Title: The Stranger Beside Me
Author: Ann Rule
Genre: True Crime, Biographies of Serial Killers, Memoirs
With the new documentaries already circulating on Netflix , as well as the upcoming release of Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile starring Zac Efron set to hit Netflix on May 3rd, I have to admit that the story of Ted Bundy has me intrigued.
For those of you living under a rock, Ted Bundy is the famous serial killer, arguably the man whom ‘serial killer’ was coined for, who terrorized the US in the 1970s.
This book popped up in the recommended section for me and I am glad that I decided to give it a chance (I am drawn more to fiction than true stories).
First of all, this book almost feels like fiction when you are reading it because of the coincidences that unfold so perfectly.
An up and coming publisher of true crime articles, our author Ann Rule finds herself in the midst of a bizarre set of circumstances when she is given a book deal to cover a series of mass slayings nearby.
What she doesn’t know at the time is that the yet to be discovered savage slayer that she is researching was a close friend of hers that she met working at a crisis center just before the killings began to escalate. Hiding in plain site.
Ann tells her story of what it was like to know Bundy before, during, and after his conviction, giving insight to the monster of a man who had so many fooled. She provides details on his seemingly charming personality, even including snippets from letters that he had written to her while imprisoned. She shows how his mask starts to slip as he gets closer and closer to the end of his trial, revealing at last his true colors to the world.
It is interesting to see the series of events unfold, and the perfect storm of negligence, manipulation, and malice that led to Bundy being able to carry on for as long as he did and escape prison twice.
It does have a few parts with gruesome details, and I felt heavy with the realization of how many lives were destroyed. But it also tells the story of the women who escaped him, and how they managed it.
This book stayed with me for days after reading it, and I imagine it will for months or even years. Call me paranoid, but I am definitely more aware now of every stranger I encounter, my surroundings everywhere I go, and avoid every dark corner or deserted place I may come upon.
Pick this one up today before the anticipated movie release next week!
“Conscience doth make cowards of us all,” but conscience is what gives us our humanity, the factor that separates us from animals. It allows us to love, to feel another’s pain, and to grow. Whatever the drawbacks are to being blessed with a conscience, the rewards are essential to living in a world with other human beings.”
“He was a shadow man, fighting to survive in a world that was never made for him.”
“Yet, in reality, Ted loved things more than he loved people. He could find life in an abandoned bicycle or an old car, and feel a kind of compassion for these inanimate objects, more compassion than he could ever feel for another human being.”
“The male psychopaths had no difficulty in bewitching female staff members, while the male staff picked up on them rapidly. The female psychopaths could fool the male staff but not the women.”
“I ended that letter, ‘There is nothing in this life that is a complete tragedy – nothing – try to remember that.’ Looking back, I wonder at my naiveté. Some things in life ARE complete tragedies. Ted Bundy’s story may well be one of them.”
Have you read this book? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Contact me.
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