As weird as it sounds, I love true crime. I grew up watching shows like Unsolved Mysteries and Dateline. Now, I frequent the true crime channels on Youtube. For some reason, however, I’ve never got into reading about true crime. I suppose it comes down to the fact that I just don’t read a lot of nonfiction in general, but I couldn’t help but grab A Serial Killer’s Daughter by Kerri Rawson when I came across it in an Ollie’s store. Kerri Rawson is the daughter of Dennis Rader, the BTK serial killer. If you’re not familiar with Dennis Rader, you can click on that link for the Wikipedia page or go watch true crime Youtuber, Georgia Marie’s, Youtube video about him. I knew most of the facts about Rader and his horrific crimes but I thought it would be very interesting to read a story from his daughter’s point of view. This won’t be a typical review because I can’t judge whether the story is “good” or “bad” because it’s a real person’s true story. I’ll mainly be discussing how it made me feel and what I took away from it. Now for the synopsis!
What is it like to learn that your ordinary, loving father is a serial killer?
In 2005, Kerri Rawson heard a knock on the door of her apartment. When she opened it, an FBI agent informed her that her father had been arrested for murdering ten people, including two children. It was then that she learned her father was the notorious serial killer known as BTK, a name he’d given himself that described the horrific way he committed his crimes: bind, torture, kill. As news of his capture spread, Wichitacelebrated the end of a thirty-one-year nightmare.
For Kerri Rawson, another was just beginning. She was plunged into a black hole of horror and disbelief. The same man who had been a loving father, a devoted husband, church president, Boy Scout leader, and a public servant had been using their family as a cover for his heinous crimes since before she was born. Everything she had believed about her life had been a lie.
Written with candor and extraordinary courage, A Serial Killer’s Daughter is an unflinching exploration of life with one of America’s most infamous killers and an astonishing tale of personal and spiritual transformation. For all who suffer from unhealed wounds or the crippling effects of violence, betrayal, and anger, Kerri Rawson’s story offers the hope of reclaiming sanity in the midst of madness, rebuilding a life in the shadow of death, and learning to forgive the unforgivable.
This book gave me a perspective that I did not have before. I can’t say that I’ve ever really given much thought to the families of murderers. It’s pretty common when a murderer is caught for the general public to only want justice for the victims, not realizing that most of the time, the criminal’s family are victims as well. Kerri, her brother, her mother and her extended family were victims. They were completely in the dark about who Dennis Rader really was because he lived two totally separate lives. He would brutally murder people and then come home and be a loving husband and father.
When Kerri talks about growing up and her home life, it honestly sounds similar to my experiences and the experiences of most people I know. I couldn’t imagine growing up in a normal household and one day, out of the blue, a detective showing up to tell me my Dad is a serial killer. That’s exactly what happened to Kerri Rawson, however. That kind of devastating news would destroy most people but Kerri has a strength and a faith in God that is just awe inspiring.
I’m not going to give away any details about the book because I think it’s one that is really worth reading. There are no gory details or anything of that nature in this book because it is too traumatic for her to talk about those things. If you’re into true crime or just good true stories, this is one for you. Are you into true crime? Let me know! Thanks for reading and have a great day!