Ann Rule, Bestselling True-Crime Author And Advocate For Victims’ Rights, Dies At 83

Ann Rule, the beloved and bestselling author of thirty-five books, including The Stranger Beside Me, and a powerful advocate for victims’ rights died on July 26 in Seattle. She was eighty-three. The cause was heart failure.

Ann Rule was born was born in Lowell, Michigan on October 22, 1931 as Ann Stackhouse. Her mother was a teacher, specializing in developmentally disabled children, and her father was a sports coach, but law enforcement ran in her family: Both her grandfather and one uncle were sheriffs, another uncle was a medical examiner, and one cousin was a prosecutor. During several summers growing up with her grandparents, Ms. Rule did volunteer work in the local jail, helping her grandmother prepare meals for the prisoners.

After graduating from the University of Washington, Ms. Rule went to work for the Seattle Police Department, writing articles on the side for women’s magazines to support her family. After five years of rejection slips, she finally sold her first article for $35. In 1969, she began writing for True Detective magazine, under a male pseudonym, “Andy Stack,” in order to be taken seriously.

In 1980, Ann Rule wrote The Stranger Beside Me, her account of working side by side at a crisis-counseling center with a charming and handsome psychology student, only to later find out that Ted Bundy, her fellow crisis counselor, was secretly a cold-blooded serial killer. The resulting book, the first of her thirty-five bestsellers, was made into a television movie, as were seven of her later works. All of her thirty-five books have been New York Times bestsellers, and all of them are still in print. There are fifty million copies in print of Ann Rule’s book in 16 languages.

At the time she began writing true crime, it was a genre entirely dominated by male writers, from the editors at the true-fact magazines who persuaded her to write under the “Andy Stack” pseudonym to the titans of the genre: Truman Capote, Norman Mailer, Vincent Bugliosi, Joe McGinniss. All of their books focused in different ways on the psychology of the killer. After writing about Ted Bundy, however, Ann Rule decided to take a new tack: She would focus on the heart and soul of the victim, usually female: what made her trust—and sometimes think she loved—someone who wanted to kill her.

“By deciding to focus her books on the victim, Ann Rule reinvented the true-crime genre, and earned the trust of millions of readers who wanted a new and empathetic perspective on the tragic stories at the heart of her works,” said Carolyn Reidy, President and Chief Executive Officer of Simon & Schuster. “She will be remembered not only for her many books, but also for her ongoing and tireless work on behalf of victims’ rights. We are proud to have been her publisher for many years, and we will miss her.”

As an advocate for victims’ rights, Ann has lectured to law-enforcement officers, prosecutors and forensic organizations, including the FBI and the Senate Judiciary Committee. She was also on the U.S. Justice Department Task Force that set up Vi-CAP, the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program, a computer tracking system to help identify and trap serial killers now in place at FBI Headquarters in Quantico.

She is the mother of five children and the grandmother of five.

Books by Ann Rule:
Practice to Deceive
In the Still of the Night
Too Late to Say Goodbye
Green River, Running Red
Every Breath You Take
…And Never Let Her Go
Bitter Harvest
Dead by Sunset
Everything She Ever Wanted
If You Really Loved Me
The Stranger Beside Me
Small Sacrifices
Heart Full of Lies

Ann Rule’s Crime Files:
Vol.17: Lying in Wait
Vol. 16: Fatal Friends, Deadly Neighbors
Vol. 15: Don’t Look Behind You
Vol. 14: But I Trusted You and Other True Cases
Vol. 13: Mortal Danger and Other True Cases
Vol. 12: Smoke, Mirrors, and Murder and Other True Cases
Vol. 11: No Regrets and Other True Cases
Vol. 10: Worth More Dead and Other True Cases
Vol. 9: Kiss Me, Kill Me and Other True Cases
Vol. 8: Last Dance, Last Chance and Other True Cases
Vol. 7: Empty Promises and Other True Cases
Vol. 6: A Rage to Kill and Other True Cases
Vol. 5: The End of the Dream and Other True Cases
Vol. 4: In the Name of Love and Other True Cases
Vol. 3: A Fever in the Heart and Other True Cases
Vol. 2: You Belong to Me and Other True Cases
Vol. 1: A Rose for Her Grave and Other True Cases

Without Pity: Ann Rule’s Most Dangerous Killers
The I-5 Killer
The Want-Ad Killer
Lust Killer

Contact: Jean Anne Rose
Director of Publicity Gallery/Pocket Books

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