Customer Reviews of Without Pity: Ann Rule's Most Dangerous Killers
The Ultimate Collection Of Danger
I can understand why some reviewers are disappointed in this book; especially since they are avid Ann Rule readers and perhaps felt the book was merely a collection of stories they already read. So for the big Ann Rule readers, this book may not be the one to get.
That said, I have to give "Without Pity" 4 stars simply because although I am a huge true crime buff, I have never read any of Ann Rule's books and I found this collection of her works to be a very enjoyable and interesting read. The book contains updates plus three new stories. I can see why Ann Rule is one of the best true crime authors around, and these stories really chilled my bones. They hit very close to home, as all of them took place in Washington State and Oregon; and especially around the Seattle area where I have friends and family. Rule writes and crafts these stories exceptionally well, and they definitely stick in your mind for a long time after reading them.
Rule starts off this book with the three new cases. The first is called "The Tumbledown Shack" which takes place in Chelan County. A man found two deceased girls in a shack; their throats slit. They had traveled from Oregon to do some extra work by apple picking, and had been hitch hiking. But who killed them? Was it a boyfriend? Was it Jack Stolle who confessed to meeting up with two girls and killing them? Or was it Rudy Snell, who supposedly suggested getting rid of the girls after they found out that they supposedly took their money?
The second story is called "Dead And On Tape" which takes place in Seattle. It is basically about a guy with a past record named Nick Kyreacos and a police officer named Stan Tappan. Tappan claims he feared Kyreacos when he saw him in an ally because of a past confrontation with him. But Kyreacos felt he had to prove to the world who Tappan really was. And a tape recorder could help a man speak from beyond the grave.
The final new case is called "Fatal Obsession." This is the sad story of a happy marriage that went down the tube under the worst of circumstances. It takes place on an island called Bainbridge which is close to Seattle. Lori Rennsler had been killed by a near decapitation of her head and her son Stevie had been stabbed in the neck. Their dachshund puppy had been stabbed too. All roads lead to the husband, Kip Rennsler, who worked at a bank and hadn't been himself lately and seemingly went off the deep end. You'll read about some of the most far-fetched and bizarre behavior there is in this story.
The next story; the first of the chronicles, is the one that sticks in my mind the most and still leaves me with a disturbed and eerie feeling. It is called "Campbell's Revenge" (from "A Rose For Her Grave") Imagine being a single mother alone at home and being raped by a huge red-haired man. Now imagine having years of nightmares about this incident after the guy is captured, only to have authorities fail to inform you that he has been released. In the end, you have nothing left to imagine because he has come back to finish the job and you and your daughter are dead. Something as horrific as this is just plain unimaginable. This is the tragic story of Renae Wicklund and her daughter Shannah, and the big red-haired monster named Charles Campbell who killed them. I must say, I was completely angry, disturbed and sad after reading this story.
The other chronicles from Ann Rule's previous stories are intense as well. You'll read "One Trick Pony" where a horse seemingly kicked Donna Bennett and killed her. At least that what her husband Russ claims. You'll read the tale of "The Last Letter" where an overly possessive and obsessive husband with irrational thoughts named Bill Brand makes his lovely wife Jackie disappear forever. Then comes the story of Ruth Logg in "I'll Love You Forever," who thought she found perfect love with a successful businessman named Anthony Fernandez. But after a crashed Winnebago is found with Ruth's body nearby, it seems that she had found the perfect killer. Next is "Murder And The Proper Housewife," which is about Nancy Brooks and the son of her best friend, the strange Bennett LeClerk. With Bennett, Nancy may have gone too far to help her friend seemingly in need in a bad marriage. After that you will read "The Most Dangerous Game" about two rebellious teens who think camping up in the mountains and hitch hiking is great. Along the way they meet a man named Al who takes them under his wing. But their new found friend is into big game hunting and he does not hunt animals or fish. Then comes the tale of "The Killer Who Never Forgot Or Forgave" which is about Arne Kaarsten and his wife that he "found" strangled in the living room and his baby strangled in her crib. He claims that there was a mysterious man lurking around their house. But he himself could be the mystery man taking care of an unhappy marriage. Next you'll read into the world of astrology and psychics with "The Lonely Lady," about a psychic and yoga guru named Marcia Moore who lived to find answers to a past life and another world; even going so far as to try drug use. Marcia's bizarre disappearance is completely baffling. Finally, the last story is "The Stockholm Syndrome" where a young couple come upon a hitman named Tom while on a camping trip. It is about murder, and the art of brainwashing.
I found all these stories to be very interesting. If you have not read Ann Rule before, or if you want to try your first true crime novel, "Without Pity" is definitely the book for you. It keeps you reading, you are put into each story, and you can feel what the victims are going through. Chilling, compelling, well-written and disturbing, Ann Rule gives us a collection of crime to remember.
Great collection of stories
I have always been intrigued with murder and the stories that follow serial killers, however I limited myself only to programs on TV that seemed interesting. I had no idea there were books written so well by an author who really knows her stuff.
This was my first true crime book that I've ever read and I picked this one specifically because it was a collection of Ann's more disturbing murders. I wanted a "quick and dirty" book of really great stories and that is exactly what I got. This book has persuaded me to buy more of her true crime novels and I look forward to reading her novels in the future.
Selected True Crime Stories
Ann Rule chose a dozen cases of this book. In each case she was acquainted with some of the people mentioned: victim, survivors, detectives, or the prosecutors of defense attorneys. Sometimes the killer. The first three cases are all new; the last nine cases were taken from previously published books. This is a good introduction to her writings. Note how often economic factors are in the background. Ann Rule lives and works in the Seattle area.
"The Tumbledown Shack" tells of two girls who went hitchhiking to work in Washington state's apple orchards. Their bodies were found in an old abandoned shed. One suspect was found, knew facts about this 1975 case, but was never prosecuted. He died in jail. The case is still open.
"Dead and on Tape" discusses the case which made the biggest impression (the few where Rule knew the killer or victim before the crime occurred). There was a shooting in an alley. A credit card thief lay dead and a detective was wounded in his left hand and side. The police gathered the evidence and investigated. But complications arose from the hidden tape recorder on the victim. Eyewitnesses were found, and the shooter was convicted. Who killed Branko Ellich?
"Fatal Obsession" is the story closest to a horror tale. What happens when a "perfect citizen" turns into an insane killer? Who would slaughter the parents and a child? A torn-up letter revealed the clues that solved this tragedy.
"Campbell's Revenge" tell how no small town is safe from a psychopathic killer, even when they are smiling, handsome, and sincere. Some do look frightening, and are in trouble since childhood. Nature or nurture? What could be more horrible than finding your neighbors murdered?
"One Trick Pony" tells of an accidental death that was later found to be a murder, and solved. There are few trained forensic pathologists outside of the major metropolitan areas. Would a blanket on a body prevent the normal cooling after death?
"The Last Letter" tells of an obsessive possessive love. Is the love of an older married man for a young girl doomed? Bellevue Washington had some of the more bizarre murders over the years. Would financial disaster trigger a murder? Or steroids and Halcyon?
"I'll Love You Forever" tells about a wealthy middle-aged widow who found love with a confidence man. Her accidental death was found to be murder, and justice was served.
"Murder and the Proper Housewife" is a tale of a hired murderer who failed the proper housewife who hired him! It would be crazy if it wasn't all true.
"The Most Dangerous Game" tells about two teenage girls who fantasized about a better life away from their families. But not all strangers are friendly with good intentions. The scratching against the cabin could have been from a snow-laden low tree branch.
"The Killer Who Never Forgot" tells about a young wife and her baby found strangled. Could a husband kill them just for insurance money? Two juries said "yes" and he got a life term. He was paroled after 14 years and lived a good life afterwards.
"The Lost Lady" is about Marcia Moore; being rich, beautiful, and intelligent does not guarantee happiness. Did a belief in the occult foretell disaster? Does taking a drug lead to happiness? Marcia Moore disappeared suddenly, her skeletal remains were found years later.
"The Stockholm Syndrome" discusses "brainwashing" where a captive defends their captor. What if you met a stranger while alone in a wilderness? When "brainwashing" wore off, Robin recalled the true facts: it was a murder. The testimony about the brainwashing was sort of a precedent - furtive conduct to cover up a crime.
Ann Rule's most dangerous killers
I love Ann Rule and was so excited when this book was released. I grabbed it off the store self without really looking. A new release? My mistake! No it was a repeat of previous stories. I believe there were three new stories. I still love Ann Rule and she's my favorite author, but I felt a bit ripped off. If there is going to be a new release, I believe that's what it should be: New and filled with new tales. Great writing and not Ann's fault! I feel the promo was unfair to those of us that purchased the book believing it was new.
Ann is one of my favorite authors. I am pretty picky in how a book is written and Ann writes them so perfectly as she is there watching the situation Happen. This is of course Another one of Ann's books that you can't put down!