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Mortal Danger

Cover of Mortal Danger

Mortal Danger

by Ann Rule

FROM TRUST TO TERROR...

FROM SECURITY TO SURVIVAL

The author of The Stranger Beside Me brings her brilliantly informed understanding of the sociopath to this riveting truecrime collection. Only Ann Rule, who unknowingly worked alongside the smart and charming Ted Bundy -- America's most notorious serial killer -- could lend her razor-sharp insight into these cases of the spouse, lover, family member, or helpful stranger who is totally trusted but whose lethally violent nature, though masterfully disguised, can and will kill. Featured here is the case of a Southern California family man who appeared to be the picture of healthy living with his expertise in naturopathic healing. Luring a beautiful flight attendant into a passionate affair, he swept her away to a secluded home on the Oregon coast where his jealous rages escalated, ultimately leading to a brutal sex attack in which she believed she would die. How this brave victim survived, never knowing her tormentor's whereabouts, and how he resurfaced, forcing a tragic end for all involved, makes this one of Ann Rule's most compelling narratives. Other cases include that of the woman who masterminded her husband's murder to gain his inheritance...the monstrous sadist whose prison release damaged a presidential candidate's campaign and ended in a bitter double tragedy in a quiet neighborhood three thousand miles away...the shocking DNA link between a cold-blooded crime and a cold case...and inside the horrific case of the man who crossed an ocean and several countries to stalk the Eurasian beauty who had fled from him in desperation.

FROM TRUST TO TERROR...

FROM SECURITY TO SURVIVAL

The author of The Stranger Beside Me brings her brilliantly informed understanding of the sociopath to this riveting truecrime collection. Only Ann Rule, who unknowingly worked alongside the smart and charming Ted Bundy -- America's most notorious serial killer -- could lend her razor-sharp insight into these cases of the spouse, lover, family member, or helpful stranger who is totally trusted but whose lethally violent nature, though masterfully disguised, can and will kill. Featured here is the case of a Southern California family man who appeared to be the picture of healthy living with his expertise in naturopathic healing. Luring a beautiful flight attendant into a passionate affair, he swept her away to a secluded home on the Oregon coast where his jealous rages escalated, ultimately leading to a brutal sex attack in which she believed she would die. How this brave victim survived, never knowing her tormentor's whereabouts, and how he resurfaced, forcing a tragic end for all involved, makes this one of Ann Rule's most compelling narratives. Other cases include that of the woman who masterminded her husband's murder to gain his inheritance...the monstrous sadist whose prison release damaged a presidential candidate's campaign and ended in a bitter double tragedy in a quiet neighborhood three thousand miles away...the shocking DNA link between a cold-blooded crime and a cold case...and inside the horrific case of the man who crossed an ocean and several countries to stalk the Eurasian beauty who had fled from him in desperation.

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    Chapter One

    May 2008

    Pacific Northwest residents were enjoying the sixth warm day of the year after a very long, very rainy winter. There was no better place to be on a day like this than in the town of Gig Harbor, Washington. Once a seaside hamlet where almost everyone knew everyone else, Gig Harbor's ideal location made the town's population grow by leaps and bounds. The original town had clustered around the harbor itself, but now there were new developments and shopping malls on both sides of the I-16 freeway that raced from the western end of the soaring Narrows Bridge in Tacoma, Washington, to the Bremerton navy shipyards.

    The Washington Corrections Center for Women was located a few miles away in Purdy, but Gig Harbor hadn't known much crime -- until recently. From 2006 to 2007, a series of appalling murders reminded people who lived in Gig Harbor that there really is no completely safe place anywhere.

    On a balmy spring Saturday in 2006, David Brame, the police chief of the City of Tacoma, stalked his pretty young wife, Crystal, with deadly intensity. She had finally gotten the nerve to separate from him, and he would not allow that. In a crowded shopping mall in Gig Harbor, with their two small children in the backseat of their mother's car, Brame fatally wounded his wife with his service revolver before committing suicide.

    Passersby rushed to remove the children from the car and shield them from seeing any more horror than they already had. Brame was dead, but Crystal lingered in critical condition for several days while family, friends, and strangers prayed that she might survive to raise her children. She could not come back from her massive brain injuries, although she fought a good fight.

    Ten months later, in March 2007, an older couple died in Gig Harbor in a murder-suicide in their own home. It was difficult to say which tragedy shocked locals the most. The two deadly encounters made headlines in Seattle, Tacoma, and Spokane, and the news flashed throughout the Internet, touching lives far away, too.

    Even so, there are still numerous pockets of serenity in Gig Harbor. None seem quite as safe as a small development a half mile from the original downtown. The residents there are all over fifty, and bylaws of the community are strict. None of the homes are sprawling or flashy, all are painted a discreet gray and white. The streets are named with sailing terms, such as Dockside Drive, Tideland Terrace, Windy Way, and Jib Sail, and they wind around in a series of curves and cul-de-sacs. The homes at the front of the neighborhood have wonderful views of the harbor, the Dalco and Colvos passages that curve west of Vashon Island, leading to Puget Sound beyond. Most of the others have at least a peek at the view, and the tall fir trees in Grandview Forest Park creep up to their backyards, swaying and sighing in the wind off the water.

    There are islands in the streets to discourage speeding; they're about fifteen feet across, all covered with bushes and flowers. Each velvet-green yard shows the loving care of its residents: Japanese maples, rhododendrons, azaleas, dogwoods, tulips, daffodils, and heather abound in the spring, and hydrangeas, lavender, petunias, gladiolas, and dahlias blossom in full summer.

    But there is one small house that stands empty. Its lot, like all the others, is very small -- perhaps eight feet away from the neighbors' windows. It's a sweet house, once the beloved home of an elderly woman. Now it almost seems to vibrate, sending out a chill feeling of terror, oppression, and perhaps insanity.

    It was very difficult for me to park in its...

About the Author-
  • Ann Rule is the author of thirty New York Times bestsellers, all of them still in print. Her first bestseller was The Stranger Beside Me, about her personal relationship to infamous serial killer Ted Bundy. A former Seattle police officer, she knows the crime scene firsthand. For more than two decades, she has been a powerful advocate for victims of violent crime. She lives near Seattle. Visit her at AnnRules.com.
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