My take away: an author has manifold challenges in writing a second book building upon an earlier one. How much does he delve into the past as detailed in the last book? Can one presume that the majority of readers would have read the earlier book? What about those who have never read the earlier book? Or, those who may not have heard of the principal character before, since he was much in the limelight in the 1970s and 1980s? These are some of the interesting points that came to my mind as I read, “The Trail of Ted Bundy: Digging Up The Untold Stories” by Kevin M. Sullivan.
I had of course heard about Ted Bundy. You may recall that he became notorious as a kidnapper, rapist and murderer committing crimes in 7 States in the USA in the late 1970s. Probably because of a deep-rooted hatred towards women, all his victims were young women. Sullivan reveals the effects being an illegitimate child had on one who became infamous all across the country, if not the world. Theodore Robert Cowell was born in 1946 at a home for unwed mothers. His mother, Louise married John Bundy when Ted was five and he grew up in the Bundy household taking his father’s name as his own.
Kevin Sullivan wrote “The Bundy Murders: A Comprehensive History” in 2009. I would urge you to read this book first. I hadn’t – so it was jarring to frequently be told how details had been described in the previous book. I wish I had read that first!!
The book being reviewed is a follow-up with fresh information based on more recently published literature, research and interviews by the author.
Bundy made his first attack against a woman in January 1974. She lived to tell the tale as he left her for dead but she managed to survive. He would not make that mistake again. He made sure the victims were well and truly dead. He was known to have performed macabre acts with some of them even after their death.
Many friends and co-students said Bundy as a young man was attractive and a person easy to know. A large number of his victims fell into a trap laid by him because he was a skillful actor. He persuaded them to believe the stories he concocted on the spot to lure them to him. The insights into the human mind are fascinating. How could one so diabolical be so clever. Medical experts opined that they could not conclude that he had cerebral dysfunction or psychotic thinking. Yet, he must have committed at least 36 murders!
The author has dome meticulous research to present the facts before the reader. It is scary that Bundy could get away with so much before he was arrested, almost totally by chance for a relatively minor offense in 1978. He was executed in 1989, a full 15 years after his first murder.