Sunday, May 20, 2012

In The Still of The Night

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.


  1. This case is FUBAR, but, objectively, I will say that this book is not Rules best work. It reads like you are eavesdropping on a conversation... like you should know who/what she is referring to and talking about, but have no damn idea. Lots of name, similar names, and marriages/remarriages-- these people need to broaden their horizons of contacts. And Rule seems defensive, right out of the shoot, as if she is going to reveal the details of how she (and vic's mother) just KNOW it was a murder. Too bad she forgot to set up the crime in a interesting and cohesive flow. Rule spends so much time telling you how perfect Ronda was, that Ronda's flaws are more apparent; no one could be that perfect. And, by the time she actually gets to the crime scene you dont really care much what happened.
    Now all of that doesnt even touch on the ga-ZILLION reasons why this book is a poor representation of a messed up case. Rule is really gonna lose her professional image over this one.

  2. :) I am working on the true crime blog now but this one was very difficult for me to keep objectively knowing even what little I knew about the case while reading the book.... I'm even less objective to the book now :) I also have tended or tried to stay away from calling Ronda Reynolds a victim because I am not sure I believe she was.

    I think the book was full of holes... went on speculation and as you said slanted to make her look good.

    This woman very well could have been murdered but no one will ever know but the mother won't stop until she gets her way and she has Rule, a lawyer, an ex-detective and a firearm guy on her side.

  3. Ann Rule did a great job with this book just like all of her other books I've read everything she has written ..
    The one person that was perfect was nailed to a cross. .. so Ronda wasn't perfect but she didn't have to die at the hands of that No Good stepson and Ron cover it up he has lied so much.. ya don't sleep 15ft away from a gun shot and it not wake ya up... so get real Ronda was murder... I have had a family member murdered no one was ever charged in his murder.... so sad when thatb happens..Kathy

  4. There is a true crime Michelle O'Connell.
    She was exhumed 1-11-2016. Autopsy brought forth she had a fractured mandible.
    SAO Investigator Rob Hardwick, Assistant SAO Mark Johnson asked me, Michelle mom to exhume her i said yes, but corruption stopped them and 2 weeks later i called Rob was at FBI Academy my gut says he was kept busy so the exhumation wouldnt take place 2011. Evidence trashed a bloody TShirt with bullet hole on a daybed above Michelle who was found on the floor paralyzed from gunshot to her spine. Clu Wright saw the bloody shirt after he enlarged a photo taken by Deputy Hawley. SJSO GUILTY OF COVERUP OF MURDER BY SJSO DEPUTY BANKS 3504.