By Ann Rule
There used to be a time in which I would have told you that Ann Rule was the be all and end all of True Crime books. Over the last several years I have felt like she failed many times to be objective and puts more of her opinions into the stories than really should be rather than stating the facts. We have to remember that although she was a police detective she sat next a serial killer for many months and did not feel her "hinky" as she calls it feeling. So reality is she is not on the mark too much or as much as she wants you to believe.
Going into this book I knew it would be even different. I had heard about this case on a Dateline or 48 Hours (not sure which) and Rule was on the show talking of course about her opinion as well as showing what good friends she was with Barb Thompson, the mother of the victim in this book. I do know that Ann has received a lot of criticism from this book and is in fact being sued (or has it gone to court yet) but beyond that I have tried to stay away from the other stories until I finished this book and this blog. I do intend to extend this story in my True Crime blog but I did not want it to taint my feelings on the book itself.
This book is the story of the death of Ronda Reynolds. She was found in the bathroom closet of her home with a gunshot wound to her head. It is also about the fight to determine whether this was a case of murder or suicide. Ronda's mother never has, nor will she ever accept a ruling of suicide and has found some supporters, including Ann Rule in that area.
I think the book itself left many gaps in so many areas. I think important things concerning Ronda and her behaviors, personalities and other things were lightly glossed over. There were times while reading it however that I felt a compassion in a sense for Ann Rule. I get the distinct impression that she, at least in the beginning, tried to be objective considering the fact that no one has ever been, nor likely will be, charged with the murder of Ronda. Much of that may have to do with the bunged investigation. I felt like Rule was trying to get the fact out, regardless of how they looked but that when it shed Ronda in a less than flattering light she backed off a bit or made excuses. The reason I felt compassion for Rule was I thought of the situation of Joe McGinniss when he wrote Fatal Visions (the Jeffrey MacDonald Story). Ann Rule had become friends with Barb Thompson throughout the writing so I also feel that tainted her but in essence Thompson came to her to write the book just as MacDonald went to McGinniss. In the latter case when the book did not fit the mold expected McGinniss was sued and actually lost. So throughout the book that is the impression I got with this, that Ann Rule had to make excuses if not for friendship, than for legalities.
Nothing is ever really address about why this woman would have ended up in the closet; why there was no blood anywhere else (or signs of a clean up); why there were no defensive wounds (a broken fingernail was later determined to have no DNA under it so not likely broken in struggle) when it was commonly known that this woman (a former state trooper) could take much larger men down. Granted, Ronda Reynolds, husband, Ron, declined to be interviewed for the book, as well as his sons, one of which, along with Ron are considered by many to be the prime suspects for murder. With that said, I truly felt that this book was more about proving a murder that could not be proven and getting on the side of Barb Thompson than being objective.
But, as I do with most of my true crime books by any author I will carry on by researching the case more and piecing together other information to come to an informed decision.