Ann Rule

Ann Rule bigraphy, stories - True crime writer

Ann Rule : biography

October 22, 1935 –

Ann Rule (born October 22, 1935) is an American true crime writer whose works include 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 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.

Personal life

Rule is a mother of five. Her daughter, Leslie Rule, is also an author.


Early in her career, Rule 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 2003, Rule’s publisher released Heart Full of Lies, a book narrating the events of the Liysa Northon murder trial. A defamation lawsuit filed by Northon against Rule and her publishers was ultimately 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.

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.

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.], "48 Hours Mystery," "Author Ann Rule helps mother search for truth," April 21, 2012]