Crime Novelist Ann Rule Died at Age 83

Ann Rule
The Seattle Times has confirmed that 83-year-old crime novelist Ann Rule died on Jul. 26, 2015. She was a prolific writer who was fascinated by crime. Rule was a resident of Washington state and her books often focused on crimes in the Northwestern United States. She had published over 35 non-fiction books as well as one fictional novel during her career. The author began as a freelance writer for numerous magazines including True Detective.

The editors of True Detective magazine requested the author use a pseudonym. They were under the impression the readers would not “believe a woman [knew] anything about [the] police.” The pen names she adopted were Andy Stack, Arthur Stone, and Chris Hansen. According to reports, she created these pseudonyms using variations of her family members’ names.

The author also wrote three novels using the Stack pseudonym. These non-fiction novels were Lust Killer, The Want-Ad Killer, and The I-5 Killer. These books were published in 1983. They were written after the book which jump-started her career. She used her own name when writing the book about the serial killer Ted Bundy, The Stranger Beside Me, which was published in 1980.

Bundy worked with Rule as a volunteer at a Seattle suicide hotline. They both worked the late shift in the early 70’s. According to an interview in 2004, she recalled being drawn to Bundy because of his youth. “He reminded her of her younger brother, Don, who had committed suicide ten years earlier.” She and Bundy grew close, sharing personal stories and advice, but they drifted apart after the author left the volunteer position.

Rule also stated she was relieved her relationship with Bundy did not continue. This was especially true since the serial killer confessed to murdering 30 people in several states. He was subsequently executed in 1989.

In addition to the Bundy book, her non-fiction series included novels such as 2004’s Running Red and Green River, which is about the Green River killer named Gary Ridgway. The Green River is located in Kent, Washington. Another novel is about a man in Sarasota, Florida, who “ends up murdering his not unsuspecting wife.” This 2002 novel’s title is Every Breath You Take. The series has a total of 20 books. Her last two books of the series were 2013’s Danger in The Dorm and Practice to Deceive.

There are 17 books in the Ann Rule’s Crime Files series. According to the description of this series on Goodreads website, the series shows the author’s ability to discern and analyze the criminal mind. A Rose For Her, which was published in 1993, was the first book in the series. Ann Rule left many books and novels for her fans prior to the crime novelist’s death at age 83.


Lying in Wait: Ann Rule’s Crime Files Vol. 17 was released in 2013. This book relates three separate stories. There is the story of Jackie Schut, who traveled around the country murdering women who had just given birth. She did this so she could sell their babies. Another story is about a young woman and her boyfriend who shot her parents, siblings, and grandparents during a holiday get-together. The final story is about a mother who refused to give up on finding her daughter’s killer. She finally discovered a suspect who was several states away from the murder site.

Possession, which was released in 1983, is a different type of book from this author. It is classified as a “psychological crime novel.” Rule stepped away from non-fiction with this novel. The Goodreads synopsis states that a young woman gets separated from her husband during a camping trip and she has to rely on help from a stranger, because, “without him, she will surely die.” This stranger has agreed to help her, but his only condition is that she must “trust him…totally.”

Prior to her death, the writer was weak with age and illness. She was confined to a wheelchair and used oxygen 24 hours a day. When Ann Rule passed away at the age of 83, the crime novelist was in the hospital, where she had been for a few days. According to her daughter, she was able to say goodbye to “all of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.”

By Cathy Milne
Edited By Leigh Haugh

The Seattle Times–True Crime Author Ann Rule Dies
THE SEATTLE TIMES MAGAZINE–In Tales of True Crime, Ann Rule Taps Our Need to Know Why
Goodreads–Ann Rule’s Books
Goodreads–Possession by Ann Rule
ORDEROFBOOKS–Order of Ann Rule Books
Amazon–Ann Rule’s Books
Featured Photo Courtesy of Tiffany Von Armin’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inline Photo Courtesy of Cathy Milne

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