Ann Rule wrote thirty-five New York Times bestsellers. Her first bestseller was The Stranger Beside Me, about her personal relationship with infamous serial killer Ted Bundy. A former Seattle police officer, she used her firsthand expertise in all her books. For more than three decades, she was a powerful advocate for victims of violent crime. She lived near Seattle and passed away in 2015.
This searching analysis of the shooting of three children in Oregon by their mother devolves into a study of personality. In May of 1983, Diane Downs drove to a Williamette Valley hospital emergency room with her children, all gravely wounded; one did not survive the first hour, and the other two were disabled for life. Downs initially told of a ``bushy-haired stranger'' who had committed the crime, but frequently changed her story. Under police questioning she recalled her childhood with a cold, domineering father who abused her sexually, her weak mother, a rape by one of her bosses, her failed marriage and many men with whom she had sex. One of these men, whom she claimed to love, did not want children, and that may have prompted the crime, speculates the author. The greatest strength of this book is the exploration by ex-policewoman Rule (The Stranger Beside Me of the aberrant personality of Downs, who is now imprisoned and not eligible for parole until 2009. (May 27)
Praise for Small Sacrifices
"Vivid...extraordinary...A page-turner."--The New York Times Book Review "A harrowing pathological portrait, a nearly unthinkable triple-murder plot, a hold-your-breath police procedural and a tale of dedication and compassion all superbly combined to produce the most riveting true-crime account since In Cold Blood."--Kirkus Reviews "A detailed, probing inquiry....From start to finish, Rule's account informatively unweaves the sad features of Downs's life and gives a moving description of the human side of law enforcement."--Boston Herald "Excellent....One of the most detailed studies of a sociopath to dignify the true-crime circuit."--The San Francisco Chronicle "Superb...[a] riveting detective story...as good a page-turner as any fictional murder mystery."--Indianapolis Star