It’s a chilling reality that homicide investigators know all too well: the last face most murder victims see is not that of a stranger, but of someone familiar. Whether only an acquaintance or a trusted intimate, such killers share a common trait that triggers the downward spiral toward death for someone close to them: they are masters at hiding who they really are. Their clever masks let them appear safe, kind, and truthful. They are anything but — and almost no one can detect the murderous impulses buried deep in their psyches. These doomed relationships are the focus of Ann Rule’s sixteenth 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. In July 2011, a billionaire’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 one other riveting case, Ann Rule exposes the twisted truth behind the façades of Fatal Friends, Deadly Neighbors.
Ann Rae Stackhouse was born in Lowell, MI in 1931. Her mother taught school, specializing in developmentally disabled children, and her father was a coach. Ann was in law enforcement in her young adult years, as was many in her family. She received various degrees from different colleges and universities, including studying creative writing, criminology, and psychology at University of Washington.
Ann's marriage, and eventual divorce changed her last name to Rule, which she keeps as her author name. Her extensive education and experience as a police woman gave her the perfect credentials to become regarded by many as the foremost true crime writer in America, setting the standards for the genre. For example, while she was volunteering at a suicide hotline center in Seattle in 1971, she met a work study student by the name of Ted Bundy, not realizing until a few years later that it was the same Bundy responsible for a series of murders. To her, he was kind, solicitous, and empathetic. She wrote her first book about him, considered one of the definitive biographies of Bundy.......The Stranger Beside Me (written under her own name, rather than the previously used pen name).
Rule has been a full-time crime writer since 1969, and has published 33 books and 1400 articles, mostly on criminal cases.
Today, she teaches seminars to law enforcement groups, a certified instructor in many subjects such as: Serial Murder, Sadistic Sociopaths, Women Who Kill, and High Profile Offenders. She has consulted with the FBI at their headquarters in Quantico, VA tracking a system to help identify and trap serial killers. She testimonies twice before the Senate Judiciary Sub-committee on victim's rights and the danger of serial killers.
Simon and Schuster currently have Rule under contract. Eight of her books have been made into TV movies, and more are in the works. Ann is in active support groups for victims of violent crimes and their families, in programs to help battered and abused women, and support group.
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