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About Ann Rule
Ann Rule is regarded by many as the foremost true crime writer in America, and the author responsible for the genre as it exists today. She came to her career with a solid background in law enforcement and the criminal justice system.
As a child, Ann spent her summer vacations with her grandparents in Stanton, Michigan, helping her grandmother prepare meals for the prisoners in the jail. She wondered why such friendly, normal appearing, men were locked behind bars, and why the sweet woman in the cell upstairs (who taught Ann to crochet) was about to go on trial for murder. That was the beginning of her lifelong curiosity about the "Whys" behind criminal behavior.
Following in the footsteps of her grandfather, a sheriff in Michigan, Ann joined the Seattle Police Department when she was 21, worked a year and a half, but couldn’t pass the eye test. After five years of rejection slips, she finally sold her first article for $35! Soon, she found her niche when she began writing for fact-detective magazines like TRUE DETECTIVE.
Ann was a full-time true crime writer from 1969 - 2015. Over the past 30 years, she has published 33 books and 1400 articles, mostly on criminal cases. Ann has a BA from the University of Washington in Creative Writing, with minors in Psychology, Criminology and Penology. She has completed courses in Crime Scene Investigation, Police Administration, Crime Scene Photography and Arrest, Search, and Seizure, earning her an Associates Degree from Highline Community College.
Ann not only attended several police seminars on organized crime, arson, bomb search, and DNA, but taught her own seminars to law enforcement groups, and was a certified instructor in many states on subjects such as: Serial Murder, Sadistic Sociopaths, Women Who Kill, and High Profile Offenders. She was a member of the U.S. Justice Department Task Force that set up the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (VI-CAP), and testified twice before Senate Judiciary Sub-committees on victims' rights and on the danger of serial killers.
Ann's books deal with three areas: the victims' stories; the detectives and prosecutors and how they solve their cases with old fashioned police work and modern forensic science; and the killers’ lives. Ann spent months researching for her books, investigating the killers' early childhood, and even back into their family histories to find some of the genesis of their behavior.
Eight of Ann's books have been made into TV movies, and five more are in the works. She won the coveted Peabody Award for the miniseries based on her book,Small Sacrifices, and has two Anthony Awards from Bouchercon, the mystery fans' organization. She has been nominated three times for Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America. She was also awarded the Washington State Governor's Award. Ann is active in support groups for victims of violent crimes and their families, in programs to help battered and abused women, and support groups for children caught in traumatic living situations.
Ann Rule passed away in July of 2015.
From Ann Rule:
“My first book, THE STRANGER BESIDE ME, was about Ted Bundy, but, amazingly, I had the book contract to write about an unknown killer six months before Bundy was identified as the "Ted Killer." And I had known him all along, and didn't realize it; he was my partner in the all-night shift at Seattle's Crisis Clinic!”
“To choose a book subject, I weed through about 3,000 suggestions from readers. I'm looking for an "anti-hero" whose eventual arrest shocks those who knew him (or her): attractive, brilliant, charming, popular, wealthy, talented, and much admired in their communities--but really hiding behind masks.”
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In July 2011, billionaire Jonah Shacknai’s Coronado, California, mansion was the setting for two horrifying deaths only days apart—his young son’s plunge from a balcony and his girlfriend’s ghastly hanging. What really happened? Baffling questions remain unanswered, as these cases were closed far too soon for hundreds of people; Rule looks at them now through the eyes of a relentless crime reporter. The second probe began in Utah when Susan Powell vanished in a 2009 blizzard. Her controlling husband, Josh, proved capable of a blind rage that was heartbreakingly fatal to his innocent small sons almost three years later in a tragedy that shocked America as the details unfolded. If anyone had detected the depth of depravity within Josh Powell, perhaps the family that loved and trusted him would have been saved. In these and seven other riveting cases, Ann Rule exposes the twisted truth behind the façades of Fatal Friends, Deadly Neighbors.
These doomed relationships are the focus of queen of true crime Ann Rule’s sixteenth all-new Crime Files collection. In these shattering inside views of both headlined and little-known homicides, Rule speaks for vulnerable victims who relied on the wrong people. She begins with two startling novella-length investigations.
“If anything ever happens to me…find Ann Rule and ask her to write my story.”
In perhaps the first true-crime book written at the victim's request, Ann Rule untangles a web of lies and brutality that culminated in the murder of Sheila Blackthorne Bellush—a woman Rule never met, but whose shocking story she now chronicles with compassion, exacting detail, and unvarnished candor.
Although happily ensconced in a loving second marriage, and a new family of quadruplets, Sheila never truly escaped the vicious enslavement of her ex-husband, multi-millionaire Allen Blackthorne, a handsome charmer— and a violent, controlling sociopath who subjected Sheila to unthinkable abuse in their marriage, and terrorized her for a decade after their divorce. When Sheila was slain in her home, in the presence of her four toddlers, authorities raced to link the crime to Blackthorne, the man who vowed to monitor Sheila's every move in his obsessive quest for power and revenge.
In this gripping collection of investigative accounts from her private archives, “America’s best true-crime writer” (Kirkus Reviews) exposes the most frightening aspect of the murderous mind: the waiting game. Trusted family members or strangers, these cold-blooded killers select their unsuspecting prey, wait for the perfect moment to strike, then turn normality into homicidal mayhem in a matter of moments. Ann Rule will have you seeing the people and places around you with heightened caution as you read these shattering cases, including:
• New mothers murdered, their infants kidnapped, in an atrocious baby-selling scheme
• The man who kept his criminal past hidden from his wife—and his wife from his mistress—until he coldly disposed of one of them
• The beautiful daughter of a State Department official ran away from the privileged world she knew and hitched a ride with a man she didn’t . . . with fatal consequences
• For months, a vicious, rage-filled serial rapist eluded police and terrorized Seattle’s women—when would he strike next, and how far would his violence escalate?
• A criminal known for his Houdini-like escapes is serving time for murder in a botched robbery—now the convict is being served dinner in a civilian’s home, where he has one more trick up his sleeve
• A long-lost relative who came home to visit, leaving a bloody trail through Washington and Oregon; no one realized how dangerous he and his ladylove were—until it was far too late. . . .
With her ability to translate the most complex cases into storytelling “as dramatic and chilling as a bedroom window shattering at night” (The New York Times), Rule expertly analyzes the thoughts and deeds of the
sociopath, in this seventeenth essential Crime Files volume.
For twenty-one years, the killer carried out his self-described "career" as a killing machine, ridding the world of women he considered evil. His eerie ability to lure his victims to their deaths and hide their bodies made him far more dangerous than any infamous multiple murderer in the annals of crime.
A few men -- including a law student, a truck painter, and a taxi driver -- eventually emerged as the prime suspects among an unprecedented forty thousand scrutinized by the Green River Task Force. Still, there was no physical evidence linking any of them to the murders until 2001, when investigators used a new DNA process on a saliva sample they had preserved since 1987, with stunning results.
Ann Rule has followed the case since July 1982, when the first body -- that of teenager Wendy Lee Coffield -- was found in the Green River, snagged on pilings under a bridge. Rule has compiled voluminous files, working through an incredible 95,000 pages of official police records, transcripts, photographs, and maps, winnowing out the chaff and identifying what is truly important. Over the years, she gained unparalleled access to all the key players -- from King County Sheriff Dave Reichert to those close to the killer and his victims.
When finally apprehended and convicted, the killer made a detailed confession -- of his twisted sexual obsessions -- that will shock even the most jaded reader. Green River, Running Red is a harrowing account of a modern monster, a killer who walked among us undetected. It is also the story of his quarry -- of who these young girls were, and who they might have become. A chilling look at the darkest side of human nature, this is the most important and most personal book of Ann Rule's long career.
David Brown, a self-made millionaire by the age of thirty-two, had a seemingly perfect life: a lucrative business, a beautiful young wife and a daughter who loved him very much. His life changed drastically after his wife was shot to death while she slept in their home and his then fourteen-year old daughter Cinnamon confessed to the cold-blooded murder. She was sentenced to twenty-four years to life for the crime. It wasn’t until two lawyers started digging into the complex investigation shortly before Cinnamon was convicted that the true nature of David Brown was revealed and startling new evidence that showed his twisted and perverse personal life was brought to the case. Was David Brown the bland, desolate widower he seemed to be? Or did he use manipulative tactics against the women who loved and feared him?
"A story of crime and punishment...bizarre enough to rivet anyone's attention."
— The New York Times Book Review
"Bone chilling. A truly staggering case."
— The Washington Post”
“Rule, who scored a great success with Small Sacrifices, has triumphed again with this story of a millionaire computer expert seen as archetypal sociopath….. In this vivid account, a monster to whom every other human being was a "throwaway person'' is masterfully portrayed.” - Publisher's Weekly
“Best-selling true crime author Rule ( Small Sacrifices , NAL, 1987) tells the story of computer businessman David Brown, a "complete sociopath'' who manipulated his 14-year-old daughter, Cinnamon, into murdering his 23-year-old wife in Orange County, California in 1985….This lengthy account is generally engrossing, and it is recommended for public libraries.-- Gregor A. Preston, Univ. of California Lib., Davis” - Library Journal
Randall Woodfield had it all. He was an award-winning student and star athlete. He was drafted by the Green Bay Packers to play in the NFL, and chosen by Playgirl as a centerfold candidate. Working in the swinging West Coast bar scene, he had his pick of willing sexual prospects.
But Randall Woodfield wanted more than just sex. An appetite for unspeakable violent acts led him to cruise the I-5 highway through California, Oregon, and Washington, leaving a trail of victims along the way. As the list of his victims grew to a total of at least 44, the police faced the awesome challenge of catching and convicting a suspect who seemed too handsome and appealing to have committed such ugly crimes—crimes that filled every woman within his striking range with feat and horror....
“The most fascinating killer in modern American history...Ann Rule has an extraordinary angle that makes The Stranger Beside Me as dramatic and chilling as a bedroom window shattering at midnight.” - New York Times
"As dramatic and chilling as a bedroom window shattering at midnight." — The New York Times” - From the Publisher
“A shattering story...carefully investigated, written with compassion but also with professional objectivity.” - Seattle Times
“Overwhelming.” - Houston Post
In this harrowing New York Times bestseller, Ann Rule is at her masterful best as she winnows horrific truths from the ashes of what seemed like paradise in Prairie Village, Kansas. Rule probes the case of Debora Green, a doctor and a loving mother who seemed to epitomize the dreams of the American heartland. A small-town girl with a genius IQ, she achieved an enviable life: her own medical practice, a handsome physician husband, three perfect children, and an opulent home in an exclusive Kansas City suburb. But when a raging fire destroyed that home and took two lives, the trail of clues led investigators to a stunning conclusion. Piece by piece, Ann Rule digs beneath this placid Midwestern facade to unveil a disturbing portrait of strangely troubled marriages, infidelity, desperation, suicide, and escalating acts of revenge that forever changed dozens of lives.
Whether driven to extreme violence by greed or jealousy, passion or rage, the calculating sociopaths in this true crime collection targeted those closest to them—unwitting victims whose last disbelieving words could well have been “but I trusted you....”
Headlining this page-turning anthology is the case of middle-school counselor Chuck Leonard, found shot to death outside his Washington State home on an icy February morning. A complicated mix of family man and wild man, Chuck played hard and loved many...but who crossed the line by murdering him in cold blood? And why? The revelation is as stunning as the shattering crime itself, powerfully illuminating how those we think we know can ingeniously hide their destructive and homicidal designs.
Along with other shocking cases, immaculately detailed and sharply analyzed by America’s #1 true crime writer, this fourteenth Crime Files volume is essential reading for getting inside the mind of the hidden killers among us.
To his neighbors, Jerry Brudos was a gentle, quiet man whose mild manner sharply contrasted with his awesome physical strength. To his employers, Jerry was an expert electrician, the kind of skilled worker you just don't find anymore. To his wife, Darcie, Jerry was a good husband, and a loving father to their children, despite his increasingly sexual demands on her, and his violent insistence that she never venture into his garage workroom and the giant food freezer there.
To the Oregon police, Jerry Brudos was the most hideously twisted killer they had ever unmasked. And they brought to light what he had done to four young women—and perhaps many more—in the nightmare darkness of his sexual hunger and rage. First, Jerry Brudos was brought to trial...and then, in a shattering aftermath, his wife was accused as well...
Torn from the headlines, here is the case that shocked a nation: the Seattle city bus ride that turned to mayhem and murder at the hands of a gunman. Ann Rule unmasks the forces that drove quiet, clean-cut Silas Cool to shoot the driver, causing the bus to plunge off the Aurora Bridge into an apartment building. The catastrophe left three dead -- including Cool -- and dozens injured. While the scene unfolds as in a terrifying movie, Rule finds very real answers to the haunting question "how could this happen?" -- and expertly constructs the unseen chain of events that resulted in an explosive and shattering tragedy.
Included here are nine other sensational cases that illuminate Rule's unique and authoritative view of the human psyche gone temporarily berserk. No one can match Rule's meticulous research, or reveal the motives to murder in such explicit and chilling detail. You may think you know who is safe and who is dangerous; in A Rage to Kill, Ann Rule frighteningly shows that none of us are truly protected from the flashes of irrational violence that can erupt from the killers among us.
In this unnerving collection drawn from her personal crime files, "America's best true-crime writer" (Kirkus Reviews) Ann Rule brilliantly dissects the convoluted love affairs that all too often end in violence.
Expertly analyzing a shocking, headline-making case, Rule unmasks the deadly motives inside a seemingly idyllic marriage: a beautiful young wife, a rising star in America's top-ranked computer corporation, and a prosperous husband, the scion of a family building business. With an adorable son and a gorgeous home, the couple seemed to have it all. But a furtive evil permeated their days and nights, dragging them into a murky world of drugs, sordid sex, and con operations. In this realm, one of them would prove to be a virtual innocent, the other a manipulator with no conscience. Sudden, violent death brought their charade of a fairy-tale romance to a tragic end -- with a brutal crime that might never have come to light were it not for the stubborn detectives and prosecutors whose fight for justice spanned an entire decade.
Empty Promises recounts several other cases where the search for love brought only lies and betrayal -- a cautionary primer, perhaps, for those who trust too much too soon. Powerful because they strike so close to home, the cases in Empty Promises will leave readers shaken by the realities of love gone terribly -- and fatally -- wrong.