Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Bind, Torture, Kill
The Inside Story of BTK, the Serial Killer Next Door

by Roy Wenzl, Tim Potter, L. Kelly, Hurst Laviana

      It hardly seems that we can be talking about reality when we say that a serial killer moved freely within a community for thirty-one years, but thatís exactly what happened in Wichita, Kansas from 1974 until 2005. Thirty-one years... unimaginable, yet it happened.

Dennis Rader — active church member, scout leader, husband, and neighbor lived this Jekyll and Hyde existence under the very noses of the police and other civic administrators and he did it for over three decades.

The authors of this book are all journalists employed by the Wichita Eagle, the newspaper that was closest to this case from its very beginnings.† They had access to every bit of information, newsworthy or not, that passed through their offices as well as police records and other media sources.† But that didnít make it easy to piece together the complicated mosaic that was Dennis Rader. Looking back at his personal accounts, one can only wonder how different things might have been if his blundering mistakes had led to different results; a survivor here, an eyewitness there. The story might have been mercifully shorter.

And the changing times had quite an effect on the investigation. Over the years, quite a number of law enforcement agencies, including the Wichita PD, the KBI, and the FBI grappled with the clues and evidence while careers of individual officers began and ended. Technology changed as well, from a time when most private citizens had never even dreamed about having a computer in their home, until an era when almost every household had at least one. And back in 1974, surveillance cameras were virtually unheard of.† It was modern technology that eventually led to Raderís undoing.

All of the facts from police records were made available to this group of reporters, as well as direct access to many of the victimsí surviving family members. A lot of this book is based on interviews with those closest to the crimes.† The authors have been extremely diligent in the search for the truth and have reported it accurately.

Itís not a pretty story, but true crime never is.

The Book

Harper True Crime
June 2008
Mass Market Paperback
True Crime
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The Reviewer

Dennis Collins
Reviewed 2008
NOTE: Reviewer Dennis Collins is the author of The Unreal McCoy and the second installment in this series, Turn Left at September. He's also's "Between the Pages" columnist, covering the mystery genre and related topics.
© 2008