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Practice to Deceive Hardcover – October 8, 2013

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Frequently Bought Together

Practice to Deceive + Fatal Friends, Deadly Neighbors: Ann Rule's Crime Files Volume 16 + Lying in Wait: Ann Rule's Crime Files: Vol.17
Price for all three: $34.19

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books; First Edition / First Printing edition (October 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416544623
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416544623
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (563 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,945 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This is Rule’s twenty-fourth true-crime book in a successful sweep that started with her brilliant take on serial killer Ted Bundy, the man she worked next to at a Seattle crisis center. Rule’s true-crime books are notable for their in-depth forensics, perceptive trial coverage (often), and keen psychological insight (always). Her latest extends an analogy she has often used: how an investigation into homicide takes, basically, a stick drawing of a person, the victim, and with each piece of evidence and parts of interviews, transforms the stick figure into a rounded, complex human being whose life holds the key to his or her death. In 2003, a man’s body was discovered in a car parked in front of a cabin on Whidbey Island, Washington. The victim, Russel Douglas, had a single gunshot wound to his head. The investigation took years to complete (it took a decade to come to trial) and wound through seven states and Mexico. Rule is at her best in tracing Douglas’ frantic, depression-fueled changes in the years preceding his murder. This time Rule occasionally becomes tedious in her detailed coverage of every phase of the investigation and trial, using her remarkable access to sources to deliver, finally, too much information. Still, this account delivers quite a punch in its final revelations. --Connie Fletcher

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

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 story flows very well.
Monte Edwards
I don't think it's one of her best books--it's got too much padding, too many extraneous details and genealogies--and she's definitely got an ax to grind.
E. A. Lovitt
Usually Ann Rule can keep me locked into a book, but not this one, I felt it jumped around a lot, like she was just trying to fill pages.
Eric - Green Bay, WI

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

121 of 127 people found the following review helpful By MBarr on October 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love Ann Rule's books but this one was very hard for
me to get through. It seemed as though the same information
was repeated page after page after page. I was very
disappointed. Usually, Ann Rule's books keep me up at night.
Not this one. I had a hard time picking it up once I put it down.
I will return it for a refund $10.00 is too much to pay for a book
that is so boring. I skipped several chapters and didn't' miss a thing.
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112 of 119 people found the following review helpful By ges on October 14, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I waited so long for this book to come out as I am a major Ann Rule fan. What an absolute mess of a book it is . So much detail about all of these peripheral characters that leads the reader to no where but boredom. I hate to say it, but Ann has list her touch. One gets the impression that she had planned to write about this murder case and despite the fact that it turned out to be an unworthy case to warrant 400 pages, she wrote it anyway and just threw it out there. it has no resolution, it delves I to the minutiae of people's lives for no reason, and at the end the reader is left baffled as to why she would even consider this a good read.
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84 of 88 people found the following review helpful By booklover343 on October 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ann Rule is an amazing author and I've loved most of her books. This one, however, was the story of a too complicated crime and investigation. To give her credit, she does warn readers several times that the investigation was very complicated, over many years, and covered many different states. The warning was not enough...she should have passed on this one for a book!

Because you have had to slog through so many pages and so many different suspects (and too much detail on non-suspects), it's tiresome and you start to not really care who did it.

If you are looking for a good true-crime book, pick one of her other ones.
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58 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Sue Wieser on October 18, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am a huge Ann Rule fan, but I'm starting to waiver. Her last 2 books have been sorely disappointing. I just finished this book and I still have no idea why it was written. There is no resolution, no motive, no plot. I am very confused why this story was ever written. It has no "hook." And it certainly has no "The Stranger Beside Me" or "Small Sacrifices" grab. Very disappointing.
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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful By JLI on October 21, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I eagerly awaited Ann Rule's latest book but was greatly disappointed with it. Wondered if Rule couldn't have found a better, more interesting story to write about. Her last few books are not nearly as good as earlier works in my opinion. I would advise readers (and especially Ann Rule fans) to skip this one and hope her next effort will be better.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Nancy A. Hudson on November 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Ann's last two books have been difficult to get through. This was marginally better than the last. This crime was rather convoluted and the characters were not easy to identify with at any level. None of the players had a good side and that is always a problem. Even the victim was made out to be a rather weird, sexually ambiguous, maybe abusive guy with little or no thoughts from the victim's family or friends to draw a true picture. Who do you care about? Nobody. It was just a sad case and there was nothing that made the ending satisfying or worth caring about. The entire backstory of Peggy's stepfamily had nothing really to do with anything and the Dateline episode on the story doesn't even mention them! The Dateline story was actually better than the book. You get to see the real emotions and thoughts of the victim's family and a side to him you did not see in the book. Jean is also better fleshed out. I am very disappointed with the way Ann's writing has gone downhill and the cases she chooses are just not interesting enough to want to slog through so many pages or in my case, hours of listening. It didn't help that the narrator was a breathy lackluster reader who sounded like she was trying to audition for a sex chat phone line.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By KesselRun on December 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I usually fly through Ann Rule's books. I have read The Stranger Beside Me three times. But, I had to struggle to get through this one. I don't understand why she picked this case. The story is boring, with no hook whatsoever. Rule does warn the reader that it can get quite confusing, as there are many different characters involved in this story. However, it seems like there are 2 or 3 completely different books in here. With Ann's books, she usually has a way of giving all her stories and characters depth and intrigue. This is a story that is lacking. There is no apparent motive. Ann usually has the keen ability to get into the heads of the victims and killers she is writing about. The victim here is pretty much forgotten after the 2nd or 3rd chapter. I also remember when Ann's full length books (not the case file ones) were 500-600 pages. This one is a little over 300, with the bulk of the story having nothing whatsoever to do with the killing. Also, the pictures are a little....odd. I looked and looked at one of the images just to be sure, but it really looks like Ann photo-shopped herself in a picture between the prosecutor of Whidbley Island and, what is captioned as the main detective on the case. I'm not a person who knows much about how to photoshop or what it looks like, but it very obviously looks like her picture is cut and pasted here. Also, the picture under it is captioned as Ann and the main detective, the same detective from the photo-shop picture. Yet it is clearly 2 completely different people in both pictures. So, one of them is the detective and one of them is someone else. It's just very strange. I don't know if Ann has lost her touch, because her last full length book about the Rhonda Reynolds case was very lackluster as well. Maybe Ann should just write the short story case file books from now on. I will continue, however, to reread old greats such as The Stranger Beside Me and Small Sacrifices and And Never Let Her Go.
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