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In the Still of the Night: The Strange Death of Ronda Reynolds and Her Mother's Unceasing Quest for the Truthby Ann Rule
Synopses & Reviews
FROM TRUE-CRIME LEGEND ANN RULE comes this riveting story of a young woman whose life ended too soon—and a determined mother’s eleven-year crusade to clear her daughter’s name.
It was nine days before Christmas 1998, and thirty-two-year-old Ronda Reynolds was getting ready to travel from Seattle to Spokane to visit her mother and brother and grandmother before the holidays. Ronda’s second marriage was dissolving after less than a year, her career as a pioneering female Washington State Trooper had ended, but she was optimistic about starting over again. "I’m actually looking forward to getting on with my life," she told her mother earlier the night before. "I just need a few days with you guys." Barb Thompson, Ronda’s mother, who had met her daughter’s second husband only once before, was just happy that Ronda was coming home.
At 6:20 that morning, Ron Reynolds called 911 and told the dispatcher his wife was dead. She had committed suicide, he said, although he hadn’t heard the gunshot and he didn’t know if she had a pulse. EMTs arrived, detectives arrived, the coroner’s deputy arrived, and a postmortem was conducted. Lewis County Coroner Terry Wilson, who neither visited the death scene nor attended the autopsy, declared the manner of Ronda’s death as "undetermined." Over the next eleven years, Coroner Wilson would change that manner of death from "undetermined" to "suicide," back to "undetermined"—and then back to "suicide" again.
But Barb Thompson never for one moment believed her daughter committed suicide. Neither did Detective Jerry Berry or ballistics expert Marty Hayes or attorney Royce Ferguson or dozens of Ronda’s friends. For eleven grueling years, through the ups and downs of the legal system and its endless delays, these people and others helped Barb Thompson fight to strike that painful word from her daughter’s death certificate.
On November 9, 2009, a precedent-setting hearing was held to determine whether Coroner Wilson’s office had been derelict in its duty in investigating the death of Ronda Reynolds. Veteran true-crime writer Ann Rule was present at that hearing, hoping to unbraid the tangled strands of conflicting statements and mishandled evidence and present all sides of this haunting case and to determine, perhaps, what happened to Ronda Reynolds, in the chill still of that tragic December night.
Now in mass market, New York Times bestselling author Rule investigates the case of a woman whose supposed suicide may not be what it seems.
Now in mass market—#1 New York Times bestselling author Ann Rule delves into the mysterious death of Ronda Reynolds, a former state trooper whose death, ruled a suicide ten years ago, is now considered a murder.
On December 15, 1998, thirty-three-year-old Ronda Reynolds was living with her husband of eleven months in the small town of Toledo, Washington—but she planned to leave him that night and fly to Spokane, Washington where her mother, brother, and grandmother eagerly awaited her visit for the Christmas holidays. But as Barb Thompson, Ronda’s mother, waited in an airport amid Christmas decorations in 1998, Ronda never arrived. Ronda had sounded happy on the phone only hours before, excited that she would be seeing her family. But sheer dread replaced confusion as the news of Ronda’s death arrived. Her husband told a 911 operator that Ronda had committed suicide. Now, a decade later, the only thing we can be sure of is that Ronda Reynolds died violently that night, and the lies and contradictions of her husband began to unravel.
Written with the complete cooperation of Barb Thompson, Ronda’s mother, this is a homicide puzzle that Ann Rule fans will find haunting and utterly captivating.
About the Author
Ann Rule is a former Seattle policewoman and the author of more than two dozen New York Times bestsellers. She is a certified instructor for police training seminars and lectures frequently to law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and forensic science organizations, including the FBI. For more than two decades, she has been a powerful advocate for victims of violent crime. A graduate of the University of Washington, she holds a Ph.D. in Humane Letters from Willamette University. She lives near Seattle and can be contacted through her website AnnRules.com.
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