From the New York Times #1 bestselling author comes a riveting true-crime mystery set on a sleepy island in the Pacific Northwest: a man is murdered and the long list of suspects includes an aging beauty queen and her boyfriend. One wintery night on tiny, quiet Whidbey Island off the coast of Washington, Russ Douglas spent Christmas with his estranged wife, Brenna. She agreed to let him visit his children even though they were headed for divorce. He left Brenna Douglas’s home in Langley on the morning of December 26, 2003 to run some errands. But hours passed and the sun set in the late afternoon; Russ didn’t return home as he’d promised his children he would. Nor did he come back during the night. On the afternoon of December 27, a couple walking down a rural road noticed a vehicle that had apparently backed into the driveway of a cabin. Since many of the places were vacant during the winter, neighbors kept an eye out for strangers. Curious, they walked up the cabin’s driveway to check inside. They saw a man in the front seat, still strapped in his seatbelt, dead from a gunshot wound to the head. They immediately put in a call to the Island County Sheriff’s Office. The dead man was easily identified; it was Russell Douglas. But what came next surprised law enforcement and captured the attention of the entire town when the suspects included an aging beauty queen, her guitar-teacher lover, and Russell’s widow, Brenna. With her trademark aplomb, Ann Rule unravels the fascinating story of a murder, a small town, and a number of potential killers.
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.