Author Ann Rule

Ann Rule Bio

Ann Rule was regarded by many as the foremost true crime writer in America, and the author responsible for the genre as it exists today. She came to her career with a solid background in law enforcement and the criminal justice system. Both her grandfather and her uncle were Michigan sheriffs, her cousin was a Prosecuting Attorney and another uncle was the Medical Examiner. Raised in that environment, she grew up wanting to work in law enforcement herself. She is a former Seattle Policewoman, former caseworker for the Washington State Department of Public Assistance, former student intern at the Oregon State Training School for Girls.  

Her father, Chester R. Stackhouse, was a football, basketball and track coach. Her mother, Sophie Hansen Stackhouse, was a schoolteacher who taught the developmentally disabled. The family moved often as "Stack" Stackhouse's coaching career bloomed. They lived in Saginaw and Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Coatesville, Pennsylvania, Salem, Oregon, Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, and Palo Alto, California.

She and William "Bill" Rule  had four children, and early in their marriage they lived in El Paso, Texas, and Youngstown, New York, before settling in the Seattle area. They raised their family in Bellevue, Washington, and Des Moines, Washington. Bill was also a writer, but he died of Melanoma at age 43 in 1975 before he could realize his dream of writing "The Great American Novel."  (The couple divorced a few years before Bill died.) Bill Rule taught creative writing at Foster High School in Tukwila,Washington.

During the last years of her life, Ann lived in Seahurst, Washington, on the shores of Puget Sound. She was the mother of four and also a grandmother.

Ann began working as a full-time true crime writer in 1969, and authored 36 books and over 1,000 articles before she passed away in July 2015. Ann graduated from Coatesville High School, and had a BA from the University of Washington in Creative Writing, with minors in psychology, criminology and penology. She had an Associate Degree from Highline Community College, and took courses in crime scene investigation, police administration, crime scene photography and arrest, search and seizure. She also had a Master’s Degree in Compassionate Letters from Willamette University.

Ann attended every seminar that police organizations invited her to, including those on organized crime, arson, bomb search, and DNA.  She had 30 hours credit at the University of Washington Medical School earned by attending the National Medical Examiners' Conference. She attended the King County Police Basic Homicide School. In addition, she taught seminars to many law enforcement groups. She was a certified instructor in many states on subjects such as Serial Murder, Sadistic Sociopaths, Women Who Kill, and High Profile Offenders. She served on the U.S. Justice Department Task Force that set up the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (Vi-CAP), a computer tracking system that helps identify and capture serial killers.  A victims' advocate, Ann testified twice before Senate Judiciary Sub-committees on victims' rights and on the danger of serial killers.

When Ann spent her summer vacations with her grandparents in Stanton, Michigan, she helped her grandmother prepare meals for the prisoners in the jail. She wondered why such friendly, normal-appearing, men were locked behind bars, and why the sweet woman in the cell upstairs--who taught Ann to crochet--was about to go on trial for murder. That was the beginning of her lifelong curiosity about the "Whys" behind criminal behavior. Her books all explore the reasons behind the front-page cases she covers.

Ann's books deal with three areas: the victims' stories, the detectives and prosecutors and how they solve their cases with old fashioned police work and modern forensic science, and the killers’ lives. She tries to go back to the killers' early childhood, and even back into their family histories to find some of the genesis of their behavior. She spent many months researching her books, beginning with the trials and with many subsequent visits to the locale where the crimes occurred. Once she had finished her research, she returned to her office to write her books.

Eight of Ann's books were made into TV movies. She won the coveted Peabody Award for her miniseries,
Small Sacrifices, and two Anthony Awards from Bouchercon, the mystery fans' organization. She was nominated three times for Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America. She was also awarded the Washington State Governor's Award. Ann was active in support groups for victims of violent crimes and their families, in programs to help battered and abused women, and support groups for children caught in traumatic living situations.

Ann's daughter, Leslie Rule, is also an author.  Leslie's books are Whispers from the Grave, Kill Me Again
  Coast to Coast Ghosts--True Stories of Hauntings Across America, Ghosts Among Us, When the Ghost Screams--True Stories of Victims Who Haunt, Ghost in the Mirror and her latest, Where Angels Tread--Real Stories of Miracles and Angelic Intervention.

Ann's hobbies often took a backseat to her writing, but she had many interests. She loved animals and always shared her home with cats and dogs. She loved to garden, and collected "way too many things," including antique bottles and pill boxes, angel figurines, miniature cars, cobalt blue glass, police paraphernalia, wind chimes, and teddy bears.  Of course, she loved to read--mostly non-fiction--biographies, autobiographies, and books on medical science. Her favorite authors were Anne Tyler, Garrison Keillor, Jerry Bledsoe, James Neff, Kathy Casey, Dawna Kauffman, Lois Duncan, Edna Buchanan, John Updike, Erma Bombeck, Donna Anders, Carl Hiassen, and, of course, Leslie Rule. 

Ann’s books Include The Stranger Beside Me (about her partner at Seattle's Crisis Clinic--Ted Bundy!) Possession, Lust Killer, Want-Ad Killer, The I-5 Killer, Small Sacrifices, If You Really Love Me, Too Late to Say Goodbye, And Never Let Her Go, Everything She Ever Wanted, Heart Full of Lies, In The Still of the Night, Empty Promises, Mortal Danger, Dead by Sunset, Bitter Harvest,  Every Breath You Take, Green River Running Red, But I Trusted You, Smoke, Mirrors and Murder, No Regrets, Kiss Me Kill Me, Last Dance Last Chance, A Rage to Kill, In the Name of Love, The End of the Dream, A Fever in the Heart, You belong to me, Without Pity, Worth More Dead, A Rose For Her Grave, Deadly Neighbors, Fatal Friends, Practice To Deceive, and Lying in Wait.


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