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VINE VOICEon January 16, 2005
I am an Ann Rule fan but these Crime Files books become more and more disappointing. While I like that there is a collection of stories in these books, of late I find that the main story drags on and that some of the shorter stories are stories that Ann has previously written about. If I am paying the price of a new book I don't want to read old fodder. I understand that Ann has a background in police work (making it near and dear to her heart) but I think there is too much focus on the detectives in the stories. I don't want to see photo after photo of detectives and D.A.'s. I'd much rather see photos that support the real life impact of the victim who was a real person. I do, however, appreciate that Ann avoids graphic and gruesome photos. I like how Ann tries to make the victim come to life but I often think she goes overboard in relating how absolutely beautiful, intelligent, generous, and vivacious each victim is. If you have not read very many of Rule's books then I recommend this one; if you have already read several then I would recommend passing. Although the book is truly entertaining you probably don't want to reread something she already wrote about--especially when there is no update to the story. Also, in Ann's defense, she wrote about some old, cold cases but they have recently been solved due to DNA evidence. I can't fault her for writing about these cases. Indeed, I applaud the diligent people who brought the psychopaths to justice.
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on February 21, 2005
I have read and loved all of Ann's books, even her Crime Files series. This one however was very disappointing. If feels as if it were thrown together just to get it on the market. Another thing was the fact that so many of the names were fake. I understand why that is necessary in certain instances but to give fake names to the killers is in my opinion demeaning to the victims. I like to do research on certain cases and it is very time consuming to research for the killer's real name first. If they have been tried and convicted then their real name should be used, even if they have done their time and have been released. IMHO
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on May 6, 2005
I count on Ann Rule to really detail the criminal's background and develop their motives, plus give in-depth coverage of the detective work and trial and profile of the victim.

In this collection, the emphasis is mostly on the crime. You get the feeling that she couldn't find enough to build her usually thorough coverage and that's why they are collected together. Without the other aspects, there is too much description of blood spattered crime scenes and the harrowing last minutes of the victims.

All the crimes relate to the theme of love, albeit warped and murderous relationships or situations. That does pull the vignettes together, but for the most part they are just too skimpy.

"The Highway Accident" was maybe the best developed of the accounts in this collection. It's an old case that parallels the more recent Mark and Lori Hacking case.

The early part of the book puts closure to some old, cold cases through the use of DNA breakthoughs, but still it lacks the drama of her usual police work descriptions.
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on November 29, 2005
I too am a fan of Anne Rule, and grab up her Crime Files as soon as I see them on the bookstore shelves. But I have to say this volume was a bit dissapointing and confusing. The first story which the title comes from felt disjointed. It seemed to bounce from one killing to another and was missing her usual seemlessness. The transistion from Sandy to Ted Bundy by page 29 threw me off completely.

All in all it wasn't a bad read, but certainly not to the same standard that I am sure all Ann Rule fans are familiar.
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VINE VOICEon May 10, 2006
This is #9 in Ann Rule's True Crime Files series and it follows the formula of all the books: a longer length, multichapter story that is either recent (but not enough for book length treatment) or a major updating of an older story, followed by a selection of reprints of stories Rule wrote for True Detective back in the 1960s and 1970s. These focus heavily (as do many of Rule's books and stories) on the theme of victimized women who encountered bad men in their lives. This can get a bit tiresome at times but since that was a lot of the fodder of the True Detective genre, that's what she has to work with.

Rule is always a sympathetic narrator of these women's tales and injects her own voice and views judiciously in the introductions and conclusions to the stories, telling how she felt about a particular case or perhaps how her thinking changed over the years (and sometimes, how the case changed her). This is, I think, one of Rule's strengths as a true crime writer and one of the reasons that she is at the head of the pack in this genre.

My main disappointment with this book was the scattershot structure of the main, longer story. It seemed like Rule wasn't sure what she wanted to do with it--is the theme the solving of one long ago murder, or is it how DNA testing and cold case squads have allowed many murders to finally be solved? The narrative begins by focusing on a newlywed teenage girl who was murdered in her apartment in 1968, then digresses all over the place to a series of other crimes that had various perpetrators, and how ultimately DNA evidence has solved many of the crimes. Some of the digressions were interesting, such as how one girl long thought to be a Ted Bundy victim (her photo and information are included in Rule's and others' Bundy books) was found through DNA to be the victim of a completely unsuspected killer on the other side of the country. But the overall effect is an uncharacteristically unfocused story.

And of course, the other stories are all decades old now, since they are reprints of stories from a long defunct magazine. But if you have been reading the series of books, you know this and you know what you are getting. They still make diverting reading, particularly with the updates on "where are they now" at the end of each story.

Rule's style is very readable and although these "true crime files" books are filler between her full length books, I usually find them to be quick and interesting reads, and this one was no exception. Worth a look if you like the true crime genre.
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on July 25, 2006
I heard about this book on a flight when some girls were discussing it. I immediately purchased it during my next lay-over. It was hard to put down. I have quite an interest in forensics and it fascinates me as to how these cases unfold. When I finished this book (during a 4 hour lay-over in Dallas), I went a purchased 2 more of her books. I can't wait to start reading them!!
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on January 20, 2005
I love Ann Rule, but this book does not showcase her talents. It is rather lifeless, dull, and far too easy to put down after a few pages. I just couldn't get interested in these musty old cases. I'm sure they were newsworthy in their day, but they make for boring reading in this volume. Read some of Ann's earlier works, they are much more rewarding than this one. Sorry, Ann.
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on September 22, 2015
I have read most of Ann Rule's books. I enjoy her style of writing. Her books move seamlessly through the story line. Her stories are well researched and presented in a fashion that is understandable and easy to read.
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on July 21, 2015
I am interested in reading about real crimes, so the material appeals to me, but the author's ability to craft compelling prose is substandard. Solely rating the author would net the review 1-2 stars; however, my interest in the subject matter brought more stars to my review.
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on January 27, 2005
In now the 9th of her Crime Files series it has become clear Ann Rule has run out of interesting crime cases to report on, or she is simply going through the motions on some modestly interesting cases with lots of dust on them (most were over thirty years old). I bought this book at the airport right before boarding a transatlantic flight, as a last minute purchase. At least it was very readable, in Ann Rule's somewhat folksy way. But having finished the book a couple of days ago I cannot remember any of the true crime stories it contains. This doesn't speak well for the book(, nor for me?).

Bottom line: utter true crime fodder. Ann Rule has done much, much better.
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