Ann Rule

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"Andy Stack" redirects here. For the musician, see Andy Stack (musician).
Ann Rule
Born Ann Stackhouse
Lowell, Michigan, United States
Occupation Writer
Subject True crime
Notable works The Stranger Beside Me
Small Sacrifices

Ann Rule (born Ann Stackhouse) 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.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Ann Stackhouse 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.[2] 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.[2]

Rule graduated from Coatesville High School in Chester County, Pennsylvania. She earned an associate degree at Highline Community College in Des Moines, Washington and then attended the University of Washington, studying creative writing.[2]


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 True Detective magazine under the nom de plume "Andy Stack."[2][3]

Her first book, The Stranger Beside Me, 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.[4]

In April 2012, "48 Hours Mystery" covered Rule's successful effort to help a mother prove her daughter's 1998 death was murder. The resulting book was In the Still of the Night.[5]

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.[6]

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.[7]


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.[8]

A defamation lawsuit filed by Northon against Rule and her publishers was dismissed in January 2011 by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.[9] in October 2012, Northon was released from prison, 12 years after killing her husband.[10]

Rule filed a libel lawsuit through lawyer Anne Bremner 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 July 2013, argued that damage was done because Rule, to sell her books, relies on her reputation for accuracy.[11]

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, Caleb Hannan, the newspaper and one other defendants $10,000 each in damages, plus attorneys fees and costs.[8][12] "Rule admitted that she never interviewed Liysa or members of her immediate family," said Swart.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Rule lives in Normandy Park, Washington. She has four adult children, including author Leslie Rule.[14][15]


External links[edit]