Ann Rule, a true crime icon

Lazy people tend not to take chances, but express themselves by tearing down other’s work.

~ Ann Rule

1931 – 2015

Ann Rule first introduced me to the term “serial killer.” That killer was Ted Bundy. Since she sat beside Ted working at a crisis hotline, Ann found it fascinating that the man she knew as a volunteer could be responsible for the heinous acts of which he’d been accused. There was even a brief time when she thought Ted might be innocent of his crimes. Of course, that didn’t last for long. With firsthand knowledge of Ted’s personality, she decided to write a book about him. With The Stranger Beside Me, Ann turned true crime upside down and never looked back.

No matter her criminal subject, Ann’s writing put her at the top of her game. The way she told a story, the way she held her audience spellbound–including scary details that made chills crawl up the spine–Ann brought her reader to the edge and straight into the front row seat of the crime.

As a former Seattle policewoman, that insight into law enforcement gave her an inroad into the sick minds of an assortment of criminals. Ann was the first to write about the narcissistic sociopath, Diane Downs. In Small Sacrifices, Ann detailed how Diane shot her three children on the night of May 19, 1983 and then drove them to the hospital where Diane calmly claimed she’d been carjacked. By the time Diane got to the emergency room, her daughter, Cheryl had already succumbed to her injuries. The other two were critically wounded. Her son would be paralyzed for life, her surviving daughter would suffer a debilitating stroke. The thing is, Ann Rule took us through how Diane, as a working single mother and who appeared so normal on the outside was actually a true monster on the inside, just waiting to come up with a devious plan to get rid of her children.

Along the way Ann told us about Thomas Capano, the I-5 killer, the Green River killer, just to name a few. Her writing put her in a class all her own. She had no equal in her field. Ann Rule will be missed, not just by the lovers of true crime, but all of us who knew all along that she was the best at what she did.

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