(Review) The Stranger Beside Me: The Shocking Inside Story of Serial Killer Ted Bundy by Ann Rule


Publisher and Publication Date: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster. Copyright 1980. My edition is 2018.
Genre: Nonfiction. True crime.
Pages: 592.
Source: Self purchase.
Rating: Excellent.
Audience: True crime readers.

54 black and white illustrations

Kindle Unlimited ebook is Free

Ann Rule died in 2015-New York Times
Seattle Times
Bio from Wikipedia
The starting chapter of the book is titled, “The Final Chapter? – 2008.” Ann Rule wants to set the record straight about Ted Bundy. She wants to correct previously untrue information about Theodore Robert Bundy.
This book was first published in 1980. A preface is included from this year.
At the end of the book is an “Update: Twenty Years Later-2000.”
For me to say Ann Rule is a thorough writer is an understatement. No stone is left unturned. This is the first thing I love about her writing. A second reason, and it pertains to this particular book, Ann Rule personally knew Ted Bundy.
Rule has a keen eye, law enforcement experience, intelligence; and, the ability to examine and put together a graphic detailed account of Bundy’s personal life, personality, mental make-up, criminal behavior and activity.
I had a few reader friends ask me if I’d read this book. While shopping in a Barnes and Nobles this book was on an endcap.
It is a lengthy book at 592 pages.

Why should you read this book?
The main reason is it delves deep at a serial killers planning, stalking, and methods of killing. Ted Bundy is the serial killer studied. However, the reader will understand a great deal of what goes on in a serial killers planning and carrying out of a crime.
I did not read the book to know the person Ted Bundy. His birth and growing up years are only an interest in how they may have contributed to his killings.

At times in the book, I felt Ann Rule was torn. She was torn between wanting to believe Bundy was innocent, because she personally knew him. And in seeing what the evidence showed and that he was guilty. This point made the book personal, and not just an analytical viewpoint.

Further points in the book of interest:
•Ted Bundy’s IQ.
•A mental makeup of Bundy’s personality and mental health.
•Other murders he may have committed.
•His wife and daughter.
•The complicated relationship with his mother.
•The autopsies and the victims.
•Bundy’s behavior during the trial.
•His death at the electric chair in Florida.

Ann Rule died in 2015.


The film, The Stranger Beside Me from YouTube.

I recommend “Conversations With A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes” on Netflix.



(Review) Helter Skelter: The True Story of The Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi with Curt Gentry

untitledPublisher and Publication Date: W. W. Norton and Company. Reprint 2001. Original publication 1974.
Genre: Nonfiction. True Crime.
Pages: Kindle edition 698.
Source: Library copy through the app OverDrive.
Rating: Excellent.
Audience: A must read for true crime readers.


The Authors:
The prosecutor of Charles Manson was Vincent Bugliosi. He was an attorney and author living in Los Angeles, California. He’s the author of several nonfiction books. Bugliosi was born in 1934 and died in 2015.
Curt Gentry, also a nonfiction author, lived in San Francisco, California. He was born in 1931 and died in 2014.

This is the second time I’ve read Helter Skelter. It’s been many years ago that I read this book for the first time. I decided to re-read the book after becoming hooked on true crime stories. I didn’t know until after finishing the book three new films have been made about the Manson family and murders.

The first film is “Charlie Says.” The focus is on the women who were in Manson’s Family. The film opens May 10 but limited. The DVD release date is May 17.

The second is a Quentin Tarantino film, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” The cast holds big names: Brad Pitt, Leonardo Di Caprio, Matt Damon, Margot Robbie, and Dakota Fanning. The film is set for release July 26. From what I can tell, the film is about Hollywood in 1969. The Manson murders were committed in August of that year. I don’t know how much of the film centers around the murders.

The third film is “The Haunting of Sharon Tate.” This film was released a month ago. It is available to rent on Prime Video.

August 9 will be the 50th anniversary of Sharon Tate’s death. She was 26. Pregnant.
It’s difficult to read the book Helter Skelter and not feel strongly against the people who murdered several innocent people, including a baby in utero.

Helter Skelter is a detailed report on the crimes committed in mid August 1969. It is a chronological time frame of events. Even past the murders, the investigation and trials, are in a comprehensive time frame.
What I’m glad was included in the book is bio information on the deceased. Yes, Sharon Tate’s bio information is included, but Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, and Steven Earl Parent; and, Leno and Rosemary LaBianca who were murdered on August 10.
In addition:
•How the victims were found and by whom.
•The autopsy reports.
•The police interview of Roman Polanski.
•The Manson Family arrests and charges.
•The name of Sharon Tate’s baby boy.
•The three young women who were sentenced for taking part in the murders. Their brief biographies, history in Manson’s Family, and the interviews they gave to detectives.
•Tex Watson. He was the lone male murderer.
•The impressions made about Charles Manson by the women in his Family and the prosecutor. Manson’s bio is included. Manson’s ability to con and manipulate the Family is studied. An interesting point is how he acted in court during the trial.
•The pseudo religious stuff Manson preached.
•The building of the court cases.
•A lengthy epilogue of the people involved.


(Review) Glorious Weakness: Discovering God In All We Lack by Alia Joy

glorious joy

Publisher and Publication Date: Baker Books. April 2, 2019.
Genre: Christian nonfiction. Psychology.
Pages: 240.
Source: I received a complimentary copy, but was not required to leave a positive review.
Rating: Excellent.
Audience: People who are ready to read a book on sorrow and life beyond it.


Website for Alia Joy
About the author:
Alia Joy is a speaker, writer, and ragamuffin who weaves beauty through even the most broken stories. Her raw vulnerability and unique perspective make her a trusted voice writing about mental and physical illness, abuse, race, body image, poverty, and hope. She lives in Oregon with her family, where weakness and glory converge daily.

Summary: (From back cover)
As a girl, Alia Joy came face-to-face with weakness, poverty, and loss in ways that made her doubt God was good. There were times when she felt as if God had abandoned her. What she didn’t realize then was that God was always there, calling her to abandon herself.

In this deeply personal exploration of what it means to be “poor in spirit,” Joy challenges us to embrace true vulnerability and authenticity with God and with one another, showing how weakness does not disqualify us from inclusion in the kingdom of God–instead, it is our very invitation to enter in.

My Thoughts:
I’ve read several reviews on this book, and the consensus is the book is transparent, raw, and deeply felt by the reader. I agree.
One of the first things I noticed while reading the book is the strong word language. It literally punctuates the sentences with emotion. These words also hooked me in a bit further.
Alia Joy shares about her life, even the awkward experiences that are hard to express. In sharing this kind of information, there is a feeling of accessibility that is passed on to the reader, because at some point in her story, there is something the reader can relate to. For example, I do not have major depression, but my husband does. And, I do not know what it feels like to be different or stand out in a community of “different looking” people, but my daughter-in-law does. Sexual abuse, this is something I have experienced. In reading the story of Alia Joy, I have greater understanding and empathy.
Early in the book, Alia Joy expressed she didn’t “want to be that weak person.” Neither do I. I think most people feel the same way. Yet, isn’t it wonderful, a breath of fresh air, when a person states that? It is like every one in the room can let out that expectant air they’ve been holding and just relax.
Other subtopics in the book are on poverty, grace, stamina in faith, judgmental people, sorrow, marriage, and mission work.
Another book I’ve read by Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way, captures a similar topic that Glorious Weakness does. The poor in spirit. A place of weakness. Alia teaches that this is “where the treasure is buried.” Topics on weakness, suffering, and tragedy have become mainstream in the Christian book market. I am so glad. People need access to hard topics for education and healing.
Glorious Weakness is an excellent tool. It digs at the hard to talk about stuff. It shows me the beauty of God’s grace in the sorrow. It shows me I am not alone, but have kindred spirits who are walking the same dusty trail as me.

(Review) A Murderous Malady: A Florence Nightingale Mystery by Christine Trent

02_A Murderous Malady

Publisher and Publication Date: Crooked Lane Book. May 7, 2019.
Genre: Historical fiction. Mystery.
Pages: 336.
Source: I received a complimentary copy, but was not required to leave a positive review.
Rating: Excellent.
Audience: Mystery readers.


03_Christine Trent









About the author:
Christine Trent is the author of the Florence Nightingale Mysteries, the Lady of Ashes historical mystery series, about a Victorian-era undertaker, and three other historical novels. Christine’s novels have been translated into Turkish, Polish, and Czech. She writes from her two-story home library, where she lives with her husband, four precocious cats, a large doll collection, entirely too many fountain pens, and over 4,000 catalogued books.
Christine Trent website

For fans of Charles Todd and Deanna Raybourn comes Christine Trent’s second Florence Nightingale mystery.
Cholera has broken out in London, but Florence Nightingale has bigger problems when people begin dying of a far more intentional cause—murder.
The London summer of 1854 is drawing to a close when a deadly outbreak of cholera grips the city. Florence Nightingale is back on the scene marshaling her nurses to help treat countless suffering patients at Middlesex Hospital as the disease tears through the Soho slums. But beyond the dangers of the disease, something even more evil is seeping through the ailing streets of London.
It begins with an attack on the carriage of Florence’s friend, Elizabeth Herbert, wife to Secretary at War Sidney Herbert. Florence survives, but her coachman does not. Within hours, Sidney’s valet stumbles into the hospital, mutters a few cryptic words about the attack, and promptly dies from cholera. Frantic that an assassin is stalking his wife, Sidney enlists Florence’s help, who accepts but has little to go on save for the valet’s last words and a curious set of dice in his jacket pocket. Soon, the suspects are piling up faster than cholera victims, as there seems to be no end to the number of people who bear a grudge against the Herbert household.
Now, Florence is in a race against time—not only to save the victims of a lethal disease, but to foil a murderer with a disturbingly sinister goal—in A Murderous Malady.

My Thoughts:
Several reasons led me to give this book an excellent rating:
•Interesting “Author’s Note.” This section gave me a background on how people viewed Florence Nightingale in the mid nineteenth century, life for the people living in Soho area of London, cholera epidemic, history of the British and Afghanistan’s political relations, and the historical people mentioned in the book.
•I love the character of Florence Nightingale. She could command an army. I love her no- nonsense-can’t pull anything past her-doesn’t miss a thing personality. She can organize, take charge, and yet give gentle care to the sick.
•I enjoyed reading about medical/nursing care during the middle part of the nineteenth century.
•It’s fascinating how Christine Trent weaved a story about Florence Nightingale, and made it a mystery, and brought in the British and Afghan wars. Amazing.
•A secondary story about a family with an abuser. This element brought tears to my eyes.
•The book ends with a lead to the next book in this series which entices me to read it.
A Murderous Malady is a murder mystery. The conclusion to the story brings a solid closure to the whole of the story.

04_A Murderous Malady Banner




Welcome to those who have joined this book review blog. I’m blown away by your support! And to those who just stumbled on to this blog, I welcome you too.
I read most genres. At this time I’m going through a true crime interest. Soon, I will be reviewing the following true crime books: The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule, Why They Kill by Richard Rhodes. In addition, Idols of the Heart by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick, Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker.