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A Serial Killer's Daughter

Narrated by: Devon O'Day
Length: 9 hrs and 6 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (16 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

What is it like to learn that your ordinary, loving father is a serial killer? Kerri Rawson, the daughter of the notorious serial killer known as BTK (Bind, Torture, Kill), tells the nightmarish story of that discovery and of her long journey of faith and healing.

In 2005, Dennis Rader confessed without remorse to the murders of 10 people, including two children - acts that destroyed seven families and wrecked countless lives in the process. As the town of Wichita, Kansas, celebrated the end of a 31-year nightmare, another was just beginning for his daughter, Kerri Rawson.

Suffering from unexplainable night terrors for much of her childhood and young adult years, Kerri was unaware of her father's crimes until the FBI knocked on her apartment door, plunging Kerri into a black hole of horror and disbelief. Her dad had been leading a double life. The same man who had been a loving father, devoted husband, church president, Boy Scout leader, and public servant had been using his family as a cover for his heinous crimes since before she was born.

Telling her story with candor and courage, Kerri writes for all who carry unhealed wounds and who struggle to protect themselves and their families from the crippling effects of violence, betrayal, anger, and loss. A Serial Killer's Daughter is an intimate and honest exploration of life with one of America's most notorious serial killers. For anyone grappling with how to forgive the unforgivable, rebuild lives in the shadow of death, and hold on to sanity in the midst of madness, Kerri's story will shock, astound, and ultimately encourage.

©2019 Kerri Rawson (P)2019 Thomas Nelson

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Insight but too religious.

I found this book interesting, but in regards to religion it is far too religious, if I had known there was so much religious talk in the book I would not have read it. I am comfortable with my religion, & find people who are extremely religious quite hard to take.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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boring as bat poo

oh my gosh, if I could give this negative stars I would. the narrator is so slow and slow bad I had to almpst double the speed for her to dmsound normal. At normal speed she sounded like she was trying to convey something very simple to a naughty and stupid child.

The book itself shouldn't be in true crime it should be wherever they stick Christian books. Rawson has little insight into her father's behaviour and focuses a lot of the book on how normal their family is. thiugh she describes her father as a pressure cooker she never says what happens when he explodes, he is never abusive- oh except for the two times he tried to strangle her brother. I feel like there probably were behaviors that weren't normal that she just doesnt want to focus on.

So much of the book is focused on Rawson and her family, there is such a me me me vibe, between the narrator and this selfish attitude I just couldn't finish it. I really didnt want to waste s few more hours to hear how she eventually forgives her father (cos I'm sure she will) even though it isnt her place and he doesnt deserve it. If you want to learn how a woman finds God on a camping trip this is the book for you, if you wanted any kind of real insight into how people live with a serial killer for 30 years look elsewhere.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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An amazing story

Kerri shares the story of her life before and after the charging of her father with horrific crimes.
We get to know the father who is like any other in his devotion and care for his family. The many camping trips and love for the outdoors, the strict upbringing and generally the reliable guiding figure for his wife and two children.
She conveys very well the struggle between not recognising the killer but still finding she loves the ''father she knew' until well into her twenties''. I struggled with her when the FBI called and she to's and fro's between "no that's impossible'' to ''hang on... he wasn't home that day'' discussions.
How does a person deal with such a tremendous shock which just keeps on shocking, day after day with each new revelation or memory.
Kerri succeeds in sharing the horror which keeps at her, while at the same time feeling the need to write to the man who has destroyed all their lives.
In keeping with her father's calculated, self absorbed, psychopathic character, he still manages to sound relatively normal and entitled in his letters back to her.
The family of this killer were as much victims as the families of those who were taken out of this life by the hand of Kerri's terrible parent.
It's an eye opener and I'm pleased to have heard it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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BTK is my dad.

My heart breaks for Kerrie reconciling her truth. What an amazing insight to a story that spanned decades & facinated the media. I thank her sharing her difficult story.

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  • M. Waite
  • 30-01-2019

Couldn't Get Through it

The story is about her finding Jesus with her dad's murders thrown in as asides. Also, the narrator sounds as if she is reading to children. I just couldn't finish it.

86 of 93 people found this review helpful

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  • JAD31
  • 29-01-2019

Extremely Boring!

As much as I feel so bad for this woman and her family, her story is a big snooze-fest. The narrator puts no dynamic in her reading. Very, very boring. If you're looking for a story about Dennis Rader/BTK... this is not the book for you. I would not recommend this to anyone.

54 of 59 people found this review helpful

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  • Jeff Scott
  • 01-02-2019

Not For Everyone, But...

I found this book fascinating, but it’s not for everyone. Listeners with a generalized interest in true crime will probably be disappointed. If you can’t at least tolerate the Christian worldview (regardless of your personal beliefs) you’ll find this to be unlistenable. However, for patient listeners, I assure you there could be no weirder listening experience than listening to this book and “Inside the Mind of BTK” by John Douglas back to back. I’ve listened to this book twice now, and all I can say at this point is that I’m seriously fearful the author of this book might one day read “Inside the Mind”. It’s clear she hasn’t, for understandable reasons, but I just....I don’t know. The two books together leave me with so many questions I would be afraid to ask this author (who is, no doubt, a remarkable and courageous woman). If you can read this with a compassionate heart this is well worth your time, but to “get it” you definitely need to know the details of the BTK case from another source/criminological perspective. I’ll be listening to both several more times trying to reconcile the elements of truth both contain.

22 of 24 people found this review helpful

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  • cheryl.farren
  • 29-01-2019

Can’t bring myself to finish this mess

I was so excited about this book but after forcing myself to listen to a few hours I can’t go any further. There is very little talk about her father. If you want a book where she describes the color of everything she sees and uses this platform to tell her story of becoming a Christian then this is for you. The narration is awkward and reads more like a children’s book than a book about a serial killer.

55 of 62 people found this review helpful

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  • Rachel - Audible
  • 29-01-2019

Can you love a monster?

I've grown to love what memoirs can reveal about our shared humanity when the author is willing to dig deep. True crime, on the other hand, has always given me nightmares. Enter the true crime memoir. It turns out I love true crime memoirs! When super creepy, criminal acts are filtered through the very personal, introspective lens of a memoir, I can handle it. I can stop covering my eyes. I can peer a little more closely into the depths of humanity.

Kerri Rawson's astonishingly candid book about learning her beloved father had been leading a double life as a serial killer her entire life is the mother of all true crime memoirs. It touched me to my core. I'm all for the "complicated father-daughter-relationship" memoir, and it doesn't get any more complicated than "my dad is a serial killer." What I love about this book is how she fully explores the heart's confusion around knowing someone's a monster yet loving them anyway. She's so honest and pure in these moments, and her voice truly moved me.

I also really appreciated the thread of dark humor that she weaves into her story. Being able to laugh at your pain is such a hallmark of surviving crime, trauma, and abuse, and Kerri Rawson has all that in spades. Even in the darkest moments of her story, she tosses out unexpected one liners that endeared her to me even more. She's funny, and it turns out she's also a very talented writer and storyteller.

The first half of the book moves a bit slowly as she describes her family's life "pre-BTK," as in before anyone knew about her dad's double life. But this part of the story still has lots of payoff as it establishes the close relationship she had with her dad, as well as lays the foundations for her religious beliefs that would ultimately see her through her darkest hours. When she finally gets to "after-BTK" about halfway through the book, the story accelerates to lightning speeds, and I had to give myself a few little breaks only because it had gotten so intense.

Even though the cover puts this story squarely in the "true crime" camp, I hope this memoir will find a wide audience as I truly loved it and found it to be a deft and moving account of a life that most of us can hardly even begin to imagine.

28 of 32 people found this review helpful

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  • Baytown Anita
  • 29-01-2019

Children’s Book Narrator

Unlistenable! what should have been a dramatically -interesting and hearty read was ruined by a narration, only suited for the children’s fairy tale genre. what a huge letdown and what a huge shame -
Once upon a time....

31 of 36 people found this review helpful

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  • Kat - Audible
  • 09-01-2019

Who do you turn to when the bogeyman is your own father?

When Kerri Rawson moved into her first apartment, her dad, Dennis Rader, showed her how to keep its sliding-glass door secure at night. It wasn’t until years later that she learned her father—better known as the BTK Killer—once threw a brick through a neighbor’s sliding-glass door and killed the woman inside.

Such devastating, irreconcilable memories haunt this extraordinary memoir—the most soul-searching, insightful, and compelling account by a serial killer’s loved one (and victim) I’ve ever come across. Rawson’s life was upended when Rader, a Boy Scout leader and church president, was exposed as the cruel predator who had tortured and murdered 10 people in Kansas over nearly two decades. What happened to her after that—the trauma and PTSD, the publicity, the fracturing of her family and entire world—can hardly be overstated. You’re unlikely to hear a memoir this jaw-dropping…ever. But Rawson’s nervy humor, her spiritual candor, and her capacity for compassion make her an endearing, even relatable, heroine—warmly voiced by narrator Devon O’Day.

I congratulate Rawson on writing a terrific memoir that must have taken immeasurable courage. Forget the monster; I want to know where this remarkable survivor is going next.

40 of 47 people found this review helpful

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  • Melanie
  • 31-01-2019

The book I needed and I didn’t even know it

What a powerful life account. I laughed with the author and cried along side her as she recounted memories and life’s journey. In tragedy, there’s always another side to the story. Thankful to hear this one and how much it relates in ways I can’t even explain.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-02-2019

Rawson is strong, but guarded.

I appreciate her journey. I'm happy she was able to put some of her memories about her dad down in writing.
The content was interesting. Sort of. It wasn't real or raw or emotional in any way. It is very stiff and guarded. The opening, where she is informed by the FBI that her father had been arrested is the most "real" part of the book.
She is able to express her fear very well. Her other emotions, not so much. But who can blame her?

As a side note... I was perplexed when she complained about Stephen King's book and how it exploited the victims. King's novella was incredible. And Kerri's criticism was weird. The book in no way exploited anyone. At all. There are LOTS of books about her father that could be considered that way.
So from that admittedly biased perspective, I thought it was odd that the victims played no part in her story. Other than names and the date her father murdered them.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 04-02-2019

Very good read.

This story was better than I thought it would be. I finished it in one weekend. The narration wasn't the best, but the story made up for it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Miss Lauren M Downes
  • 08-02-2019

True crime? Nope!!

Honestly the worst audiobook I’ve ever had the misfortune of listening to.
I’m not sure what I expected with this book, as a true crime ‘enthusiast’ I at least expected to learn something about the BTK case I hadn’t already known. I finished this book not having gained a single fact. About anything.
I cannot stress enoughthat this is NOT for fans of true crime, if that’s you, keep moving, this book is not for you. You will be extremely disappointed, it shouldn’t be listed in true crime, because apart from the fact the authors father is Dennis Rader, it may as well be listed in cooking for all the similaries it shares with true crime!
This book starts out like a bad entry into a teenage girls diary and the only time it diverts from that narrative is when it segways into bible verses! Neither of these areas hold any interest for me!
I have read other books by relatives/friends of serial killers and found them a fascinating insight into the struggles to accept, understand or even forgive what their loved one has done, this book? Any time that she begins to face any kind of peril she simply recites verses of the bible.
Four years ago she publicly attacked Steven King for basing one of his books on her parents marriage, she said that King was ‘exploiting my father’s 10 victims’, I should have known this book was utter rubbish when she personified hypocrisy by writing the damn thing!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Charlotte B.
  • 13-02-2019

Just wanted to write an autobiography

“A Serial Killer’s Daughter”
Synopsis: although the title leads people to believe it’ll be about the heartbreak of the author’s discovery that her Dad is BTK, actually is the autobiography she wouldn’t have been famous enough to publish without using the name Dennis Rader.
This comes after recent digs at established authors and documentary makers for giving her Dad the attention he “doesn’t deserve” and profiting from the heartbreak of the victims’ families. Guess she wanted in on those profits.
I mean, none of us would turn down the chance to make some cash and she’s doing it the only way she can, but she could at least TRY and make the content match the title and she really should have asked someone to write it for her because she never was and never will be a writer. And to be honest, I think she’s said too much about how she feels about giving BTK any more notoriety to suddenly appear with her book and it’s just too late.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Andy Ellis
  • 14-05-2019

Fascinating insight into a struggle for survival

I know these memories and reflections must have been exceptionally painful to write. My heart truly breaks for you. I hope that it was at least to some extent therapeutic for you to write and I pray you find some peace as you make new and better memories with your children. The book has been so illuminating into just how devastating one person's actions can be on so many lives.

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  • Yeti
  • 29-04-2019

For BTK enthusiasts or Christians only

If you are interested in knowing every little detail about BTK then this is worth a go, there's no particularly shocking new information but you will learn more about how BTK behaved around his family (spoiler: mostly mundane). If you're a Christian looking for a story of overcoming dark times then this will probably also be interesting to you and, to be fair, on the front of the book is printed 'My Story Of Faith, Love And Overcoming' and it does tick these boxes.
The narration is the worst aspect for me, the woman reading this gives it the feeling of some cheesy daytime TV made for housewives, something like Loose Women. She also gives Kerri a child-like voice and intonation throughout the book, and as many of the things Kerri writes about her own actions and thoughts are child-like the whole thing becomes quite irritating, hearing the story of an adult woman told as if she is forever 5 years old.
I have no problems with her writing this book morally, she should be able to tell her story and also make money from it, she's had a rare experience and is guilty of no BTK crimes, she's entitled to make profit from her work.
There's a long section near the beginning about some family trip to the Grand Canyon which I found mind-numbing from boredom and to make it worse I struggled so much to hold attention that I kept having to skip back a few minutes and try again, as I didn't want to have missed any interesting BTK information among the waffle. If I had known beforehand I'd of skipped that entire section, you don't learn much from it.
Also she often recalls memories in a way which seems to me to be highly embellished. Maybe I'm wrong but I don't think Kerri could really recall scenes in this way, knowing the sequence of her thoughts going through her mind, or how her voice sounded, or if she was shaking or whatever, there seems just too much description of her feelings and other details in a way that makes me question the authenticity of these details.
I've not quite finished it yet but am looking forward to doing so asap. Though I am glad that Kerri wrote this, I would of preferred less condescending narration and about 80% of the filler cutting, though the book does deliver on it's title.

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-03-2019

A unique story told but the only person qualified

Such an interesting read of a young woman's love & relationship with her father.... And the devastating effects of his crime.
BTK is a scary yet fascinating character. Kerri writes her own story & how she has navigated through the unimaginable. By all accounts one can not help but forget that the father she love is in fact BTK.
This is HER story. I saw an interview when she said "people don't realise, I don't know who BTK is... I just know my father". A brave woman with an awful legacy that some people hold the entire family in some way responsible is just ridiculous. Such a brave memoir.