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If I Could Be Ann Rule for a Week

Updated on October 13, 2014

True Crime Writer, Ann Rule -- Can I Fill Her Shoes?

My assignment, should I chose to accept it: Step into the shoes of popular true crime writer Ann Rule for one week.

Yes, I was recently challenged by a Squid Giant to be Ann Rule for a week. I have pondered the challenge and chosen to accept it. Will I self destruct or do the Queen of True Crime proud?

We shall see.

I am not all that surprised that I was tasked with this assignment. You see, I have made Ms. Rule's acquaintance. There's a photo of us at one of her book signings a little farther down the page.

Book Image courtesy of Amazon: The Stranger Beside Me

Day One

I meet with Ann Rule. I ask what I can do

to help her out for a week.

She tells me she has a sink full of dishes that aren't going to wash themselves.

I get to work.

Ann Rule and me at a book signing in Denver.
Ann Rule and me at a book signing in Denver.

Ann Rule, Bestselling Writer

Will Book Sales Fall During My Week as Ann Rule?

First, let me tell the uninitiated of you reading this a little about the famous Ann Rule.

She writes true crime books and sells them like there's no tomorrow. Another way of putting it is they sell like hotcakes.

Call it blood lust, call it a sick fascination with the macabre, call it what you will. As a reader of these books, I call it living vicariously through the eyes of a criminal.

Ms. Rule digs into the background of the major players involved (the murderer, often a serial killer, and victim, often victims) and makes them human. Even the bad guy. She gets into their family, their upbringing, their habits to let us know perhaps why they murder.

To be able to handle such indelicacies, Ms. Rule has to be tough as nails. And she is. She's a former Seattle cop and no mamby pamby. She is an expert on blood splatter and has, according to the Ann Rule Amazon page "lectured in seminars all across America to detectives, prosecutors, and even at the FBI Academy. My subjects have been serial murder, high profile offenders, and women who kill."

Photo Credit: from the collection of Peggy Hazelwood

Day Two

That was a lot of dishes. No wonder she can crank out two books a year. She lets those dishes stack right up.

Today I am shown where she keeps

the vacuum and mop.

I'm on it.

Don't Look Behind You - Ann Rule Crime Files #15

Ann Rule writes two books every year! One book is a standalone full-length true crime book that covers one case. The other book is a compilation of true crime cases, usually at least 10 different cases per book. The books listed here are some of her Crime Files books.

Don't Look Behind You: Ann Rule's Crime Files #15
Don't Look Behind You: Ann Rule's Crime Files #15

Ann Rule's latest compilation of true crimes, Don't Look Behind You is just one of the cold case files in this book full of short true crime mysteries.


More of Ann Rule's Crime Files Books

Day Three

I did a dandy job cleaning the floors, and Ms. Rule has decided to see how well my brain works.

My next assignment:

Alphabetize the books she's written on her bookshelves.

Got it.

Bitter Harvest - A Woman's Fury, A Mother's Sacrifice

In this true crime book, Ann Rule wrote about a female killer, a doctor who seemingly had it all. Read why castor beans are not friendly plants.

Green River, Running Red - The Real Story of the Green River Killer

This was one of Ann Rule's more disturbing books. The killer murdered nearly 50 women in the Seattle area over several decades.

Day Four

I love alphabetizing so I finished that job lickety split

and I still had time to sort

her Crime Files books from her standalone books.

Pleased, Ms. Rule asks me to call around for some more nicotinia seeds. She's not sure if she planted the tiny seeds or if they blew away.

(Check Ann Rule's Web site Guestbook and Web log at the link below for her conversation.)

Ann Rule Presents: The Stranger Beside Me - The Ted Bundy Story
Ann Rule Presents: The Stranger Beside Me - The Ted Bundy Story

This 2003 movie follows the book by the same name. Ted Bundy and Ann Rule volunteered side by side at a crisis call center. Ted Bundy turned out to be one of the country's deadliest serial killers.


Ann Rule's True Crime Movies - Books into Movies

Ann Rule Presents: Movies have been made of several Ann Rule true crime books including these films:

- Too Late to Say Goodbye, starring Lauren Holly, Rob Lowe

- And Never Let Her Go, starring Mark Harmon, Gene Dinovi

- Dead by Sunset, which stars Ken Olin, Annette O'Toole, Lindsay Frost

- Everything She Ever Wanted, starring Gina Gershon, Victor Garber

- Small Sacrifices, starring Farrah Fawcett, Ryan O'Neal, John Shea

- The Stranger Beside Me, which stars Billy Campbell, Barbara Hershey

Ann Rule's And Never Let Her Go
Ann Rule's And Never Let Her Go

This 2001 movie stars Mark Harmon, Rachel Ward, and Kathryn Morris in the story of Thomas Capano and Anne Marie Fahey saga.

Small Sacrifices [VHS]
Small Sacrifices [VHS]

Small Sacrifices was a book about the 1983 events where a mother does the unspeakable. This book was made into a TV miniseries in 1997 starring Farrah Fawcett as Diane Downs, and Ryan O'Neal, Gordon Clapp and John Shea.


Are you a fan of true crime writer Ann Rule?

See results

Day Five

With seeds in hand (I have to drive all over the Seattle metro area to track them down), I report back for duty.

Finally, Ms. Rule feels confident enough to let me

help with some research. My job?

To contact the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office to see if there are any leads on the Jane Doe found by blackberry pickers in 1977.

(See the link on the home page

for more on this case.)

Dead by Sunset

Day Six

Unfortunately, I have no good news to report regarding "1977 Snohomish County Jane Doe."

My next task:

Open the stacks of books that fans have mailed to her to sign. Present the books to her with a pen,

watch her sign them then mail them back.

Okey dokey.

In the Still of the Night - The Strange Death of Ronda Reynolds and Her Mother's Unceasing Quest for the Truth

Without Pity - Ann Rule's Most Dangerous Killers

Without Pity: Ann Rule's Most Dangerous Killers
Without Pity: Ann Rule's Most Dangerous Killers

Eight case files are covered by Ann Rule in this compilation of true crime cases. Published in 2003.


Day Seven

After arriving back from the post office, Ms. Rule gives me my final assignment.

Write a book jacket description for her in-progress crime files book. She lets me have access to her computer files so I can read them!

I choose three of the grossest cases and write up a 500-word description that I'm sure she won't use. But I get to see these stories first! That's something!

And it beats cleaning.

Too Late to Say Goodbye - A True Story of Murder and Betrayal

Every Breath You Take - A True Story of Obsession, Revenge, and Murder

True Story... Not!

Note: I did not really spend a week as Ann Rule,

in case you were wondering.

Squidoo Purple Star Winner

Hot dog! This article won a Purple Star!

Thanks, Squidoo!

Affiliate Disclosure

This author, Peggy Hazelwood, participates in Amazon, eBay, All Posters, and other affiliate advertising programs. When you click an advertising link on this page and make a purchase, I receive a small percent of the sale. Thank you for reading this far!

If you're a fan of Ann Rule, let us know your favorite book. - If you're not, do any of these true crime books look appealing?

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    • Rachel Field profile image

      Rachel Field 

      6 years ago

      Congratulations on the purple star and a very funny lens!

    • hntrssthmpsn profile image


      6 years ago

      Every day after work I arrive home to face a choice: write or clean? The regularity with which I encounter this choice has led me to entertain certain suspicions about the sinks, bathrooms, and behind-the-couch spaces of bestselling authors. Your observations regarding Ann Rule's dishes fit right in with these suspicions. Given the rate at which she writes and sells books, I think you've also made my homecoming decision a little bit easier ;)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I haven't read any of her books yet, but now I must read it, because her books sound good thanks to your lens.

    • Scarlettohairy profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @gottaloveit2: Thanks so much, Lori! I too have been an Ann Rule fan for a long, long time. I like Bitter Harvest best (or the one I'm reading at the moment!).

    • LisaDH profile image


      6 years ago

      "The Stranger Beside Me" is my favorite. It amazes me that serial killers like Ted Bundy can seem so "normal" and so nice to some people (like he was to Ann Rule) while they're running around killing others.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image


      6 years ago

      I'm probably one of her earliest and most ardent fans. I'm thrilled that you chose to be her for a week. My favorite book (although the saddest) was Small Sacrifices - the Diane Down story where she shoots her own children. You, my dear, are blessed!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Super fun read!! Enjoyed every minute of it! Thank you!

    • Missmerfaery444 profile image


      6 years ago

      Fantastic - a fun read and I learned all about an author I didn't know about before!

    • MerandaJade profile image


      6 years ago

      This was such a cute lens! A great tribute for the author.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      All things are possible and your were virtually there working side by side with Ann Rule...I was really expecting her to send you out to weed around the bleeding heart, bloodroot, and Dane's Blood before then sprinkle a bit of blood meal around them. A delightful Virtual Jenga Challenge, you accomplished your mission well!

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for the introduction to Ann Rule. Sounds like an interesting lady!

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 

      6 years ago from Southampton, UK

      I haven't heard of her before, but it sounds as if she writes some interesting books. Good Luck in the Jenga challenge.

    • Scarlettohairy profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @kimbesa2: Ann Rule has only written one fiction book; most of her books are true crime.

    • lesliesinclair profile image


      6 years ago

      Well, your story is appealing. Thanks for the entertainment.

    • kimbesa2 profile image


      6 years ago from USA

      My list is too long to spend reading fiction right now, but I love your approach to this Jenga challenge!!

    • KateHonebrink profile image


      6 years ago

      I have too vivid an imagination to be comfortable reading true crime. Love your article, though! Great job!!!

    • Scarlettohairy profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @Pam Irie: Thank you for the challenge, Pam! What fun it was to write this article.

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 

      6 years ago from Land of Aloha

      ooops! I meant the Top 35! :)

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 

      6 years ago from Land of Aloha

      The Stranger Beside Me is my very favorite book by Ann Rule. I think it's fascinating she actually worked with Ted Bundy BEFORE, of course, anyone was aware there was a monster inside.

      Congratulations on being in the Top 50 of this Virtual Jenga. Yay!

    • MJsConsignments profile image


      6 years ago from Central Ohio, USA

      Wow, you're a great writer! You totally had me convinced you had managed to wrangle an internship with her and get it in, in the two weeks you had to do this virtual jenga lens. Great stuff!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I've only read Empty Promises, which I have a book review lens on....and I don't see listed here on your lens :) I bet all of her books are great though!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      6 years ago from Central Florida

      You almost had me convinced that you had interned with Ann Rule. I was going to ask how I could sign up for that experience too. I'm a big fan of her full-length true crime books. Her collections of short crime reads to me like summaries that she couldn't find enough background to turn into a full book. They lack the character development that I savor in her books.


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