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The introductory book by Ann Rule quickly became a bestseller when it was released in 1980. The story of Ted Bundy was already fascinating to a society unfamiliar with the idea of a serial killer. The fact that Rule was able to present the story from the perspective of a reluctant participant and friend of the accused added a irresistible twist and a personal touch that few other books can claim. Like most who knew Bundy, Rule found it hard to believe that the handsome and charismatic young man that worked with her on the local suicide crisis hotline could also be a cold and calculating killer.
"The Stranger Beside Me" details the investigation into the abductions and murders that began in Washington and continued in Bundy's wake through Utah, Colorado, and Florida, where Bundy was convicted and eventually put to death.