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In the Still of the Night: The Strange Death of Ronda Reynolds and Her Mother's Unceasing Quest for the Truth

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  2,959 Ratings  ·  245 Reviews
Ann Rule has followed a lovely young woman who had realized her childhood dream of being a police officer. Barb Thompson, Ronda’s mother, waited in an airport amid Christmas decorations in 1998. Ronda never arrived. Ronda had been married less than a year and she sounded happy on the phone only hours before, excited that she would be seeing her family. But sheer dread repl ...more
Audio CD, Abridged, 5 pages
Published October 12th 2010 by Simon & Schuster Audio (first published May 4th 2010)
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Feb 26, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am not a fan of Ann Rule as such, though I did like her first ever book. But that's about the only one. Every true crime fan claims they are a big fan of Ann Rule, so I keep giving her yet another chance, every single time. Well, no more! She tends to insert herself into her stories continuously that is very distracting. She is also extremely biased. In the few books I have read, she quickly made friends with one of the survivors and then everything is written from that person's viewpoint. Thi ...more
Gail Katz
Oct 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
I am so disappointed in this book. It really ( in my mind, at least) had a lot going for it: written by Ann Rule right there was a biggie. Love her books ( this one being an exception…) and know that she has an excellent track record. Secondly, I am finally living here in the Pacific Northwest and might actually have been to many of the locations she cites. AND I think I even remember some of the news reporting about the case she chronicles. SO, no brainer. This had to be a winner, right?

Sorry C
Lois Duncan
Oct 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
I have been closely following the Ronda Reynolds case for years, ever since Ronda's mother, Barb Thompson, asked me to post Ronda's unsolved case on our Real Crimes Web site at Now my good friend, true crime author, Ann Rule, has presented a brilliantly written and fascinating account of this terrible story and the multiple people involved. In my own mind, I thought I had figured out who the killer was, based on correspondence with Barb over all these years and the man ...more
Katherine Addison
This case. This bizarre, baffling, infuriating case.

Ronda Reynolds was shot sometime in the early morning hours of December 16, 1998. Somebody made a very clumsy effort to make it look like suicide. And the first police officers on the scene--let's be brutally honest--fucked up. They moved the gun. They let the victim's three teenage stepsons leave the house without being questioned. They decided that the victim's soon-to-be-ex-husband's story (a story which makes NO SENSE) was true, and that Ro
Mary Ronan Drew
Mar 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
My only run-in with the law was a parking ticket in 1975. True crime books, especially stories of murders, have a fascination for people like me. Those of us who can’t imagine slapping a child are chilled at the very idea of taking another life.

But once we get over the initial distaste, true crime becomes enthralling, as we learn the details of the crime, the search for the kidnapping victim, the slow, detailed work of the detectives who search for the perpetrator.

One of the finest writers of t
Aug 08, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
5-star story, 1-star writing. A policewoman from the pacific northwest was killed, or killed herself (that's the basic question, resolved by a jury ultimately as homicide, but who killed her remains unclear at the end) in the late 90s. Her Mom never believed it was suicide and relentlessly pursued the case with assistance from a private eye, an attorney, etc.

The forensics (e.g., would her hands have both been under the blanket if she'd shot herself?) and tangled motives (stepson who hated her?
I've been getting really into true crime stories lately. I actually spent the last couple of days binge listening to the My Favorite Murder podcast (I'm late to the game, I'm aware), and my obsession has grown. I knew I needed to get my fix in book format too, and what better way to get into the genre than a Ann Rule book.
The events are horrific, but the way she wrote about them is amazing. There is something about it that makes it not only readable, but enjoyable.
BAM The Bibliomaniac
Typical Ann Rule. Exceptional investigation and a twist to the end. I am rating it a 3, though, as a have no intention of owning this book.
Jul 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
I found this fascinating, not least because I knew Ronda. I worked with her for a short time and when she was killed all of us who had been her co-workers knew it was not what the police called it-suicide. Thank you Ms. Rule for speaking for her and not allowing it to be forgotten! The story is a grim one, but well told. The seperate threads are discussed, and many facts I was not aware of are brought to light. Justice may never be reached here on this earth, but the scales will be balanced even ...more
Jan 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: true-crime
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Nov 03, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
I'm afraid that this book was written as a duty by a lady who may just be tired of writing. It was so disjointed and unfocused and the writing so poor that it didn't even resemble Ann Rule's typical writing. I had the feeling that she made an attempt to pull together reams of information and research, and the attempt, while noble, failed her usual standards.
Debra Mayhew
Mar 31, 2017 rated it it was ok
Bought this at a thrift store thinking it was fiction and not true crime. It was depressing as all get-out and I didn't like it at all. Worst of all, it doesn't have a satisfying ending. Blech!
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A disturbing, chilling, and unforgettable true crime drama from the master of this genre. Poor Ronda Reynolds: Bright, beautiful, talented, hard worker, yet a failure at choosing men. This is another example of my not wanting to complain about my boring life.
Before picking this up, I'd only ever come across Ann Rule as a talking head on some of the many crime and investigation shows that I seem to be addicted to, and I'd never come across the strange death of Ronda Reynolds. The case is a fascinating one, the writing only so-so.

Set to divorce her 2nd husband of little under a year and to fly back to her family for Christmas, instead of stepping off a plane, Ronda was discovered in a closet in her home, underneath an electric blanket, dead of a gun s
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 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 o
Jul 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: true-crime
This is not my favorite Ann Rule book, that would be Small Sacrifices. This book was rather strange for me because this is the first one that she wrote that I can remember where the killer is not in jail when the book is written. In fact no killer is identified at all though several suspects are explored. The true story revolves around a young former state trooper named Ronda Reynolds who is rather unlucky in love. When she is thirty three and newly married to and on the verge of divorce with hu ...more
Lynda Kelly
Oct 06, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
Another interesting case from Ann Rule and one I'd not heard of till I picked this book up. I am staggered at the mistakes made and the way everyone took a husband's word for it that his wife had killed herself and thereafter pretty much refused to make a proper investigation !! The fact one of the sheriff's investigators moved the gun involved before photographing it in situ is one of the biggest schoolboy errors I've ever read in true crime stories. Just shocking he would do that. Also letting ...more
Dec 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Ronda had served 8 years as a Washington state trooper before resigning from the force. She had been the youngest female cadet ever hired and life seemed to be turning out just as she’d hoped. She soon met up with several misfortunes in life and after her disappointing resignation from the Patrol she started working in a store security for Wal-Mart. Ronda’s life seemed to be crashing down around her. Her first marriage had ended in divorce, and now her second marriage, that had lasted less than
Nov 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: true-crime
I love Ann Rule's true crime books. She writes about crimes which have been solved, often taking the journey with law enforcement and prosecutors as they handle the case. She delves into the backgrounds and psyches of everyone involved in the story, telling stories in a more neutral way than many true crime books do. Because of that, her books are always on my must read list.

Sadly, this book didn't deserve such a spot. For one thing, this is a crime that has not yet officially been solved/closed
Sep 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: true crime buffs, Ann Rule Fans and anyone intereseted in a great story
Shelves: i-own
I love Ann Rule and I eagerly await each new book she puts out. She never disappoints me!! This book is a jewel, it's very personally written, it seems to me from her heart. I just know you will end up loving Ronda too and hoping and praying that the person/persons responsible for her death are brought to justice. Honestly, I don't believe that will ever happen, but it's clear that the bungling of this case by law enforement calls for heads to roll!! She pulls no punches on placing the blame for ...more
Mar 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
In many ways, this seemed less polished than other books by Ann Rule. This is probably because the case was different for her in many ways. There has been no criminal conviction, and a lot of evidence could never be analyzed due to neglect at the original crime scene.

With that being said, I could hardly put the book down. It was a quick read both because it was so interesting and also probably because it was less thick and technical than, for example, "Dead by Sunset".

I went to see the author s
Linda Stock
Mar 28, 2011 rated it liked it
This was probably my least favorite of all the Ann Rule books I've read. She chose to write about a murder that still has not been solved. I felt frustrated and upset when I finished it, since basically I feel I know who killed Ronda Reynolds - I think anyone who reads it will know who killed Ronda Reynolds - but it still hasn't been proven. This murder happened in an "old boy network" type of community, in which incompetence of a coroner was covered up year, after year, after year - and when th ...more
Feb 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is a departure from the norm for Ann Rule - the tragic heroine was a lovely young woman whom many believed to have taken her own life. The court battle was not to convict the bad guy but to get a beloved daughter's cause of death changed. And the book actually ends before the story was fully played out.

Once again, Ann Rule presents us with a compelling story of true crime. She gives the reader a true sense of the grief Ronda' s mother felt after losing her daughter... and of the sheer
Sep 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
This is, I think, one of the only books of Ann Rule's where the crime remains unsolved. I found this to be a great, if hard to believe, read. It is appalling to me that the justice system has so far failed Ronda Reynolds and her family. This is the story of Ronda Reynold's strange death, that spent so long being classified as a "suicide" that it seems the detectives and the crime scene investigators forgot that they were supposed to be doing a proper investigation. Ann Rule lays out the crime sc ...more
J.H. Moncrieff
Jun 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Impressive investigation of a very in-depth case. It's frustrating that no one was ever charged with Reynolds' murder (unless that has changed in subsequent years).

While very readable, this book was much longer than it had to be, and I could have done without all the gushing about how gorgeous the victim and her mother are. Does it matter? Are only beautiful murder victims worthy? That said, I've rolled my eyes whenever Ann Rule describes someone as beautiful ever since I read Small Sacrifices.
Jan 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
I love Ann Rule's books. This story wasn't quite as exciting as others she's covered - sad to say it like that - but there wasn't a lot of drama to it. Rhonda Reynold's is found dead of a gunshot to the head in her closet. Many suspected her husband of 11 months, but there was no evidence to arrest him. The murder remains unresolved, which many reviewers said ruined the book for them, but it is what it is! That's not Ann Rule's fault. I thought she did an excellent job with the information she h ...more
Jan 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I have read every Ann Rule book there is! They are all still in print. She is the very best True Crime writer that ever way. This book is very good and not to give anything away, but I do not beleive the story is quite over just yet. Unlike a lot of true crime books that have a lot of gore etc, Ann Rule does not have that kind of writing style. Her style of writing really makes you beleive you know the victims and the families. Once you start reading an Ann Rule book you just can't put it down! ...more
Aug 16, 2011 rated it liked it
This book was written too soon. The case isn't quite over, with unanswered questions remaining. Granted, this novel is about Barb's quest to have "suicide" removed from Ronda's file and that task was completed. However, the story ends with a recap of all the suspects and the work currently being done to bring closure to the case. Personally, I think Ann Rule should have waited for more closure before publishing this novel.
The introduction had me questioning the book, so I did the obvious thing and re-read the jacket and looked at the pictures. One picture convinced me she didn't commit suicide. What os the narrative after that? I don't need an entire book to convince me that the small town resources failed. There's no story here.
Oct 17, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating and unsatisfying true-life mystery. I checked this out mainly because I live in Washington State and didn't actually remember this case. Ann Rule is always a very thorough author and you feel as if you are actually there. Unfortunately, it had an unsatisfactory ending - but not due to Ann Rule.
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“Reynolds was thirty-three and healthy and beautiful when she died on December 16, 1998.” 0 likes
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