This was my first time reading Ann Rule and for the most part I liked it. First published in 2004, this was a book that took a long time to write because it took decades to solve the murder cases.
What I liked: Rule goes to great lengths to humanize the numerous victims. Each victim gets her back story told as well as when she was last seen. I liked how she also wrote in the killer's backstory/where abouts when the murders happened, so the reader was given a full view of events and how he was ultimately found. Rule also wrote the story in a way that helped the reader define each of the law enforcement personnel named in the story so that they didn't blend into one super cop. The world building of late 1970s/1980s Seattle was detailed enough to understand the community of that community. The detective work was interesting, especially as technology advanced in areas such as DNA testing.
What I didn't liked: First, Rule wrote herself into the story way too much - and Rule thinks Rule is amazingly awesome.....*eyeroll*. Although Rule and the police insist that the killer didn't have a type of victim he favored, it was clear he did after reading the third or fourth victim's back story - abusive home life, early drug use, teenage prostitution, etc. After reading 10 painful upbringing background leading to life on the streets stories, the victims start to blend in together despite Rule giving each victim their own spotlight. It didn't help that the backstory and abduction took place sometimes months prior to finding the bodies/skeletons. So the reader gets three or four victims' stories, then 20 or so pages later a body/bones are discovered. It makes for choppy reading. I think Rule also gives the county and small town police too much of a pass when they were definitely wrong/going in the wrong direction with the investigation - there was no analysis or criticisms but lengthy reasoning why law enforcement thought they were one the right track and how disappointed they were when they were proved wrong. She was just too friendly with the police to write with some distance that a more impartial writer would be.
I would be open to reading more from Rule, hopefully with a case that she has some distance on so that I don't have to read over and over again how awesome Rule is.