A Serial Killer's Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love, and Overcoming by Kerri Rawson
Having been an avid reader for several years, consistently devouring anywhere from 65 to my highest record of 227 books per year, true crime has become an essential component of my literary mix. The recommendation for this book came from a coworker with whom I’ve been exchanging reading suggestions over the past few months. This exploration into the world of BTK was part of her list of must-reads.
Although I’m grateful to have read it, I must admit that this true crime narrative proved to be exceptionally challenging, even with its relatively short duration of six and a half hours. Let me begin my review by acknowledging that it’s a powerful story. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to Kerri and her family, and I commend her for not only penning this book but also for the courage to share her deeply personal narrative with the public.
This audiobook proved to be a satisfactory to commendable experience. While the narrative exhibited a degree of repetition, this could be deemed understandable, given the relentless spiral of shame and the excruciating aftermath that the family endures while unraveling the harrowing details of Dennis Rader’s heinous deeds.
What piques my curiosity is the apparent absence of dysfunction within the family despite this man’s dark and disturbing personality. While there were instances of him losing his temper, his wife’s response typically involved suggesting he step outside. More alarming were two incidents where he came dangerously close to strangling his son, only to be thwarted by his wife’s intervention. Acknowledging his short fuse, it’s perplexing that Dennis Rader’s children did not distance themselves from him as a result. His daughter even speaks of him as a great father. It’s only during his incarceration that she begins to recognize his narcissistic traits, occasionally labeling him a con man. The revelation of his malevolent schemes in their childhood home triggers anger at being deceived.
She briefly touches upon his childhood acts of animal abuse and his morbid fascination with murder. However, the book falls short of delving into the potential reasons behind his development of a criminal mind in childhood.
In the initial chapters, Kerri, away at college and grappling with severe depression, doesn’t attribute her emotional struggles to events from her childhood. Remarkably, her father actively supports her during this period, making weekend visits to aid in her battle against depression.
The family photos depict a seemingly normal life, with fishing trips and outdoor adventures, showcasing a father who loved the outdoors. The stark contrast between this façade and the concealed murderous capacity and violent tendencies is deeply unsettling.
The deception that allowed a man to conceal his homicidal inclinations from his wife and family is profoundly disturbing. My sympathies extend to Kerri and the entire family for enduring such a chilling revelation.
If you’re a true crime enthusiast, consider clicking the link below. I recommend approaching this one with caution; it delves much deeper into darkness than I initially anticipated.