Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Stranger Beside Me

For some reason, I've been on a true crime kick lately.  I'm not feeling especially morbid or anything but they are holding my attention quite a bit. I suppose it is my fascination with what prompts people to behave in certain ways... what would made someone want to become a serial killer?

 I had heard about Ann Rule's book, The Stranger Beside Me through a book suggestion.  I had heard of the serial killer Ted Bundy but never really knew the story behind his crimes so I gave The Stranger Beside Me a shot. The book is a personal story of Ann Rule (famous crime writer who past away a couple of years ago) and her friend, Ted, who turned out to be the infamous Ted Bundy.  When Ann first started working on her book, she had no idea her friend, Ted, was a serial killer.  In fact, he was a nice guy who volunteered with her on a crisis line.  She was volunteering in the evenings and writing crime stories for magazines and newspapers during the day while raising her children on her own.  She had wanted to get into writing books and when the killings started happening in her home town, she was able to get a book deal. As the story unfolds, the reader is exposed to Ann's thoughts and judgements about the crimes and slowly begins to understand how so many people were easily deceived by Ted Bundy. The idea that women were so infatuated with him, sending him letters and attending his trial and weeping... crazy!  I especially enjoyed the take this author had on the crimes, coming to terms with each horrific thing that her friend had done, initially in disbelief but ultimately acceptance that he was not the nice guy she knew. 

Ann Rule went on to be one the biggest crime writers of her time writing about many other criminals and this book is what gave her her start. I find her life extremely interesting, maybe because of journey as a writer but also her ability to get inside the mind of a killer and expose how he must have thought.  I just started reading Green River, Running Red: The Real Story of the Green River Killer -- Americas Deadliest Serial Killer.  It also has some personal connections with Ann's life including near her hometown again.  I'll let you know what I think of it once I am done.

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