True crime enthusiasts are always looking for new methods and materials to obtain information regarding unusual, unknown, shocking, or even familiar cases. Netflix produces a variety of true crime docuseries every year, and we all know about classic Lifetime, but what about the literature aspect of true crime? If you aren't already aware, let me introduce you to Ann Rule, an author that was well-versed in true crime and criminology.
Who is Ann Rule?
Ann Rae Rule, formerly Stackhouse, was born in Lowell, Michigan, on October 22, 1931. Ann grew up surrounded by family members who had careers in law enforcement, and upon graduating high school, she pursued tertiary studies in creative writing, criminology, and psychology at the University of Washington.
Ann's journey into criminology began with her job as an officer for the Seattle Police Department. In 1969, Ann contributed pieces to the True Detective magazine under the pen name "Andy Stack".
In 1971, Ann was volunteering at a suicide crisis hotline in Seattle, where she met the infamous serial killer Ted Bundy, who also volunteered there and was studying psychology at the University of Washington. Ann's working connection to Bundy as well as her first-hand knowledge of his personality propelled her to write her first book, The Stranger Beside Me, after his arrest. Since then, Ann wrote numerous books detailing other well-known and lesser-known true crime stories until her untimely death on July 26, 2015.
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10. The Stranger Beside Me. 1980
This list would not be complete without Ann Rule's breakout novel, The Stranger Beside Me, which was published in 1980. Ann first met Ted Bundy at a suicide crisis where they both volunteered, and nothing in the young Bundy's demeanor set off alarms in her head to indicate that he was a vicious serial killer. In this book, Ann delved into Bundy's life, crimes, and manipulation tactics, all from an enthralling first-person point of view.
The Stranger Beside Me was adapted into a made-for-tv film in 2003.
9. Small Sacrifices. 1987
Small Sacrifices is another deeply compelling book written by Rule and spoiler alert, this one is not for the faint of heart. In this book, Rule details the true story of Diane Downs, a resident of Springfield, Oregon, and how she ultimately decided to shoot her three children in May 1983. Down's son, Danny, and daughter Christie survived, but her daughter Cheryl perished from her gunshot wounds.
The heartwrenching story was adapted into a made-for-tv film under the same name and starred the late Farrah Fawcett.
8. Green River, Running Red. 2004
Green River, Running Red details the personal life, crimes, and capture of the ever-elusive Gary Ridgeway, better known as the Green River Killer. This true crime story was particularly personal for Rule, as she resided and raised her daughters just a mile or so away from where some of Ridgeway's victims were discovered. Overall, the Green River Killer was responsible for approximately forty-eight murders, all of which consisted of women whom he considered "evil".
7. Bitter Harvest. 1997
Bitter Harvest describes the life of Dr. Debora Green, her volatile marriage to her second husband, and the murders and attempted murders of her children and husband, respectively. Debora took a solemn oath in medical school to save lives, but she neglected to do so after committing filicide. This is another book of Rule's that tend to tug at your heartstrings.
6. The Want-Ad Killer. 1983
The Want-Ad Killer was originally written by Rule under her pen name "Andy Stack" and tells the true story of Harvey Louis Carignan, a man who terrorized and committed heinous crimes against women beginning in 1949. This book contains chilling testimony from women who escaped this vicious killer with their lives and details from the officers who put the Want-Ad Killer behind bars.
5. If You Really Loved Me. 1992
If You Really Loved Me delves into the life of computer whiz David Brown, and his wife Linda Marie Brown, who was murdered in the couple's home on March 19, 1985. Brown plotted the murder of his wife with the help of his daughter and Lisa's sister, with whom he was having an affair. Rule's intricate writing regarding this case leaves readers with the need to reevaluate those closest to them "because you just never know".
4. The I-5 Killer. 1984
Crimes committed by the I-5 Killer, also known as Randall Woodfield, are etched in the minds of those who reside on the American East Coast, but how many people actually went beyond standard news reports to obtain additional details about this deranged killer? Rule's book, The I-5 Killer, Woodfield's early life, NFL career, and insatiable violent sexual appetite that led him to murder at least 44 victims between 1980 and 1981.
3. Everything She Ever Wanted. 1992
Everything She Ever Wanted is one of Rule's most..."interesting" books up-to-date. The word interesting is appropriate because this book tells the story of southern belle Pat Taylor, who was indeed a sociopath under her charm and delicate disposition. If you're looking for a story that contains poison, arson, murder, and even attempted murder, then this is the book for you.
2. You Belong To Me. 1994
You Belong To Me tells the story of former Florida Highway patrolman Tim Harris, who rejected his sworn oath to serve and protect others by murdering Lorraine Hendricks in 1995. Rule provided details of how Harris stalked his own wife, as well as other unusual activities that translate into classic psychological profiling.
1. A Rage To Kill. 1999
The last book on our list is A Rage To Kill, which is volume six of Rule's Crime Files Collection. Rule's Crime Files are books that contain several shocking true crime stories, all conveniently grouped under one cover.
Although Rule is no longer with us, her legacy and talent live on through her captivating form of writing, as well as her ability to derive a range of emotions from readers.