Ann Rule became a household name in the true crime genre after her shocking debut, The Stranger Beside Me. Rule’s book on infamous serial killer Ted Bundy was special: She didn’t just thoroughly research the psychopath who murdered upwards of 30 women, Rule already knew him personally as her co-worker at a crisis hotline center. After her first book’s success, the former Seattle police officer went on to write 35 true crime books and one crime fiction novel before her death in 2015.
Though all of Ann Rule’s true crime books are impressive, these 15 can’t be missed. From the story of Ted Bundy that started it all to Small Sacrifices, Rule’s book on Diane Downs—the mother who killed her own children, this author crafts thoroughly researched, compelling reads that are sure to draw you in.
The Stranger Beside Me
The book that started it all details the crimes of serial killer Ted Bundy—a man that Rule worked with. Subsequently, Rule had a hard time believing he was a murderer … at first.
The Want-Ad Killer
Before the Craigslist Killer, there was the Want-Ad Killer. His name was Harvey Louis Carignan, and time after time he manipulated the legal system—allowing him to continue sexual abusing, and even killing, women before he was finally put behind bars for good.
The I-5 Killer
Thought to have killed 44 women, Randall Woodfield cruised the I-5 highway on the West Coast in the early 1980s—sexually assaulting and killing those he encountered along the way.
One of Rule’s most popular books tells the story of Diane Downs—the mother who shot her own children and made it look like a stranger did it, all so she could be with a married man.
If You Really Loved Me
When 14-year-old Cinnamon Brown killed her stepmother, she was sentenced to 24 years to life in prison. But soon after her sentencing, the inner world of her father, millionaire David Brown, was revealed … as was the fact that he asked Cinnamon to kill his wife to prove her love for him.
Everything She Ever Wanted
Unlike most of the subjects of Rule’s books, Pat Allanson has never been convicted of, or even charged with, murder. Rather, the true crime account dives into the mysterious life of social climbing Allanson—who poisoned her husband’s grandparents and is thought to be responsible for the death of his parents, too.
Related: 7 True Crime Books for Ann Rule Fans
Dead by Sunset
When lawyer Cheryl Keeton was found inside her car in 1986, her husband Bradly Morris Cunningham was the prime suspect. And as the investigation into Keeton’s death continued, starting facts about Cunningham—including multiple previous marriages, harassment, and infidelity.
Debora Green seemed to have the perfect life, but when a raging fire destroyed her home and took the lives of two of her children and her husband suddenly fell ill, she became a prime suspect. Rule unravels the secrets and lies of Debora Green in this book.
And Never Let Her Go
Political scandal is at the forefront of this true crime book by Ann Rule, as it covers the infamous case of Thomas Capano, the former Delaware deputy attorney general who was convicted of killing his lover Anne Marie Fahey (whose body was never recovered), the scheduling secretary for Delaware’s governor in the mid-90s.
Heart Full of Lies
Liysa and Chris Northon seemed like they had the perfect relationship. But when Chris wound up dead at a campsite in 2000, and Liysa appeared to have been beaten, the question remained: Was Chris’ death that of self-defense, or cold-blooded murder?
Every Breath You Take
Shelia Blackthorne Bellush hauntingly told her sister to “find Ann Rule” and make sure there’s an investigation if anything were to ever happen her after she divorced her millionaire husband. Unfortunately, the mother of six was murdered in 1997—but her sister kept her promise.
Green River, Running Red
Ann Rule tells the story of the Green River Killer, the man who was convicted of murdering 49 young women over the course of a 21-year killing spree in Washington State.
Too Late to Say Goodbye
The author investigate the death of Jenn Corbin, a wife and mother who was found with a bullet in her head—an apparent suicide. But was it actually murder? And is there a connection between Corbin’s death and the apparent suicide of Dorothy Hearn, someone Jenn’s husband had once dated?
In the Still of the Night
Ann Rule investigates the mysterious circumstances of Ronda Reynolds’ death. About to be divorced from her second husband, Reynolds was found just before Christmas 1998 after her husband called 911 and that his wife had committed suicide. But a postmortem was never conducted, and over the next 11 years the coroner would change the cause of death from “undetermined” to “suicide” and back again.
Practice to Deceive
When Russel Douglas’ body was discovered the day after Christmas, the investigation turned towards his estranged wife, Brenna. Taking place on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound, Rule’s book reads like a mystery novel—with a cast of suspects set against a secluded backdrop.
Featured Photo of Ted Bundy: Murderpedia