and was writing a book about the Washington killings at the same time. Anyway, this book serves up a lot more information than
Johann (jobis89)
Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
“I was one of many, all of us intelligent, compassionate people who had no real comprehension of what possessed him, what drove him obsessively.”

Ann Rule had signed a contract to write a book on a series of brutal and heinous murders of beautiful young women, not knowing she was going to be writing about the man she had worked alongside at a suicide hotline. A man she had found to be kind and understanding, someone she had began to see as a friend. The Stranger Beside Me is a biographical and
Jonathan Ashleigh
Jun 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: recent
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
Katie B
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

I've read at least 10 of Ann Rule's true crime books over the years, but until now I hadn't read what is arguably her most famous one. She was already a published writer of true crime articles, but her book about serial killer Ted Bundy is really what put her on the map. What makes this book fascinating is Ann actually knew Ted before he became known to the rest of the world. The book is full of facts about Ted and his crimes, trials, and finally execution, but also Ann goes into
May 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
✨Sumi's Books✨
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ann Rule takes us on a thrilling journey of the life and death of serial killer Ted Bundy. Being friends with a serial killer isn't the easiest thing in the world. But Ann didn't find that out until much later...
Oh, Ted Bundy... what can I possibly say about this American icon that hasn't already been said in this book? I had several problems with this book but it had absolutely nothing to do with the author. Problems such as the diagnosis that they gave Ted Bundy which I felt was
jv poore
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ted Bundy was convicted of horrific crimes against young women and girls. I think it takes a special strength to tell his story as objectively as possible, but I cannot imagine the resolve and commitment required to write this book about a companion.

Brilliantly balanced, the author somehow separates the young man that worked in the crisis center and went on to become her friend, with the wanted "Ted". As if I needed another reason to admire Ann Rule.
Jan 18, 2009 rated it did not like it
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
Nov 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
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.
Feb 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommended to Becky by: Dan Schwent
OK, a couple things before we begin:
1) Thanks for the Kindle loan, 1.0!
2) This is my 1000th review on Goodreads. Crazy!
3) I've been sick for a week with a sinus infection and not sleeping very well + sick brain, so... you know. Keep that in mind as you read my ramblings below.

I finished this book with the deadline of loan expiration looming over me. I didn't think it would take me 2 full damn weeks to read a less than 600 page book, but apparently that's what happens when you have to stop
Dec 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the first book I ever read by Ann Rule and it was the perfect true crime book. I found a battered copy at a used bookshop.

I inhaled this book during a Christmas break and was so intrigued how close Ann came to know Ted Bundy when she was volunteering at the suicide help line.

Yes he is a charismatic serial killer who targeted young women and when he got caught he denied nothing

This book is a modern classic.
Mention the name Ted Bundy, google his name, and you will find a plethora of information on this man, one of the most famous of serial killers ever to roam this earth. He was a man who was ever so handsome, a man who could twist and and manipulate, a man who killed wantonly without a thought or a regret as to what his crime was doing not only to his victims but also to the families who were left behind.

“Yet, in reality, Ted loved things more than he loved people. He could find life in an
Feb 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Book Riot Community
This month I’ve been binge listening to the podcast My Favorite Murder. I’m obsessed. There were a couple of episodes where Karen (one of the hosts) mentioned that she was reading The Stranger Beside Me. I was intrigued. When I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down. Ann Rule was a prolific true crime writer, and this is the work that really put her on the map. Back in the ‘70s, in some weird twist of fate, the serial killer she was writing about turned out to be her friend, Ted. The Stranger ...more
Peter Monn
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow! So much better than I expected! So happy we chose this as our first book for Peter’s Book Club this year as a year of true crime! My full review will be up on my booktube channel at
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ann Rule has written a truly interesting book here; the updates as both the case progressed and her viewpoint adjusted are absolutely invaluable.

For me, true crime is a window into how the human brain goes wrong. I'm endlessly fascinated by what the brain is capable of, both at the good and bad ends of the spectrum. Unfortunately, too often true crime is either neglectful of the victims, treating killers or otherwise awful people as the star of the show. That, or it's all lurid details of truly
Nenia ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ Campbell

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DNF @ 18%

I bought this a little while ago because this book has been on my radar for a while and like most people in the public, Ted Bundy name was a familiar one that elicited fear. He killed and raped women by pretending to be injured and luring them to his car, before dumping the bodies. He was an evil man, and the public has a fascination with evil men. People talk about serial killers with awe, make movies about them, write books
Aug 15, 2007 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
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5/5, rounded down.

This book scared the ever-living crap outta me, guys. (Which, admittedly, really isn't very hard to do... but still.)

Call me uncultured if you must, but the only thing I knew about Ted Bundy before reading this was that he was a serial killer. That's literally the only bit of information I knew, so it goes without saying that this book taught me a whole heck of a lot.

I don't know that I am happy to now be haunted by the idea of this mans evil, sadistic behavior, but it was
May 26, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5/5 stars. Full disclosure that I had a little less than 100 pages left, but since this is nearly 600 pages, I thought it was still worth posting a review. I was riveted from the beginning, but my interest slowly dwindled while reading. I adored her writing style but at a certain point I just wasn't interested in learning more about Ted Bundy. If you're fascinated by him, this is certainly worth a ready but if you're reading it only because you're mildly interested in serial're ...more
Sarah Swann
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. I’m struggling to find words. The fact that the author knew and had a friendship with one of our countries most violent serial killers makes this such a haunting read. I appreciate how candid she was about her thoughts on Ted and the whole journey. I learned a lot about what he actually did. I kind of knew things...but I learned a lot. And a lot of it made me sick to my stomach. There was a point where I wanted to time travel (back to before I was born) and slap one of his lawyers across ...more
LeAnne: GeezerMom
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 ...more
Sumit Singla
Aug 05, 2014 rated it did not like it
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
Sonja Arlow
2.5 stars

The book packs a punch because of its content not its writing.

There are really two stories here:
1) The horrific and fantastical story of Ted Bundy
2) The story of Ann Rule

I loved the one and was disappointed in the other.

This almost feels like fan fiction rather than investigative non-fiction. Some details were included only because the people asked the author to do so rather than these additions adding anything of value to the story.

I found it interesting that the author fell under
Apr 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
In person book club read #12.

I can't wait to talk about this one with the gals in the bookclub. I've always been fascinated by Ted Bundy, and actually think I read this before right after it was first published. Now I'm again a little obsessed, watching his interviews on youtube, and on Hoopla watched the made-for-TV movie based on this book. Very good!

I clearly remember when Bundy was electrocuted for 36 murders, all young attractive women, many killed in their college rooms as they slept. I
Lisa Greer
Nov 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
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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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
“Yet, in reality, Ted loved things more than he loved people. He could find life in an abandoned bicycle or an old car, and feel a kind of compassion for these inanimate objects, more compassion than he could ever feel for another human being.” 12 likes
“As I write these recollections of women who survived, I hope my readers are taking careful note of why they did.
They screamed.
They fought.
They slammed doors in a stranger's face.
They ran.
They doubted glib stories.
They spotted flaws in those stories.
They were lucky enough to have someone step up and protect them.”
More quotes…