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.
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 Myshelf.com's "Between the Pages" columnist, covering
the mystery genre and related topics.