Wednesday, October 12, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: The Stranger Beside Me

The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule ~ 5/5


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 the Hardcover edition.

My thoughts:

This book was extremely long. The actual original book starts off as a 400 pager! The edition I read was from the 1990 update. It adds an additional 100 pages. The book was sort of boring at times, reading all the legal mumbo jumbo, but the story itself was intriguing. I never realized so much about such an infamous serial killer. He was truly a split personality or something. I wouldn't read it again because it is so long & took me over 2 weeks to complete, however, anyone who is interested in learning about crime history should read this. Ted Bundy was a mastermind who really truly thought he did nothing wrong and thought he was going to walk away from it all and go on with his life. Very intriguing book!

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