Ann Rule literally wrote the book on true crime. The Monrovia Public Library owns 20 of her bestselling books, all which chronicle real life crimes, their perpetrators and victims. The Washington state native, who died last month, came to her specialty with a degree in creative writing and a police department job. She earned $35 for her first magazine story.
Her debut book came about in a surprising way. While researching some Seattle murders she was volunteering at a suicide prevention center. Crime readers will recognize the name of her volunteer partner—Ted Bundy, a heinous serial murderer and the man responsible for the Seattle murders. Rule hit the jackpot with her book about him, The Stranger Beside Me. One of Rule’s later books was Green River Running Red, about another Seattle multiple murderer.
Ms. Rule’s books are highlighted by excellent research, her understanding of legal issues and forensics and her ability to hook readers with page-turning writing and deft descriptions of personalities. Librarians have heard patrons exclaim “I couldn’t put it down” as they talk about a Rule book and immediately ask for another.
Among her best known books are Small Sacrifices, about a woman who killed her 3 children, Everything She Wanted, about a Georgia beauty who was indulged by family and friends, but who led a life of deceit and crime and The I-5 Killer, about a criminal who cruised the highway looking for new victims.
Gruesome? Yes. But if true crime is your cup of literary tea, ask for Ann Rule.