May 20, 2024

Which Ann Rule Book
to Read Next

Ann Rule’s most famous book was her shocking debut, The Stranger Beside Me, which kickstarted her writing career. However, Rule completed 35 true crime books and one crime novel in total, before her death in 2015.

Within the crowded market of popular true crime, Rule still remains its most authoritative voice and continues to be lauded as a titan of the craft. So if you’re wondering which Ann Rule book you should read next, we’ve compiled our top 10 unmissable Rule books below, to help you decide.

1. The Stranger Beside Me (1980)

A compelling firsthand account of not just Ann Rule’s relationship with Ted Bundy, but also his life—from his complicated childhood to the media circus of his trials. Astonishing in its intimacy and with Rule’s clear-eyed prose, you can’t help but share in her growing horror at discovering that her friend was one of the most notorious American serial killers. An unforgettable and haunting work of research, journalism, and personal memories.

2. The Want-Ad Killer (1983)

After committing his first grisly crime, Harvey Louis Carignan beat a death sentence and continued to manipulate, rape, and bludgeon women to death, using want ads to lure his young female victims. And time after time, justice was thwarted by a killer whose twisted legal genius was matched only by his sick savagery. Complete with the testimony of the officers who put him behind bars and the women who barely escaped with their lives, The Want-Ad Killer is one of the most shattering and thought-provoking true-crime stories of our time.

3. The I-5 Killer (1984)

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 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…

4. Small Sacrifices (1987)

“Somebody just shot my kids!” Diane Downs brought her car to a halt in front of a Springfield, Oregon, hospital, her three gravely wounded children beside her. Thus begins the tale of a truly unthinkable crime that shattered the tranquility of a tight-knit community. A shocking and powerful account of the destructive forces that drove a beautiful young mother to shoot her three young children in cold blood. 

5. If You Really Loved Me (1991)

32-year-old David Brown seemed to have it all. A computer genius with a million-dollar business, married for the fifth time – most recently to a 23-year-old beauty, Linda, the mother of his new-born baby – he was the living embodiment of a rich playboy. But the signs of a dark underside were already emerging – especially in Brown’s penchant for divorcing his young wives as soon as they matured to full womanhood. The darkness came into full, violent bloom the night Linda was found shot to death in her own bed. Shockingly, Brown’s 14-year-old stepdaughter Cinnamon confessed, earning a prison sentence for the murder in a case that rocked the community. But even after the verdict was in, officials suspected that all the facts were yet to be revealed. What their further investigations uncovered was a trail of lechery, deceit and betrayal – a trail that began and ended with David Brown.

6. A Rose for Her Grave (1993)

A Rose for Her Grave delves into the heinous crimes of the monster Randy Roth; a man who seduced and manipulated vulnerable women into marrying him and opening up a large life insurance policy… all for him to collect when they conveniently met their untimely end. Rule exposes the heartbreaking facts of the investigation into his crimes, his last three wives and the tortured children left behind.

7. A Fever in the Heart (1996)

A Fever in the Heart explores an explosive love triangle that spirals out of control, leading to obsession and murder in a small town in the northwest of America. Ann Rule reveals the story of an alluring wife and the two men desperate for her love—a story with a bizarre and deadly twist that no one could have suspected.

8. Bitter Harvest (1997)

Debora Green, a doctor and mother in a picturesque and exclusive Kansas town, seems to have the perfect life with her own medical practice, a handsome physician husband, and three lovely children. It seems like a horribly tragic accident when a raging fire destroys her home and takes two lives. But a trail of clues leads investigators to an unthinkable conclusion. Ann Rule reveals the disturbing secrets—including infidelity, suicide, revenge, and murder—hiding beneath a façade of paradise in the American heartland.

9. Green River, Running Red (2004)

In 1982, the body of Wendy Coffield is discovered floating near the sandy shore of Washington’s Green River. Authorities have no idea that this tragic and violent death is only the beginning of a string of murders that will rock and terrify the Seattle area for two decades. With her signature riveting prose and in-depth research, Ann Rule takes us behind the scenes of the search for the Green River Killer, a terrifying specter who ritualistically killed young women and eluded authorities for years. From seeking the help of incarcerated serial killer Ted Bundy to Ann Rule’s horrifying realization that the killer she was writing about had attended her book signings, Green River, Running Red is suspenseful and unforgettable throughout.

10. Heart Full of Lies (2001)

An idyllic Hawaiian wedding held the promise of a wonderful future for handsome, athletic Chris Northon, an airline pilot, a confirmed bachelor-turned-devoted family man; and Liysa, an acclaimed surf photographer, loving mother, and aspiring Hollywood screenwriter. But few, including Chris, had seen Liysa’s other side — her controlling behavior and dark moods, her insatiable hunger for money and property. And no one anticipated the fatal outcome of a family camping trip in an Oregon forest. Liysa soon revealed herself as a victim of domestic abuse that culminated at the campsite, where she shot Chris in self-defense. But crime scene evidence led detectives to wonder if Liysa was a killer, not a victim. Her controversial trial stunned all who thought they knew her. A lifetime of sociopathic manipulations and lies had been expertly hidden behind her façade of perfection – as was her rage to destroy any obstacle to her ultimate happiness, even if it was the man she vowed to love forever.