Ann Rule, Prolific and Bestselling True Crime Writer, Dies at 83

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Ann Rule appears during a 2014 interview. (Credit: KCPQ)

Ann Rule appears during a 2014 interview. (Credit: KCPQ)

Ann Rule, the author of such true-crime books as “The Stranger Beside Me” and “Every Breath You Take,” has died. She was 83.

Rule died Sunday at Highline Medical Center in Seattle, Washington, said Scott Thompson, a spokesman for CHI Franciscan Health. Rule had been in declining health, according to her daughter, writer Leslie Rule.

Rule first earned fame for “The Stranger Beside Me,” a 1980 book about her friendship with serial killer Ted Bundy, whom she met at a counseling hot line. The book was updated several times.

She followed it up with such best-sellers as “Practice to Deceive,” “Dead by Sunset” and “Everything She Ever Wanted.”

Rule seemed born to her job. She was born in Michigan and wrote that her entire family was involved in the local criminal justice system.

“My Grandpa was the sheriff of Montcalm County, Michigan, and he and my grandmother resided in a ‘Mom-and-Pop’ jail where their living quarters, the office, and the cells were all under one roof,” she wrote in an essay for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in 2007. “My grandfather arrested felons, grandma cooked for them, Uncle Elton was the undersheriff, Uncle Carl was the medical examiner, Aunt Millie was a juvenile court worker, and Cousin Bruce grew up to be the prosecuting attorney. I was clearly destined for law enforcement.”

Ann Rule is shown in a photo from her website,

Ann Rule is shown in a photo from her website,

She moved to Seattle for college and fell in love with the city, where she later worked as a police officer (until being done in by poor eyesight) and a social worker.

After becoming a successful writer of true-confessions pieces for magazines, she turned to book writing with “The Stranger Beside Me.”

Bundy, she recalled, was “kind, empathetic, sincere, and always insisted on walking me to my car.” Only her dog distrusted him.

After writing so many true-crime books, Rule said she was worried she would become jaded. But the opposite happened, she told CNN in a 1999 chat.

“I am not a cynic because I find at least three dozen heroes for every bad guy or gal I have to write about,” she said. “The good in humanity always comes out wayyyyy ahead!”



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