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Last Dance, Last Chance (Ann Rule's Crime Files) Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 2003

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Last Dance, Last Chance (Ann Rule's Crime Files) + The End Of The Dream The Golden Boy Who Never Grew Up : Ann Rules Crime Files Volume 5 + Fatal Friends, Deadly Neighbors: Ann Rule's Crime Files Volume 16
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Editorial Reviews


Master of the true-crime genre CHICAGO TRIBUNE No writer in America has ever probed the dark heart of a killer so deeply Edna Buchanan Devastatingly accurate insight. NEW YORK TIMES --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Ann Rule is the author of thirty New York Times bestsellers, all of them still in print. Her first bestseller was The Stranger Beside Me, about her personal relationship to infamous serial killer Ted Bundy. A former Seattle police officer, she knows the crime scene firsthand. For more than two decades, she has been a powerful advocate for victims of violent crime. She lives near Seattle. Visit her at

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Product Details

  • Series: Ann Rule's Crime Files (Book 8)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books (January 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067102535X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671025359
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #744,695 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I am an author of true-crime books, and I'm now working on my 25th and 26th: NO REGRETS and TOO LATE TO SAY GOODBYE. I have lived in the Seattle Area for many years. Before that, I grew up in Michigan and Pennsylvania, and lived in Texas, Oregon, and near Niagara Falls, N.Y. I always wanted to be a police officer--because my grandfather was a sheriff in Michigan. I joined the Seattle Police Department when I was 21, worked a year and a half, but then I couldn't pass the eye test. After five years of rejection slips, I finally sold my first article for $35! Soon, I found my niche when I began writing for the fact-detective magazines like TRUE DETECTIVE in 1970, and I wrote more than a thousand homicide cases, and went to hundreds of trials. My first book, THE STRANGER BESIDE ME, was about Ted Bundy, but, amazingly, I had the book contract to write about an unknown killer six months before Bundy was identified as the "Ted Killer." And I had known him all along, and didn't realize it; he was my partner in the all-night shift at Seattle's Crisis Clinic! Oddly, I started out writing humor, but unless you are Erma Bombeck, Garrison Keillor, or Fanny Flagg or Dave Barry, it's hard to make a living. Now I write humor for fun and for my friends.

I graduated in Creative Writing from the U of Washington, with minors in criminology and psychology. I also have an AA degree in law enforcement, taking classes in crime scene investigation, arrest, search and seizure, crime scene photography and forensic science. I've lectured in seminars all across America to detectives, prosecutors, and even at the FBI Academy. My subjects have been serial murder, high profile offenders, and women who kill. I write two books every year--one hardcover single-case book, and one Ann Rule's True Crime Files original paperback. Although people tend to think I write only about the Northwest, I go wherever the cases are most interesting. I've written about murder cases in Florida, Georgia, New York, Kansas, Texas, Hawaii, and California, too.

I raised five children on my own--starting out with articles for baby care magazines, Sunday features, true confessions, and then "slicks" like Cosmopolitan, Ladies' Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, and Reader's Digest. Now, my children are grown.

I like to keep in very close touch with my readers, and I'm able to do that with a weblog and a guestbook on my website pages at This also gives readers a chance to talk with each other, and its' a pretty lively spot--as I'm sure this page will be.

To choose a book subject, I weed through about 3,000 suggestions from readers. I'm looking for an "anti-hero" whose eventual arrest shocks those who knew him (or her): attractive, brilliant, charming, popular, wealthy, talented, and much admired in their communities--but really hiding behind masks.

I'm a reader myself, and I always have several books going at once--one upstairs, downstairs, near the bathtub, in my car, and beside my hammock (in the summer, of course!)

Customer Reviews

The beneficiaries of this interest are her readers who appreciate the well researched and documented story.
Barbara Jackson
In this instance, though, I simply hate to see anyone miss out on this excellent piece of work solely due to the influence of the preceding critique.
Colonel Angus
Unlike the victims whose stories Rule has brought us before, Debbie Pignataro lives, and all readers will be uplifted by her strength and courage.
Karen Sampson Hudson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By "dee-1" on February 17, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I LOVE Ann Rule, she NEVER disappoints me! I just finished "Last Dance Last Chance." She has a talent and skill for putting you right in the midst of what is happening. In Last Dance Last Chance she again upholds her listing as a top notch True Crime Writer. I feel outraged regarding the attitude of Lena the mother of Anthony Pignataro. Her spoiled brat of a boy never matured into a man. He whines all the way to the end and is still whining. He administered poison to his adoring wife, week by week, month by month, calmly watching her suffering and deterioration. He waited impatiently for her death. But Debbie didn't die, she managed to live. FINALLY Dr. Anthony Pignataro has reaped the rewards of lies, deceits, cheating, betraying and attempted murder ... He will be in prison till the year 2019. His wife Deborah, his children . . . .and yes, even his mother have suffered tremendously because of his calculating actions, his cruelty. He led a privileged life, enough money, nice cars etc., but he just didn't have the right stuff to be a doctor, husband or father. I also like the photos that can be referred to, i.e. showing that the handsome, young or very innocent looking are in many cases the opposite of what they appear to be. Thank you Ann Rule for educating us, showing us once again that what you see isn't always what you get. To be on the N Y Times best seller list again only proves that your fans are above average. It is an honor that you have definitely earned.
Also recommended: ALL of Ann Rule's books,short stories included. I learn from every one: Every Breath You Take, And Never Let Her Go, If You Really Loved Me, etc. etc.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By jmk444 on June 11, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ann Rule has penned a real-life monster story with "Last Dance, Last Chance." Here she tells the story of Doctor Anthony Pignataro, the son of a prominent Buffalo, NY surgeon, who lacked any of the gifts his father had. He masked his insecurity and incompetence with a veneer of arrogance and attitude that alienated most of those around him. In fact the only person besides his mother to stand by him through years of failed attempts to finish a medical residency program was his wife Debbie.
Not only was Tony Pignataro crude, rude and offensive to most people, but he showed little true affection for his family unless he needed something from them. In fact, he was a philandering husband, caught in at least two affairs by his long-suffering wife.
Pignataro ventured into cosmetic surgery after inventing a permanent hairpiece that attached to the skull via titanium implants. He made a fortune doing this procedure along with the occasional breast implantation and tummy tuck in his understaffed office. His poor work habits ultimately had deadly consequences when a young woman died during a routine breast augmentation procedure.
As a result, Pignataro lost his medical license and his practice, developed a heroin habit and continued an affair with a stripper named Tami, whom he decided to make a new life with as soon as he could dispose of his wife. He attempted to do so during a brief reconciliation period.
His plans went awry when Debbie survived the massive poisoning, and with the tests proving she was poisoned, investigators soon focused on Tony as their lead suspect. This is a chilling tale of a conscienceless killer who had everything going for him and trashed it all through his own greed and lust for adoration.
This is another testament as to why Ann Rule is the best at her craft.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By L. Quido VINE VOICE on January 13, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
of stories from her case files, with her signature section of pictures from each of the cases. The longest case is the title case, which features the infamous wannabe plastic surgeon, Dr. Anthony Pignataro from Buffalo. The cases against Pignataro had unfolded throughout the 90's....and I had left Buffalo by that time and only got bits and pieces of the saga.

I'm perhaps too taken with Ann Rule to judge this objectively; I do know that from time to time she waxes so strongly for the criminal's victim that perhaps she doesn't always portray the story in the fairest light. In the case of Pignataro, we have perhaps one of the least evil criminals Rule has ever written about -- instead she presents a fascinating case study of how someone suffering from narcissism can actually allow it to draw them into cruel and criminal acts against others. Those considering plastic surgery of any kind will learn to be sure and fully check credentials of the surgeon, before agreeing to the procedure.

The remaining cases, although shorter, each will hold your interest, and here you will meet some truly sociopathic personalities. Once again, you'll be caught up in how much Rule learns and researches her true crime pieces, and how scary the world can be. In this case, Rule not only features victims
who are close relatives or acquaintances of sociopaths, but also strangers who come into the periphery of a sociopathic personality, and how they can be victimized by such a criminal.

Highly readable and another winner from Ann Rule!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By lazza on September 5, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
'Last Dance, Last Chance" is yet another of Ann Rule's collection of true crime stories, dominated by one major story followed by several smaller ones. Personally I think these collections don't show off the author's skills very well, and they seem a bit formulaic ... yet Ann Rule continues to pump them out at a rate of one per year.
In this book the main story is about a very disturbed young doctor and his long suffering wife. The man is not only a rotten physician but also a horrible husband/father. After repeated failures at entering into specialized medicine he hangs a shingle in front of his office and instantly becomes a cosmetic surgeon (..from hell). You can imagine the rest. But you cannot imagine how this insecure, rotten individual takes out his frustration on his family. Fascinating horror ... it can only be real.
Bottom line: enjoyable but not memorable Ann Rule material. Yet surely her fans should and will read it.
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