October 22, 1935
Lowell, Michigan, United States
|Notable work(s)||The Stranger Beside Me
Ann Rule (born Ann Stackhouse on October 22, 1935) is an American true crime writer of such works as The Stranger Beside Me, about serial killer and former Samaritans co-worker Ted Bundy, and Small Sacrifices, about child murderer Diane Downs.
Early life and education
Rule was one of two children born to Chester R. Stackhouse and Sophie Marie Hansen. Her mother was a teacher, specializing in developmentally disabled children, and her father was a sports coach. Members of Rule's family had careers in law enforcement. Her grandfather and uncle were sheriffs in Michigan, another uncle was a medical examiner, and a cousin was a prosecutor. Rule spent her summers with her grandparents doing volunteer work in the local jail.
Rule graduated from Coatesville High School and then attended the University of Washington. She majored in creative writing, with minors in criminology, penology and psychology. She extended her education for two more years at Highline Community College by taking criminology courses.
Rule worked as an officer for the Seattle Police Department. Early in her career she wrote for several publications geared for women. Beginning in 1969, she wrote for the magazine True Detective under the nom de plume "Andy Stack" when she first started writing for the magazine.
Her first book was The Stranger Beside Me, which she wrote under her own name. Her next three books (The Lust Killer, Jerry Brudos; The Want-Ad Killer, Harvey Carignan; and The I-5 Killer about Randall Woodfield) were written as Andy Stack.
In 2008, the Library of America selected Rule’s story "Young Love" from the book Empty Promises for inclusion in its two-century retrospective of American true crime writing, True Crime: An American Anthology.
Rule's book Fatal Friends, Deadly Neighbors and Other True Cases was named one of the top three 2012 Best True Crime Books, along with books by authors Cathy Scott and Kathryn Casey, in a True Crime Zine readers's poll.
Her latest book, Practice to Deceive, about a 2003 murder on Whidbey Island, Washington, was released in October 2013. On the island for the launch of a book tour, Rule fell in the hotel and broke her hip, forcing the cancellation of the event.
In 2003, Rule's publisher released Heart Full of Lies, a book about Liysa Northon, who maintains that she was a battered spouse and that she shot her husband in 2000 to protect herself and her children. Rule's book suggested Liysa Northon premeditated the killing and faked evidence of abuse.
A defamation lawsuit filed by Northon against Rule and her publishers was dismissed in January 2011 by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Northon was released from prison in October 2012 twelve years after killing her husband.
Rule filed a libel lawsuit against the Seattle Weekly newspaper in July 2013, saying she was defamed in 2011 when the fiancé of Northon wrote an article accusing Rule of "sloppy storytelling." The suit, filed in King County Superior Court in July 2013, argued that damage was done because Rule, to sell her books, relies on her reputation for accuracy.
On February 24 and 25, 2014, a judge made two rulings dismissing the claims, finding that Rule's suit violated a Washington state law barring lawsuits that target the legal exercise of free speech and public participation, and that Rule had not established there were any false, defamatory statements about her in the article. The judge awarded Rick Swart, the newspaper and two other defendants $10,000 each in damages, plus attorneys fees and costs. “Rule admitted that she never interviewed Liysa or members of her immediate family,” said Swart.
- "Biography: Ann Rule, A Taste For Crime Investigation". CBS News. July 20, 2001. Retrieved 2008-03-05.[dead link]
- "Ann's Biography (Official Site)". Retrieved 2009-11-21.
- TruTV Crime Library, "Ann Rule: Revealing the Strangers Beside Us"
- "True Crime: An American Anthology: Table of Contents". Literary Classics of the United States. 2008. Retrieved 2011-07-24.
- CBS, "48 Hours Mystery," "Author Ann Rule helps mother search for truth," April 21, 2012
- "Best True Crime Books 2012 Winners List". True Crime Zine. January 12, 2013. Retrieved 2013-01-19.
- Rule’s Freeland book signing canceled after fall - Whidbey News-Times
- "Ann Rule Lawsuit Against Seattle Weekly Tossed". February 26, 2014.
- Courthouse News Service, "Ann Rule Awarded Costs in Anti-SLAPP Decision," January 18, 2011
- "Liysa Northon, featured in Ann Rule's 'Heart Full of Lies,' to get out of prison Tuesday". The Oregonian. October 8, 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-07.
- Ann Rule-Defamation story - MSN Entertainment News
- "Court throws out Ann Rule's defamation court case". March 5, 2014.
- "Ann Rule Loses To Rick Swart". February 26, 2014.
- Coast to Coast AM, "Ghost Trilogy," Guest, Leslie Rule, May 23, 2007