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The Stranger Beside Me

The Shocking True Story of Serial Killer Ted Bundy
By: Ann Rule
Narrated by: Lorelei King
Length: 18 hrs and 29 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (68 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Ann Rule was working on the biggest story of her career, tracking the trail of victims left by a brutal serial killer. Little did this future best-selling author know that the savage slayer she was hunting was the young man she counted among her closest friends.

Everyone's picture of a natural winner, Ted Bundy was a bright, charming, and handsome man with a promising future as an attorney. But on January 24, 1989 Bundy was executed for the murders of three young women - and had confessed to taking the lives of at least thirty-five more women from coast to coast. Ann Rule, who kept in constant contact with Bundy throughout the investigation, tells his story as no other person can, capturing the essence of his magnetic power, unholy compulsion, and demonic double life.

Available for the first time on audio, this shocking true story is an unforgettable listening experience. In an emotional reading, Rule tells us about Ted Bundy - the man she thought she really knew...the stranger beside her.

©2008 Ann Rule (P)2012 Simon & Schuster

Critic Reviews

"As dramatic and chilling as a bedroom window shattering at midnight." ( The New York Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Can’t stand the narrator’s tone!!

it’s probably a good read but I just can’t bear the narrator’s sing song tones. Aaarrgh!!! Had to stop in the first chapter.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Narrator ruins an amazing story

Struggled to finish because the narrator sounds like she's half asleep and bored. Really disappointing for such an incredible story.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Apparently an Ann Rule “classic”

So, as any good #Murderino would, I jumped in, and “read” it in nearly one session.

And shocking, *for* a #Murderino , (I know), but I always stayed away from “Famous Ted”

So, without knowing anything about Bundy’s victims, (which Ann Rule, does their memories the honour of treating them with dignity… {sidebar- She doesn’t give *everyone* a name, or background and family, hopes and dreams - This could’ve been unknown victims, or lack of info; However this probably could have been updated, as this is an *original*, and hasn’t had a [*VERY MUCH NEEDED* #OutdatedLanguageWarning ] Re-write since 1989})!!! Hey, #AUDIBLE 👋🏻, I’m looking right at you, there, mate… That’d be your job. Modernise the language, and get in a #HalfDecentNarrator ; You’re Welcome.
As for the book itself, with Ms Rule being an ex police officer, who at the time wrote crime articles, and then worked on her first TrueCrime novel… It took her 44 Chapters to understand that Ted Bundy was a #SadisticMoFo ! I mean, he’d already been arrested, at least once, if not twice, gone to court, and escaped custody- & she *still* had niggling doubts about his guilt?! I mean, there’s being generous, there’s being #Generous , and there’s being *GENEROUS* !

The sick fcker beat, strangled, raped, and mutilated literally *countless* women and girls using subterfuge to lure them to him. The youngest child he did this to was just 12. *TWELVE* !
And *he* most likely started killing at 15!
But, Ann Rule prattles away for chapter, after chapter, about how hot he was, and how clever; Oh and BTW, he was studying #Law! 🤦🏻‍♀️
And well by the time the murders and disappearances are happening, Ms Rule has been commissioned to write a TrueCrime™️ novel about them. Oh, and the police have eyewitnesses, who say the guy’s name is Ted, he drives a VW Beetle; yup… & the photo-fit looks quite a bit like Ann’s friend, Ted Bundy, who she’s working with at a Crisis Help Call Centre in the mid 70’s.
She umm’s & ahh’s and just so she won’t have a #GuiltyConscience , she rings in a #CRIMESTOPPERS tip to the cops & everyone forgets about it… Ted Bundy is caught (not unlike the Yorkshire Ripper) on a #TrafficStop in a car, containing a “kill kit”.
I won’t ruin the rest of it, but the point is… She wrote to him, sent him money, watched his trials, and not until *VERY FKN LATE IN THE GAME* did she consider that he *may just be guilty* 🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️

So, from that perspective, the majority of the book comes across very #sympathetically towards Bundy… which, after finishing, I don’t think Rule meant… but 44 Chapters!

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Good book, odd narration

The voices the narrator put on when qhptimg other people were sometimes a bit cringe, with the ones for females always sounding dumb and ditzy.

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  • Malia
  • 24-08-2012

Another Good One from Ann Rule

This is my 3rd Ann Rule book, 1st being Dead By Sunset, and 2nd: Green River, Running Red. I say this one was "good". It's clear, like other reviewers have said, that this was her first book, but the relationship between her and Ted make for a more interesting story than had she not known the main character of what was to be her first book. I didn't find her vacillating feelings for Ted annoying, like some other reviewers did, nor did I think she exaggerated the extent of her relationship with Ted. I think it was all pretty appropriate.
There is definitely something lacking with this story, which I can't put my finger on, but I'd recommend it to an Ann Rule fan or someone looking to learn more about Ted Bundy and his crimes.

36 of 38 people found this review helpful

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  • Big jim Picotto
  • 16-04-2015

Brutal story, great storytelling

I had no idea that Ann Rule knew Ted Bundy. I found that she came awfully close to injecting herself a little too much into the story. But she backed away enough to tell a very entertaining but frightening tale of this monster. It is a shame she didn't get a chance to interview him prior to his execution, but a good tale nonetheless. Worth the credit.

32 of 36 people found this review helpful

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  • BVerité
  • 22-10-2013

Wow!! A really amazing book!

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. That's putting it mildly. I was entranced by it! I like true crime books, but I stay away from subjects that are too gruesome and scary, like the murders of Ted Bundy.
I worried this book would give me nightmares. However, Ann Rule does not fill her book with gory details. Instead Ann tells the shocking and fascinating story of life in the years of his murders and trials, and of her relationship and correspondence with him. The book is updated to reflect all the changes in his legal situation.

There is a lot of heart in this book. Ann Rule writes it with such compassion and true emotion. It's incredibly well written!! I can't say that enough. Instead of coming away with nightmares, I was able to view the horror and tragedy of Ted Bundy from an unusual and fascinating perspective. Rule stays away from the sensationalism that you might expect from a "serial killer" expose. She has written an unbelievably compelling story. It was really interesting to read (hear) her shifting of thoughts and emotions regarding Bundy and his crimes, as she battled with the realization that he may have used her just like he used the other women in his life. Oh it is just a really good book.

I highly recommend this. It is a book that will stay in my thoughts for a long time to come. And I will continue to read Ann Rule. This isn't my first if her books, but I think this is her best that I've read so far!!

Great Narration.

33 of 38 people found this review helpful

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  • Peggy
  • 02-12-2013

Creepy

The author tricked me into believing that Ted Bundy was a handsome, clever, ordinary guy--just as he tricked her. If we believe Ann Rule, it was long after capture and late in the judicial process that she saw the truth about the guy she had once worked with. And that's what makes the whole thing really creepy.

24 of 28 people found this review helpful

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  • S. Johnson
  • 24-06-2014

Interesting and Real

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

YES YES YES. If the topic interests you this is a first hand experience written by someone who know Ted Bundy. Well written and should I add written with the neutrality of a professional. great book

What other book might you compare The Stranger Beside Me to and why?

none

What does Lorelei King bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

She was easy to listen to and presented the story perfectly with the right innuendos

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

definitely

Any additional comments?

get it you won't regret

18 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • FMF Corpsman
  • 26-07-2013

Factual Account

Rule produced the best of the Ted Bundy books. She was the one of those who, initially, thought that there had been a ghastly mistake. It was fascinating to watch as she came to the realization that the trusted companion, from a crisis center, was a monster. Rule held her emotions in check, when It must have made her skin crawl to remember her experiences. This book was the making of her career. It is the First but not the Last word on the Bundy Case. It does whet the appetite to read more.

22 of 26 people found this review helpful

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  • Theresa
  • 06-07-2013

Troubling account of a psychopath

Any additional comments?

I bought this book because it was mentioned several times in the book "Without a Conscience" by Robert D. Hare. While I found the story of Ted Bundy interesting, the effect he had on Ann Rule was as chilling as his murders.
Hour after hour I listened to the book waiting for the realization that Ann would finally come to about what a monster Ted Bundy was, but it never came.
Ann Rule, calmly and with almost the same callousness that Ted Bundy displayed in his life, reports on his murders and yet, she Ann, still talks about him as if her were a favored lover.
I can certainly understand protecting and supporting your friend until it is proven he is a monster, but at some point common decency should make you cringe in horror with the rest of the population at these atrocities.
This book makes the point of Dr Hare's book even more evident. When you deal with a psychopathic personality you can be taken in to the point of no return. The Stranger Beside Me" is the embodiment of that.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • aaron
  • 27-03-2012

More Like a Police Report than a Vibrant Story!

This book is unique in the sense that the author was actually close friends with Bundy, and you can feel the need she has to defend him permeating the pages. She presents the details of his killings in a cold, detached way that comes across as somewhat boring. She manages to convey the sense of how each murder/victim was different, but she does it in a way that feels like you're reading some kid's book report. It's just not that colorful.

I like some of Rule's other books, but this one doesn't do Bundy justice. For a criminal as charismatic and manipulative as he was, his story deserved to be told with more excitement and horror. In fairness to Rule, this was her first successful book, so I'm sure she's been improving as a writer with each subsequent book.

The 3 hour epilogue is helpful, in that it brings us up to the point that Bundy is finally executed... I doubt that's a spoiler for anyone. If it is, sorry.

The narrator was great. I've read reviews of the abridged version that says that narrator was horrible. This one is spot on.

Overall, if you're interested in Bundy, this is the book for you, NOT the abridged version. You'll certainly have a clear understanding of just how monstrous this man actually was.

35 of 44 people found this review helpful

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  • farmhouselady
  • 04-12-2012

The true-crime Master has done it again.

Any additional comments?

Ann Rule sets the standard for true-crime books. I have yet to discover another author that comes close. If it is by Ann Rule, you know you are getting the very best, and you will be sucked in and taken away into another universe.

She does meticulous research the reader benefits from, and she adds a depth to the telling of the facts that comes from very deep understanding of her topic. Over decades of focusing on true crime, she has perfected the art of telling these stories like no one ever has.

This work is unique in that Ann actually knew the serial killer personally, had worked with him and maintained ties of friendship with him even after his trouble with the law began. So she had more than a bird's eye view, more than police records and media articles. That aspect - her own emotional involvement - adds another layer of interest but does not get in the way of her strict discipline in relating the facts and unfolding the story, to her credit.

There's no way you can go wrong with this book. Treat yourself.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • 9S
  • 10-05-2012

Good but with reservations

Unfortunately, Ann Rule stumbles with The Stranger Beside Me, by claiming to be an intimate friend of Ted Bundy. She transforms the short, erratic time she worked with the man into a close relationship. Yet, despite herculean efforts, nothing more than a casual acquaintanceship is described. Also, Rule frequently repeats that she was highly regarded by law enforcement agencies, thus attempting to validate her own self-importance. Furthermore, Rule is enamored with Bundy, often mentioning how sophisticated and gentlemanly he was. Eventually listeners will tire of the lavish praise heaped on one of histories most prolific killers.

However, interspersed with the leaps of fantasy are outstanding snippets of the gruesome horrors perpetrated by Ted Bundy. Of course, Rule does a superb job of describing his descent into murderous madness. To begin with, we see an intelligent, polite young man. But, gradually a portrait emerges of a monster. In addition, the notorious killer was suspected of abducting and killing eight year old Ann Marie Burr, in 1961. She is thought to have been Bundy's first victim, with the murder being perpetrated when he was only 14. Lorelei King delivers an effortless performance as she recounts Bundy's childhood, the murders he committed, his capture, imprisonment and trial. All things considered, it would be remiss to imply that this is less than an engaging account of the infamous serial killer.

37 of 48 people found this review helpful

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  • Petra
  • 25-06-2019

LOVED IT !!

Brilliant book! Very interesting story, well told, excellent narration. Without doubt THE BEST real crime book I have ever read/listened to.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Matt
  • 06-05-2019

This book (Ann) Rules

My third Ann Rule book listened to through audible! Lorelei King’s delivery and pacing is great and Ann Rule has a perfect writing method that translates to audio!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Louise M
  • 01-05-2019

Interesting and shocking in parts.

Weĺl narrated. A horrifying incite into the mind and life of this serial killer who terrified and murdered women over decades.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Anne
  • 18-04-2019

Good listen

Read the book and have been awaiting it's release as an audio book...which I have enjoyed...if that's the right word!...more, Bundy was evil itself but Ann Rule manages to let us see the other side to him, I believe she has now died but what a legacy she leaves us , a powerful insight into the mind of Bundy.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • steviecuddles
  • 06-12-2019

Fantastic listen

Buy this audio book it’s really compelling listening I loved the narration as well, brilliant.

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  • Sarah
  • 23-11-2019

Captivating

Beautifully Narrated, methodical, orderly. interesting and informative. highly recommended read, will be reading more of this Authors books

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  • Anonymous User
  • 29-10-2019

Fascinating but chilling read

Lorelei King reads this book so well. Its a fascinating read, though obviously not a comfortable one. The writers growing conflicted feelings towards a man who was once a good friend is very interesting and I felt quite ambiguous, and maybe too easy to be judgemental about . A chilling account of the outwardly charming and personable serial killer.

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  • Sarah Fallon
  • 22-10-2019

An eye opener

A real eye opener to the evil that was Ted Bundy. Well written and narrated

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  • Angela Platt
  • 03-09-2019

Spine tingling

Excellently written and narrated. In depth truth about the horrors Bundy carried out and fear he spread.

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  • Kelly Turner
  • 12-08-2019

Brilliant Book!!

I read the book over 20 years ago and so wanted to have a listen. It is still as interesting an gripping as I was when it was first written. If you're a fan of true crime this won't disappoint!