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The Only Living Witness: The True Story of Serial Sex Killer Ted Bundy

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4.15  ·  Rating details ·  3,970 ratings  ·  190 reviews
Ted Bundy was America's first celebrity serial killer, and one of the most chilling enigmas in criminal history. Handsome, boyish and well-spoken, a law student with bright political prospects, Bundy was also a predator and sexual deviant who murdered and mutilated at least thirty young women and girls, many of them college coeds but at least two as young as twelve. ...more
Paperback, 345 pages
Published January 1st 1999 by Authorlink (first published January 1st 1983)
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Leslie I know you asked this 3 years ago, but still thought I'd answer, as I just finished it. Beings it's the 30 year anniv. of his death, my husband sugges…moreI know you asked this 3 years ago, but still thought I'd answer, as I just finished it. Beings it's the 30 year anniv. of his death, my husband suggested i read this book, as I've read the other 2: Deliberate Stranger and Ann Rule's (both years ago).

I personally don't think this book is that grisly. They do describe some of the murders in a little detail, but not enough to "affect" someone reading it. When my husband suggested I read it, I told him i didn't want to read any gore or anything that would be too disturbing, and he said it wasn't. I'd have to agree with him. There are some parts, but it's more sad. They describe a few of the bodies and what happened but again, if I can stomach it, I think anyone can. They do describe Kim Leach's body when they discover it, but that's near the end.(less)

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Paul Bryant
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
The world according to Ted Bundy :

People disappear every day. It happens all the time. .. I mean, there are so many people. It shouldn’t be a problem. What’s one less person on the face of the earth, anyway?

Or, say, in his case, 30 less? What he is saying here is – get over it, so people like me like to kill women now and then. Why make such a big deal about it? He was kind of irritable. He thought the rest of humanity was being ridiculously sensitive about a few girls. But he did acknowledge th
...more
Ann
Mar 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I remember in grade school, one of my best friends' mom and my mom were very close. Her sister was missing, and I vividly remember the day her mom came by my home, crying, and reciting the story to my mom. They had found her daughter up the canyon, the details were very brutal. After some time, it came to light that she was a victim of Ted Bundy. I had a fear of him when the killings were going on in my area, then to find he had killed a friend, escalated the fear until he was caught. I read thi ...more
Erin
Ted Bundy is all the rage these days, between a Netflix doc and a movie starring Zac Efron(which was filmed about 15 minutes from my house). Good Ole Teddy Bundy is making a comeback.

But Why?

I love True Crime and the biggest category of TC is Serial Killers. John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer, BTK, and the latest member The Golden State Killer. Of all the serial killers in modern times(Jack the Ripper is obviously the GOAT) Ted Bundy may be the most famous serial killer. Before reading this book I
...more
Johann (jobis89)
Mar 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“We are your sons and we are your husbands and we grew up in similar families.”

The Stranger Beside Me remains my favourite Bundy book, but for those whose Bundy itch can never be scratched, The Only Living Witness is well-worth your time!

Quite a significant part of it is in Bundy’s own words, as the authors recorded their interviews with Bundy and included these conversations in the book. It’s obviously incredibly interesting to hear details directly from the man himself, but at times his though
...more
Danie Tanaka
Jun 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-crime
This book was truly the most anyone has gotten out of Ted Bundy out of his own words about his crimes. I was bored with the rehashing over the victims (no disrespect, I just had read quite a few times before). What really intrigued me were his dialogues with the author. The author and his fellow investigator in 1980 (one year before I was even born) was trying to get Bundy to talk about his victims. They wasted a lot of time by asking questions. Then the author and his investigator about to stop ...more
Louise Wilson
Aug 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
The first half of this book tells us about the details of the cases and they are explained excessively to us. The authors used a third person device to get Ted Bundy to open up and talk about his crimes. Bundy never really confessed, he really only speculated during the countless interviews with the authors. Bundy was certainly more than than just a twisted individual. The authors have extensively researched and interviewed this despicable man. A very interesting read.

I would like to thank NetG
...more
Diane in Australia
Very good book. Stephan spent many hours talking with Ted. Ted refused to talk in the first-person about his crimes, but he was willing to talk about a supposedly fictitious 'someone' who did these things.

Stephan wrote, "After three days, the first and most important link between us had been forged. Ted was no longer dodging me; he now was going to lead me back along his path to serial murder. He was comfortable behind his veil of fiction. To him, what he'd said already and what he'd soon tell m
...more
Lisa
Warning - do not read this book during an unexpectedly warm period of weather as you will end up sweating and gasping in bed all night due to your insistence at making sure the house is completely sealed up, and what will turn out to be the sound of your cat in the kitchen will have your heart nearly stopping every five minutes in fear that it's actually someone breaking into your house.

A well written, compelling and completely terrifying look at the life and crimes of Ted Bundy, one of the worl
...more
Kaelie
Mar 09, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A chilling, well-written and surprisingly unsensationalized account of Ted Bundy's murders and police efforts to find him. The authors do not dwell on the tabloid aspects of his crimes, but spend time examining Bundy's psychological make up and speculating on whether he was just lucky, or whether he was in actuality an almost-flawless killing machine. They made the point that the police never caught Bundy until he allowed himself to be caught, which was interesting. ...more
Jill Hutchinson
Apr 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
I wonder how many books have been written about serial killer, Ted Bundy?.....I was lucky enough to choose this one as it contains interviews with Bundy which are very revealing about his persona. He killed approximately 30 young women but refused to admit it even when a deal for him to escape the death penalty was offered by the State if he would confess. But, Bundy thought he was smarter than the legal system and although he attended law school for a short time, was not a good student, another ...more
Rachelle
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"He shattered the comfortable preconceptions about the sort of person capable of such monstrosities, presenting the world a figure both gross to contemplate and wholesome to behold; a likeable, loveable homicidal mutant."

First true crime of 2020! What a great pick.. this book dives deep into a case I felt I already knew very well... turns out there is always more to learn.
...more
M - The long hot spell
“Ted Bundy’s wearying saga of waste, failure, and death had one villain and no heroes.”

Many consider Ted Bundy as a “quintessential” serial killer in all his pathological, skin crawling, predatory infamy. I think this book gives as thorough a picture as any could of the man behind the shameful crimes, and it does so by linking evidence, information from people who knew Bundy, and material given by Bundy himself in taped interviews with the journalists, Hugh Aynesworth and Stephen G. Michaud. Int
...more
Ruthy lavin
Aug 29, 2019 rated it liked it
An interesting version of the story of Ted Bundy.
This book is certainly well written and horribly fascinating, yet I found the very long chapters were way too crammed with sometimes poorly constructed information and recounted interviews, and found myself regularly having to take breaks just to give my brain a rest.
Shorter, more chronological chapters would have been much better.
There’s no doubt that this is one of the best books I’ve read about Bundy, but I would have liked a further chapter
...more
Janel
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Where do you even start when reviewing a book like this? You can’t call this book an enjoyable one, it will upset you – the lives lost, the futures stolen from these women. It will disturb you – that one person could possess the evil to commit such horrendous crimes. It will confuse you – that some people believed in this man’s innocent, one to such lengths that she married him. It will have you questioning “the system” – could the police forces have worked together in a productive manner to cat ...more
Metatron
Sep 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book.

It's bizarre to admit, but while reading this book it's as if I felt close to Ted. I can almost feel sympathy for him. What if he was a tormented soul? He knew he was evil, but maybe deep down he had a dab of good in him. If you notice, the police and FBI didn't do a good job on capturing him. Ted simply made a stupid mistake, or got pulled over for driving too fast and they'd take him to the station after seeing his burglary tools. They had an extremely difficult time by trying
...more
Charlotte
Jun 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This was the first Ted Bundy book I read out of 3 so far and I think it's my favorite one. It's detailed but not graphic about his crimes and the authors have a good cop/bad cop thing going which is cool. This book really allows you to get into the mind of a infamous serial killer. ...more
Mara
Oct 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Read this right after The Last Victim, and decided I needed a break from true crime... When Ted Bundy starts to come off as a quotidian character you know you've reached criminology saturation... ...more
Nicole
Aug 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a really fascinating and comprehensive true crime book about the Ted Bundy case.

Ted Bundy is one of the most well known Serial killers to have ever existed, yet even if you've read previous books about him or watched documentaries, I guarantee that you will learn something new from this book about the case.

Told in chornological order, this book is told by 2 journalists who got to spend 150 hours interviewing him on death row.

The amount of detail in this book was very impressive. Clea
...more
Tiger Gray
Feb 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-crime
Everyone who studies or reads a lot of true crime has their pet case, the one they feel compelled to research to the point of obsession. For me that case is Ted Bundy's. I feel that unlike Charles Manson, he made an entire country question everything they thought they knew about dangerous criminals. At least for the privileged sections of U.S. society, so sure they were safe in their enclaves, Ted Bundy took their innocence and hcanged investigative technique forever.

Since I have read nearly eve
...more
Greg Carmichael
Sep 22, 2007 rated it liked it
Like a lot of people, when it comes to serial killers, I find Ted Bundy to be most fascinating. When I consider Jeffery Dahmer or John Wayne Gacy, it doesn’t seem to be too far of a stretch to believe that they could commit such horrific crimes. After all, they look like murderers, right? But with Bundy, the image the public got was just the opposite. Intelligent, eloquent, witty and handsome, he seemed like anything but a predator.

The most interesting thing about this book was that it revealed
...more
Bro_Pair أعرف
I blame Truman Capote for the predicament an honest true crime writer faces today. Sure, you could hew to the truly trashy low road, like any number of authors did in recounting the strange case of Ted Bundy, but the quality of most of those books seems plodding at best. You could shoot also for the high road, the "literary" true crime story, but in many respects, this is even more aggrieving; "The Executioner's Song," while good, is 1,000 pages long, and unnecessarily so, "In Cold Blood" seems ...more
Hannah
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
the problem with this book is that hearing ted's own words creates this sense that i am learning, which seems deeply unfair to his victims. much of the time his confidence is infuriating but then he'll reveal what an insolent and stunted person he was and i get a bit of relief. i hate that by peeling back all these layers and hearing him meditate on the nature of the monster he is i was feeling more enlightened. i don't want to say i'm enlightened to what he was - but i will admit that the work ...more
Aya Hamouda
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is One of My all-time favorite true-crime books . It's by far the best book on "Bundy", chiefly because of the authors' genius idea to have Bundy "speculate" about how the murders were done.

This book was truly the most anyone has gotten out of Ted Bundy out of his own words about his crimes. What really intrigued me were his dialogues with the author. The author and his fellow the investigator in 1980 were trying to get Bundy to talk about his victims. They wasted a lot of time by asking
...more
Shacoria
This book is really interesting. It was very intense at times and it was heartbreaking to hear about the way ted murdered these women and it was especially sad to hear how he murdered a 12 year old little girl. On the other hand it was fascinating to read things from Ted's point of view. I'm really glad that the author didn't try to present Ted as some sort of likable character, because when you look at all the pain he inflicted it is impossible to have any sort of sympathy for him. One thing I ...more
Fishface
Sep 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
As usual, this focuses too much on the killer and not enough on the victims, but maybe the authors had no choice in the matter. The other main frustration is the way the authors say over and over that the killer is mentally ill, and that all the experts agree on that, but they never tell you what his diagnosis is supposed to be. Nevertheless, this is a fascinating and compelling read. I long for an updated edition that might fill in the information the killer revealed in his last-minute confessi ...more
Lewis
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
To me this book is perfect True Crime, from the pacing and the way it's structured, to the insane way they trick Bundy into talking about the murders. A great look at just such a fucked up and insane story…
"Just one of those people who cast weird vibes at you. He usually wanted to tell us how great he was. He wanted people to acknowledge that he was a great person. Apparently no one ever had."
...more
♥ Marlene♥
Apr 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: true-crime
9 out of 10. great book!
Sandy
Jun 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very creepy read... Reminds me of some of the prison inmates where I used to work...
Ashleigh Humble
Sep 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Ted Bundy:The Only Living Witness Review! Wow this book was so detailed and I feel like it answered so many questions and built an eerily accurate account of Ted, obviously due to the nature of his crimes it was at times hard to read but I think the way it fills in a lot of gaps is great and if you like true crime books I would definitely recommend this one! Bundy has always shook the world with his crime spree but more because how he hid undetected and nobody suspected him because he didn’t ´lo ...more
Gerry
May 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Honestly I thought this was going to be Conversations With A Killer, not another biography with very little of what connected Michaud to Bundy in the first place. I didn't particularly need the repeated information, I just wanted to know more about the firsthand experiences Aynesworth and Michaud had. Also, there were unnecessary descriptions of the weather or terrain at least once a chapter, which became annoying. Regardless, a decent book overall. ...more
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