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Practice to Deceive

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  2,539 Ratings  ·  346 Reviews
#1 New York Times bestselling author and Queen of True Crime Ann Rule delivers another gripping true-crime story;this time a shattering case of Christmastime murder off the coast of Washington State, with a shocking amount of drama, greed, sex, and scandal and no shortage of suspects.

With more than 50 million copies of her thirty-four books in print, from The Stranger Besi
Hardcover, 339 pages
Published October 8th 2013 by Gallery Books (first published October 1st 2013)
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Oct 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
When I first started reading this book, I was confused. I thought I had picked up a large print book by accident. No, it was just a publisher trying to stretch a two hundred manuscript into a full-length book.

Repeated information, repeated descriptions, repeated conversations and truly unnecessary information are what fill this book. Why would the murder of a first spouse that happened prior to the birth of the later convicted accessory to a murder matter? No facts were shown, or even hinted at,
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a true crime story about the murder of Washington state resident James Stackhouse. Stackhouse was murdered in 2003 during the Christmas holidays outside his home and this is the story of the investigation and the eventual murder trial. Rule writes in detail about the murder and the multiple possible characters involved in the crime which took several years to solve and go to trial. Though the book is complete in regards to the trial there was (is) still a lingering question about the mot ...more
The Loopy Librarian
Oct 20, 2013 rated it liked it
I've been a fan of Ann Rule for years. She's nearly the only true crime writer that I read anymore. She has compassion for the victims and doesn't highlight gore and brutality. But this most recent book felt like it was done by rote. There was very little to surprise or intrigue. For all it's purported complexity, it was really a simple case of a man killed for greed. The relationships were complicated but the case itself was not. It was pretty clear from the beginning who killed Russel Douglas ...more
Apr 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tbr-2017
I found this book endless. I was bored from beginning to end probably because Rule tries to fit way too many things into this book. I think it's cause the case she focuses on (the murder of Russell Douglas) does not have a satisfactory ending through as a reader you can put two and two together.

I thought the book zigzagged way too much. We start off with the dead man and Rule works backwards but also alludes to some things here and there about the dead man's wife. And then we jump to a way too i
ARC for review.

I think maybe Ann Rule is getting tired of her work. She seldom leaves the Pacific Northwest anymore, which means her choices for true crime are slim - other than Stackhouse family's very sad history and the fact that there didn't seem to be much motive for this killing, it was rather routine. She often references herself in her narrative and she relies way too much on exclamation points, which automatically makes me take anything 63% less seriously. In her prime, no one could bea
Mar 17, 2014 rated it did not like it
This book was terrible and boring. Full of repeated information, too much information about completely irrelevant details, it is clear that she just needed to fill up pages. The story jumps ahead into the future and back into the past with no warning. I found the writing very confusing and thought that this was her first book until I checked. Uses too many exclamation points! Very disappointing read.
Jan 21, 2014 rated it liked it
I'm a huge Ann Rule fan but this book was a big disappointment for me. First of all, the victim and the murderer were barely linked to one another and there was really no motive. The people all had interesting backgrounds, but it just wasn't that compelling of a story. Rule's writing was very confusing at times with her overuse of pronouns. It made it hard to follow sometimes.

I was annoyed off the bat that a detective would actually say: "I think he's dead. He's almost in full rigor." Ummm, any
Jill Hutchinson
Oct 31, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: true-crime
I have always depended on author Ann Rule for an interesting true crime chronicle and solid writing style. This book did not live up to my expectations and is clearly one of her lesser works. The story of a murder without apparent motive and no clues should be was not. The narrative was all over the place and the author padded out large sections with descriptions and histories of individuals who were not even paramount to the case. I had major questions which were never address ...more
♥ Marlene♥
Just so annoying and boring I decided to give up after reading 1/3rd. Wth happened to Ann Rule? It seems someone else is writing for her!

There has been such a change to the books that were published over the last 8 years or so. Her last good book was Too Late to say Goodbye which was published in 2007 so quite a long time.

She did have the tendency to be to one sided making the victims out to be angels like in Heart Full of Lies which was written in 2003 but it is now not just that but this book
Travis Starnes
Oct 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
The one big thing that stands out for me in this book is the narrative voice Mrs. Rule uses. Unlike many of the true crime books I have read this book feels more like mystery fiction then an accounting of events. In fact, if I was not already familiar with Rule and her style I might have thought this was indeed fiction, and well written fiction at that. She is expert at painting a scene and giving you a real feel for everything that happened.

Similarly all of the people surrounding Douglass’s mur
Jan 04, 2014 rated it liked it
Ann Rule will often list all the characters at the get go, as in most of these cases there are 40 or 50 movers, interviewed by police, witnesses, law and lawyers you name it. And when I read that feature on this one, a single name out of the multiples listed came out at me. Peggy Sue. And my mind went into lyrics "If you knew Peggy Sue, Then you would know why I feel blue" with Buddy Holly. And does it fit.

This is not one of her 4 or 5 star best cases (Dead by Sunset or a Every Breath You Take e
Feb 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: true-crime
Practice to Deceive tells the story of the murder of Russel Douglas whose body was discovered in his vehicle on Boxing Day, 2003. Russel had been shot in the head and the officers' initial suspicion was suicide. Slight problem with that theory, they couldn't find the weapon. So who killed Russel Douglas and why?

At one time, I devoured Ann Rule's books but hadn't picked one up for a long time. What I've always loved about her books is how she conveys all the intricacies of a murder case. Unlike C
Jim Thomas
Jun 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2017
Sadly this is the last published full length Ann Rule. It was not near the best of her books but, for me, none of her books should be overlooked if you have any interest in this popular genre. True Crime. Yes, many times it is stranger than fiction and losing Rule maybe we won't lose the influence she had on the genre. Her real gift to the ugliness of real crime is the way she treated victims with the utmost respect and her consistent action (which some actually complained of) of doing all she c ...more
Rebecca Huston
This latest by Ann Rule stretches over decades and most of the US in putting together the reasons for the murder of Russel Douglas on Whidbey Island. How the investigators tracked down who and why the murder happened is what makes this interesting. However, this single-story book left me feeling rather unsatisfied and the story seemed incomplete. While Rule does remain at the top in those true-crime authors that I will read, this one faltered somewhere. Still, for the die-hard fans out there, th ...more
Christine Warner
Mar 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Ann Rule is my all time favorite true crime author and I've always enjoyed her books. I like the fact that she digs deep and gets to know the families of the victims and attends the court cases when at all possible. Her writing is always easy to understand and her stories interesting...BUT, for some reason this story didn't do it for me. I'm not sure if it was the approach on how this was written, because it did seem different than her previous works. Or the fact that the story just didn't seem ...more
Suzie Flohr
Jan 11, 2014 rated it liked it
This is worth 3.5 stars , This books was ok but, it took so long before it started to get interesting.
Janis Gilbert
Jan 31, 2014 rated it liked it
With more than 50 million copies of her thirty-four books in print, from The Stranger Beside Me, her chilling personal account of knowing Ted Bundy, to fourteen hardcover books— including Small Sacrifices; Green River, Running Red; and Too Late to Say Goodbye—and sixteen collections in her #1 bestselling Crime Files series, Ann Rule is without a doubt “America’s best true-crime writer” (Kirkus Reviews). In Practice to Deceive, her first book-length investigative chronicle since In the Still of t ...more
Oct 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ann Rule is, of course, the undisputed queen of true crime - but it has been some years since she has written a full length crime book. Although I have enjoyed her true crime 'files', it is good to have another more in depth read. This book begins on Whidbey Island, Washington. Home to sixty thousand residents, the island is a popular holiday resort and also houses a huge duty station for naval personnel. Much of the island is idyllic and the crime rate low.

Two days after Christmas on 2003, a ma
Nicola Mansfield
Dec 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
What a tangled story of tragedy and crime this was! Not exactly what one expects from Rule, no tale of a serial killer or a brutal mass slaying or even an horrific crime of passion. Here we have an assassination style style murder of a regular Joe that took ten years to solve. The victim was an ordinary guy, loved by most, lead a normal life and hardly anyone had anything to say against him. Unfortunately, because of this we don't get to know much about him; the book is most certainly about the ...more
Mar 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: TV cop and forensic show fans
I chose this book off the new books library shelf because I watch so many TV cop and forensics shows, and the book's cover description sounded like an episode from one of my favorite shows. I really liked the book because the story and the writing were so real, and yet on another level, the story felt like a work of mystery fiction. The murder was not particularly brutal or sensational; the victim was not famous or infamous; the circumstances surrounding the death were hard to grasp for the prof ...more
Oct 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Greed, what we wont do for love. The ID channel had this story a week ago too. Ann does a great job in telling the story of everyone involved with the killers and victim. It is amazing how long it take to bring someone to justice. Thanks to all the people that don't give up on these cases.
Michelle Silvestri-Oetinger
Oct 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Really, what's not to like about a Ann Rule book. You can always count on a good read!
Lynda Kelly
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime, favorites
Another true crime story told superbly as usual by this author, who will be sadly missed. She's always been a big part of my own true crime library !! I will need to start collecting her collections now, instead, though I've always preferred the full-length cases. As usual she went deeply into this one, another I'd not heard of.
I was left disappointed at the end, though, as the wife Brenna seemingly got away with any sort of involvement at all and she clearly had to have something to do with te
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
Despite being a diehard fan of all manner of mysteries I've always been less of a fan girl for true crime. It freaks me out way more than the same story packaged as fiction because it's true! So I've read maybe 6 or 7 true crime books. And more than half of those, selected pretty much at random, as was this, ended up happening in places where I lived or have loved ones living which neatly doubles the freak out stakes because I know these places they're talking, I've been there for Pete's sake!

Mike Cuthbert
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
If, a third of the way through, you feel you’re reading a script for “48 Hours” or “Dateline,” don’t feel bad: I felt the same way. Ann Rule has written a lot of non-fiction crime studies and this one is a very frustrating one for her. It took over a decade to conclude and the results were far from satisfactory, but she got it done. Briefly, the case involves a man named Russel [sic] Douglas of Whidbey Island, Washington. Sitting in his SUV, Douglas was shot once in the middle of his forehead on ...more
Cheryl Jensen
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
One reason I previously enjoyed Ann Rule books was the for the psychological insights into the minds of relatively average people who cross over the line and decide to murder. I have become increasingly dissatisfied with her writing as this element becomes less and less of her focus. This particular book also reveals a deteriorating in writing as confusing errors are evident, such as contradictory information re the number of years of marriage, and other minor confusing details. I keep hoping to ...more
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
Let me start by saying I always liked Ann Rule's true crime books - they were not sensationalized and usually involved an interesting case - human dynamics, etc. When I saw this one at my local library I was pleased as I thought I had read all her "full books" - I have read some of the case files series and didn't like them as much as her "full books" (I can't think what to call them). Rule passed away fairly recently so finding this one was, I thought, great. It was just ok. Not much of a story ...more
K.A. Krisko
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-crime, crime
This must have been one of Rule’s last books. It was frankly a relief, as I’d just tackled a much more dense ‘true crime’ tome, and Rule makes for much easier reading. The crime itself is bizarre insomuch as the motive seems tenuous, at best. I’m left with a lot of ‘why?’ which may never be answered to anyone’s satisfaction. That’s not Rule’s fault; she worked with what she had to work with, and her remarkable access to law enforcement and attorneys served her well, as usual.

I found certain sect
Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
This was my first Ann Rule book and I have to say that I wasn't very impressed. The first few chapters captured my attention and I found her succinct, matter of fact style appealing. However, as the book wore on, there was no build up, nothing to suggest that this murder was all that interesting. There were no twists and the story was not complex. In addition, Rule followed lengthy back stories which had little to do with the actual crime, which made the book even more tedious. In reading other ...more
May 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Be sure that you have a little time once you begin reading this book because it is likely you won’t stop until you have read in one sitting. I did. The twists and turns in convolutions of this book are such that it is difficult to believe is based on true events. If this movie was submitted as a script to Hollywood producers, they would likely accuse it of being too incredible for people to suspend their disbelief in a movie theater: “It’s just too farfetched!” However, the events related in thi ...more
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Practice to Deceive by Ann Rule 5 27 Jan 29, 2014 06:27PM  
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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 th
More about Ann Rule...