What’s Goin’ On

True Detective

Acclaimed author Ann Rule dies at 83


You think you know people. But you don't.

Ann Rule knew that better than most. She grew up in a law-enforcement family in the 1930s that included a prosecutor, medical examiner, two sheriffs, and grandparents who worked in a county jail in Michigan. Rule says she always wondered why some kids became criminals and others didn't.

But nothing in her background or her natural curiosity set off alarms when she was around the handsome law student who later sat near her at a Seattle crisis center, answering calls to a suicide hotline in the early '70s. They were friends. Close friends.

His name was Ted Bundy, now known as one of the most notorious, prolific serial killers in American history. Rule didn't believe it, when he was first arrested in 1975. But the truth eventually emerged, inspiring her to write the 1980 bestseller about the man she really didn't know at all, "The Stranger Beside Me."

Rule wrote dozens more true-crime books, including a paperback series called "Ann Rule's Crime Files." But Bundy haunted the author for the rest of her life, which ended Sunday when she died of congestive heart failure at 83.

She once told an interviewer she thought writing about Bundy and his long, twisted murder spree would be "very cathartic." It wasn't.

Like so many of Bundy's victims, Rule couldn't get away from the monster in her life. But at least she lived to tell the story.

Tags: books