Hello, Readers! You all are the first ever to read the literary ramblings of a belligerent book-worm. Please, bare with me, seeing as how this is actually my first ever review of a book where a teacher is not the single critic of my opinions. I hope you all appreciate what I have to say!
Halloween is just around the corner, so it's only natural that I would write this first review about a book that would fall under the genre of horror. Now, I know most of you expect me to sing on and on about ghoulies and ghosties and all of those creepy crawlies that lurk beneath your beds, excitedly awaiting the opportunity to reach for your little footsies and pull you into the abyss that is their world. No, I've read far oo many horror novels, and want to try something a little different but just as terrifying to think about.
This novel falls under the genre of True-Crime. It's an old book, but a lot of the true stories lose their most awful aspects over the years. The book is titled The Stranger Beside Me by True-Crime author Ann Rule. I've had a morbid fascination with the darker aspects of the human condition, so I have the immediate bias of knowing more than just the names of serial killers. I'm not the only one, right? I know how pompous I sound, but I like to assume that everyone has had this curiosity at least once in their lives.
Ted Bundy is the main focus of this novel. He was a serial killer in the northwest, as well as Florida, during the 1970s. I'm still reading this book right now, actually, but I have every intention of having completed The Stranger Beside Me before I complete this review. I realize that Bundy is already dead, but what makes this book such a fascinating read is that you get to meet the mask that Bundy was so fond of wearing. That is what makes this book so terrifying: the real boogeymen are wolves in sheep's clothing.
I stepped away from this review to finish the novel, and the book was completed before Ted Bundy's execution date was officially set. Now that I have finished reading it, the actions of one man with zero empathy for others seems much more horrific. This book really added to my distrust towards certain individuals; especially strangers. I realized how badly this piece affected my fears and paranoia.
I was on 17th Street (the local night-life scene where I live), and I was walking alone to my car through the more residential part of this particular stretch of road. Every person that would walk past me would bring my hand down to my keys to use as a meager weapon for defense. I would look over my shoulder every four steps, and every noise would cause tension to wedge itself between my shoulders.
Most of the women that were taken by Ted Bundy were in close proximity to their loved ones. One woman was just 40 feet from her sorority. There were even victims 'safe' at home, asleep in bed. This terrifies me because it takes away from every false sense of security. I am purely disturbed by the idea of strangers having such ease at destroying one's sense of peace, as if it were a bug being crushed by a windshield.
Ann Rule was one of the few women to have been considered "close" to the serial killer Ted Bundy, and this book shows you what she thought she knew of the man as well as the truth behind the monster. It is a novel that makes you reconsider helping that person whose car breaks down on the side of the road. You are given the chance to see how far manipulation extends for some, and the affect it has on the victims of such quiet storms.
The Stranger Beside Me is a difficult book to find, short of hunting on-line for this phenomenal read. There are minor technical errors in the writing, but these are all easily over-looked by the way Ann Rule curls you up with the discomfort of this charismatic boogeyman. This novel was obvious catharsis for the author, and you feel the emotional conflicts she endured. Please, find this book and add it to your collection; or make this book the start of a new hobby!