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1-Page Summary of The Stranger Beside Me
The Stranger Beside Me is a book about the infamous serial killer, Ted Bundy. The author, Ann Rule, was working at a crisis center when she met Bundy. She became friends with him and did not believe he could be capable of murder because their friendship was so normal. Over time, as she got to know him better, she realized that something was off and began to suspect that he might be responsible for some unsolved murders in her area.
Rule begins her book by describing how she got into the field of investigation. She decided to become a homicide documentation professional because she needed money after getting divorced, and it was one of the few jobs that would pay her for part-time work. Rule also volunteered at a crisis center during this time, which helped break up the monotony of recording case details.
Rule’s career as an investigator began when she started working in Seattle with police officers who were investigating homicides.
At the Crisis Clinic, Ann Rule met Ted Bundy. He was a young man who had just graduated from college and was going to law school. They became friends quickly because he seemed like such an intelligent person. However, she found out that he committed horrible crimes including murder after they started volunteering together at the crisis clinic. She thinks that if they hadn’t worked at the same place then this probably wouldn’t have happened because their lives didn’t really overlap outside of work before meeting each other there.
During the time that Bundy and Rule worked together, a string of murders occurred in Seattle. Rule documented these crimes, which were particularly brutal. The murderer’s identity was unknown until she noticed that his profile matched Bundy’s almost exactly. She then informed her colleagues at the police department about this possibility, but they didn’t believe her because he seemed like such a nice guy to them.
After Bundy was informed of his crimes, he seemed to disappear. However, the murders in Colorado and Utah stopped completely. He moved to Utah without Rule’s knowledge and committed more petty crimes there. Later on, he escaped from jail twice and attempted or committed four murders at the University of Florida with a long list of petty crimes in between.
Ted Bundy was the last person to be executed in the state of Florida. He confessed to murdering at least thirty people, but it’s believed that he murdered many more. Rule wrote about how she had no idea that her coworker and friend was a serial killer until after his arrest. The Stranger Beside Me is both ironic and terrifying because you never know who your friends are or what they’re capable of doing.