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The Stranger Beside Me (1980)

de Ann Rule

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2,183535,339 (3.93)83
Overview: Utterly unique in its astonishing intimacy, as jarringly frightening as when it first appeared, Ann Rule's The Stranger Beside Me defies our expectation that we would surely know if a monster lived among us, worked alongside of us, appeared as one of us. With a slow chill that intensifies with each heart-pounding page, Rule describes her dawning awareness that Ted Bundy, her sensitive coworker on a crisis hotline, was one of the most prolific serial killers in America. He would confess to killing at least thirty-six young women from coast to coast, and was eventually executed for three of those cases. Drawing from their correspondence that endured until shortly before Bundy's death, and striking a seamless balance between her deeply personal perspective and her role as a crime reporter on the hunt for a savage serial killer - the brilliant and charismatic Bundy, the man she thought she knew - Rule changed the course of true-crime literature with this unforgettable chronicle.… (més)
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It’s hard to say how many women Ted Bundy murdered in the 1970s. Former Seattle policewoman Ann Rule was a friend of Bundy’s and it took her a long time to believe that he had actually done the things he was convicted of and put to death for. This book outlines the murders, as well as Ann’s friendship with Ted, and her realization that he did do those things.

Unfortunately, this was another abridged audio. Again, I feel like it was done well, in that I didn’t notice things that might have been missing. I just wish it had been the entire book! Like “Helter Skelter”, I did read this one back in high school, but given that that was 30+ years ago, I didn’t remember much of it. I actually hadn’t remembered the author’s friendship with Bundy at all (though the murders in Florida – the last ones he did – had stuck with me all this time, as well as other details about him). What I listened to was very good, though I’m not sure I’m a fan of Ann Rule reading her own books. Like with “Helter Skelter”, because this was an abridged version, I would still like to reread the entire book. ( )
  LibraryCin | Feb 10, 2021 |
10 out of 10 this was fascinating and unreal and I need more ..if anyone has any recs please let me know! Lol ( )
  ashezbookz | Oct 20, 2020 |
The audiobook my library has is an abridged version of this book read by Ann Rule. I think the biggest draw of this story is the interesting frame of Rule's personal relationship with Bundy, though it did make me want to read more true crime about cases I have some knowledge about to get the a more complex picture than the headlines. ( )
  bookbrig | Aug 5, 2020 |
I’ve read other Ann Rule books but somehow never got around to this, probably her most famous. It wasn’t as riveting as I expected considering the hype/infamy of Bundy and how she knew him.

The first half of the book is slow because it mostly deals with Ann’s background with Bundy and what she knew of his life as it intersected with her own. However, most of the book bogged down with back and forth over whether she believed him. She repeated ad nauseum how she couldn’t believe the man she knew had committed these crimes, but then pivoted to say how she was swayed by the detectives’ beliefs and circumstantial evidence against him. In fact, she didn’t seem to be fully convinced until he finally confessed right before his execution -and that was in one of the epilogues written years after publication! It is well publicized that Bundy was extremely charismatic and often swayed people to his side, but I found her hand-wringing less credible (and downright annoying) as the book went on. I expect such denial from his mother, but not a former policewoman, current crime writer who had close relationships with many investigators on the case. It went way beyond trying to be objective.

The second half went by more quickly as Ann finally began piecing together the disappearances and murders with the investigation and Bundy’s known whereabouts. This was the part I found most interesting – how they stopped him. However, the annoyance of the first half gave way to disgust in the second half. Bundy’s crimes were beyond horrific, but I found HER actions increasingly disturbing. She went above and beyond trying to help him, even as her doubts became substantial and the evidence mounted. She kept up a running correspondence, especially while he was incarcerated. She sent him money with nearly every letter: “How many $10 checks had I sent over the years?” After he was arrested in Florida, she became convinced he was ready to confess if only he could be brought back to Washington to a mental hospital – which she endeavored to make happen by calling state authorities and investigators she knew, asking them to intercede. “I tried, literally, to save his life.” In a way, I felt like she was one of the Bundy groupies she made point of pitying. Moreover, she went after Florida with a vengeance: “Florida, the “Buckle of the Death Belt” – was the worst possible state to which he could have run.” This seems overzealous because it wasn’t the only state with the death penalty. Colorado, where he had been on trial for murder, also had the death penalty. However, it had decided to remove that option from consideration in his trial. She goes on to describe that Aspenites had found him to be a “lovable rogue.” Yeah, a lovable rogue that brutally slaughtered dozens of women. I would have expected her to be frustrated with Colorado – the state that let him escape custody TWICE; the second time of which led directly to the murders he committed in Florida. But she was more concerned with how his escape led to him being arrested in a state that fully intended to use the death penalty if it convicted him.

The epilogues (and there are several in this edition) help to mitigate some of my feelings in that second half as she provided the fallout on years of appeals and his confessions before execution. She finally accepted what he did, and I can understand regret and sadness over who he could have been, but it wasn’t enough to redeem this book for me. ( )
  jshillingford | Aug 5, 2019 |
I've had this book about Ted Bundy and the woman who knew him on my to-be-read list for quite some time, and I finally got around to reading it through Kindle Unlimited. The story is interesting, and because I lived in Colorado when Bundy escaped from the Pitkin County jail made it more interesting for me.

Still, this book was much too long for the story it was telling. Add the multiple epilogues/addendum since it was first published, and there is a lot of reading to be done here. Bundy was a strange person, but I couldn't manage the author's attitude towards him, even once she finally believed he was guilty of the many murders. It bothered me that she seemed to have more empathy for Bundy than she did for his victims. Yes, she wrote about caring about the victims, but it didn't ring as true as her feelings for Bundy. Yes, he did not have an ideal childhood, but that does not excuse that he was a monster. I think the author fell for the charming side of his personality more than she recognized. ( )
  TooBusyReading | Feb 22, 2019 |
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And tortures him now more, the more he sees
Of pleasure not for him ordained: then soon
Fierce hat he recollects, and all his thoughts
Of mischief, gratulating, thus excites:
"Thoughts, whither have ye led me? with what sweet
Compulsion thus transported to forget
What hither bought us? hate, not love, nor hope
Of Paradise for Hell, hope here to taste
Of pleasure, but all pleasure to destroy,
Save what is in destroying; other joy,
To me is lost...."
Paradise Lost: Book IX (Lines 469-79)
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This book is dedicated to my parents; Sophie Hansen Stackhouse and the late Chester R. Stackhouse...for their unfailing love and support, and because they always believed...
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I never expected to be writing about Theodore Robert Bundy once again.
No one glanced at the young man who walked out of the Trailways Bus Station in Tallahassee, Florida at dawn on Sunday, January 8, 1978.
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(Clica-hi per mostrar-ho. Compte: pot anticipar-te quin és el desenllaç de l'obra.)
(Clica-hi per mostrar-ho. Compte: pot anticipar-te quin és el desenllaç de l'obra.)
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Overview: Utterly unique in its astonishing intimacy, as jarringly frightening as when it first appeared, Ann Rule's The Stranger Beside Me defies our expectation that we would surely know if a monster lived among us, worked alongside of us, appeared as one of us. With a slow chill that intensifies with each heart-pounding page, Rule describes her dawning awareness that Ted Bundy, her sensitive coworker on a crisis hotline, was one of the most prolific serial killers in America. He would confess to killing at least thirty-six young women from coast to coast, and was eventually executed for three of those cases. Drawing from their correspondence that endured until shortly before Bundy's death, and striking a seamless balance between her deeply personal perspective and her role as a crime reporter on the hunt for a savage serial killer - the brilliant and charismatic Bundy, the man she thought she knew - Rule changed the course of true-crime literature with this unforgettable chronicle.

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