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The Stranger Beside Me Mass Market Paperback – December 30, 2008
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Not long ago, true crime writer Ann Rule recalls lying on an operating table. The anesthesiologist leaned over before putting her to sleep. "Ann," the anesthesiologist said softly, "tell me, what was Ted Bundy really like?" Despite meeting Florida's electric chair in 1989, the subject of Rule's bestselling book continues to haunt her. Rule and Bundy were friends. They met in 1971 at a Seattle crisis clinic, where they shared the late shift answering a suicide hotline. Their subsequent conversations, meetings, and letters spanned the rest of Bundy's life as he evolved into one of the century's most notorious serial killers. It's been 20 years since Rule first penned this chilling account. But the story--and her 2000 update--will still have readers reaching for their Xanax. No gratuitous gore here; just the basic, bone-chilling evidence. In fact, like a protective mother shielding us from horrors too awful to mention, Rule seems to avoid delving too deeply into crime scene descriptions. She devotes one paragraph in her new afterword to her discovery that Bundy engaged in necrophilia and returned to the scenes of his crimes to "line dead lips and eyes with garish makeup and to put blush on pale cheeks." She tells readers that John Hinckley, who shot Ronald Reagan, and David Berkowitz, the Son of Sam Killer, traded prison correspondences with Bundy. And she hints that Bundy's insatiable killer instincts may have started when he was a 14-year-old paperboy. (Ann Marie Burr, an 8-year-old girl on his route, mysteriously disappeared in the middle of the night and has never been found.) The skimpy update is over too soon, leaving readers wanting more and offering further proof of the public's never-ending fascination with serial killers. --Jodi Mailander Farrell --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"As dramatic and chilling as a bedroom window shattering at midnight." -- The New York Times
Top customer reviews
I'm from Seattle and am friends with a sister of one of his victims and another woman who worked with him in politics in Olympia. Because that made his crimes a little too close to home, I put off reading this book for many years. I must say that especially for a book that has been through multiple editions, the level of the writer's--and publisher's--craftsmanship is appalling.
Ann Rule walks you through these crimes in an "and you were there" sort of way. She was there for part of it. In a bizarre twist of circumstance, she actually knew Ted Bundy as a co-worker when they sat side by side, taking calls at a crisis hotline.
This book is partially an examination of the author's own feelings about how someone she grew to be fairly good friends with, someone she came to believe was a caring, sensitive, intelligent individual with a world of potential before him, could act with such cold, calculating cruelty.
One of the court appointed psychiatrists that examines Bundy pinpoints the problem, diagnosing him as having antisocial disorder, which used to be known as being psychopathic. According to this expert, people with this disorder are masters at hiding the problem in their day to day lives, making it hard to catch, and impossible to cure.
Many more things are revealed in this book, and if you have the kind of morbid curiosity that I have, you'll find this book well worth your time.