True-crime writer Ann Rule, who wrote more than 30 books, including a profile of her former co-worker, serial killer Ted Bundy, has died.
Ann Rule died in Seattle, Washington, on Sunday. Her daughter, Leslie Rule, said her mother had many health issues, including congestive heart failure.
Ann Rule’s first book, The Stranger Beside Me, profiled Bundy, whom she got to know while sharing the late shift at a Seattle suicide hotline. She has said she had a contract to write about an unknown serial killer before her co-worker was charged with the crimes.
Ann Rule, who went to work briefly at the Seattle Police Department when she was 21, began writing for magazines like True Detective in 1969. A biography on her author website said she published more than 1,400 articles, mostly on criminal cases.
She said she was fascinated by killers’ lives, going back to their childhood to find clues about why they did what they did. But her books focused on victims and she became an advocate for their rights.
“By deciding to focus her books on the victim, Ann Rule reinvented the true crime genre and earned the trust of millions of readers who wanted a new and empathetic perspective on the tragic stories at the heart of her works,” Carolyn Reidy, president and chief executive of Simon & Schuster, said.
After attending numerous workshops on crime topics from DNA to arson, local law enforcement, the FBI and the US Justice Department started turning to Rule for her expertise on serial murders.
She aided the Green River Task Force as that group sought another Seattle-area serial killer, passing along tips that her readers shared. She wrote a book about the case, Green River, Running Red.
Ann Rule was born in Lowell, Michigan, to a schoolteacher and a football, basketball and athletics coach. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington in creative writing, with minors in psychology, criminology and penology.
She was the mother of five children and grandmother of five.