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Inside the Mind of BTK: The True Story Behind the Thirty-Year Hunt for the Notorious Wichita Serial Killer
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Inside the Mind of BTK: The True Story Behind the Thirty-Year Hunt for the Notorious Wichita Serial Killer

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  1,281 ratings  ·  66 reviews
A dramatic and compelling true-crime psychological thriller

This incredible story shows how John Douglas tracked and participated in the hunt for one of the most notorious serial killers in U.S. history. For 31 years a man who called himself BTK (Bind, Torture, Kill) terrorized the city of Wichita, Kansas, sexually assaulting and strangling a series of women, taunting the p

Kindle Edition, 365 pages
Published (first published 2007)
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Jan 03, 2015 David rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: serial killing dog-catchers, retired FBI agents missing their glory days
John Douglas is a former FBI profiler - he's written several previous bestsellers, and reminds us frequently in this book about his pioneering work as a profiler and all the other books he's written. I suspect his earlier books are better, as this one, while interesting, seemed like it was very much written to fill a publication slot. Douglas's own connection with the BTK case is tenuous - he provided some advice to police detectives during the initial investigation of the BTK serial killer when ...more
Jan 07, 2008 Mic rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with no idea
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
Unreadably self-congratulatory. It might be an interesting book, but I couldn't get past the "wow, I'm brilliant!" that is all over the start of it.

Grow up, fella.
I've liked John Douglas other books, but this one left me annoyed and disappointed. Douglas states quickly at the start of the book that he had little involvement in the actual capture of the serial killer known as BTK, but I still expected a detailed analysis of BTK's pathology. Instead, the book was mainly "filler", flushed out with stories of Douglas past exploits. BTK's story doesn't really begin until the middle of the book, and most of it is information already reported in the press. The w ...more
if you bought john douglas for what he thought he was worth, and sold him for what he is really worth... you'd make a killing. this book would have been really interesting if john douglas would have just stuck to writing about the killer and not himself. i didn't pick up the book, "btk killer and other musings about my life" by john douglas.
The author may be smart, maybe even a genius profiler, but, damn, is he full of himself. Why didn't he just call this a memoir?
The story and the details of BTK are extremely fascinating in a you-cannot-look-away-because-it-is-too-horrifying kind of way. On the other hand, I kind of hate John Douglas. The cases he works are gruesomely interesting and he has access to all of the details and suspects and witnesses and friends and family, and ok, he was one of the pioneers in the field of criminal profiling (and he WILL NOT let you ever forget that) but he has a very arrogant and self centered style of writing that I find o ...more
Very dark book and not one I would recommend (nor read too much in public) but my rating stems more from the author this time. I have read some of John Douglas's earlier works which I thought were very good but it seems now that he is much more interested in trumpeting his predictions and abilities. There is no question he is among the best at profiling serial killer prospects but I think I admired him more when he let his cases do the talking rather than through self promotion.
A well written book by one of the FBI profilers that helped bring down BTK. Having read a few crime books before this one, I found BTK to be really interesting in the fact that he managed to elude police for so long and the strange way he killed his victims. He was not a rapist, just played out a very disturbing fantasy with every victim in his mind. It was sad to read about how working on this case nearly killed the author and consumed much of his life. Crazy to think that this killer was a wel ...more
This is only my second John Douglas book, but I am definitely going to call myself a fan of the profiler. He's a good writer with a flair for detail (albeit gross details) and I enjoy that in a crime author. When I started this book I read a bunch of reviews on here with people complaining or getting aggravated at the author for his "they couldn't have solved this without me" attitude. I honestly wasn't put off by Douglas's personal stories, his reflections or his feelings. I think he's earned t ...more
Miriam Städtler
This book is more about the author than the criminal - full of unnecessary details that can possibly only be interesting to friends and family. The author clearly finds himself brilliant and assumes everyone else does too. Sadly there was little of his (apparently) so celebrated insight to be found when it came to the truly interesting and revealing descriptions that BTK himself left about his crimes. One would feel a student of criminal psychology would be interested in that, but apparently not ...more
I was hoping for more information on criminal profiling. The book itself wasn't well written, sometimes to a laughable degree. Still, it was a quick read and creeped me out before bed, so it gets a couple of stars.
I am an avid reader of true crime books, and as far as an insight into the mind of BTK, this book delivered. I thought I was desensitised to the horrific antics of serial killers, but the details were pretty gruesome.

However, I have to say that I HATED the writing style. It was so difficult to get past the arrogance and self-aggrandising of the author. His connection to the BTK case was tenuous at best. Yet, compare the way he talks about his role to the way Ann Rule talks about Ted Bundy in 'Th
Worst Douglas book. I was disappointed. The information was good but the writing annoyed me. I blame the new co-writer.
Kristen Doherty
Nov 02, 2008 Kristen Doherty rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: true crime readers
I like this book and I learned more about the BTK then I heard from the media.
In "Inside the Mind of BTK," John Douglas explores the grip of terror in which serial killer, Dennis Rader, held Wichita, KS.

I started reading this book for a few reasons. John Douglas was the premiere FBI profiler and I'm a great fan of his books. But more than anything else, I lived in Wichita in the late 70s/early 80s, so this story strikes a very personal chord in me.

For more than 20 years, Rader targeted young women around the Wichita area with which to fulfill his sick need to bind and tor
In a twisted way, I enjoyed reading this. It's like watching a graphic true crime TV show - you're disturbed, but it's thrilling, and you come away feeling educated. The author, John Douglas, says this about his reasoning for presenting such an in-depth portrait of a sexual serial killer:

"People often ask me why I want to write books about inhuman monsters like Dennis Rader. My answer is always the same: I've ways believed that by taking the sensationalism out of the crimes, I can destroy the m
Nearly two and a half months later and I am FINALLY finished with this book. I have always been interested in criminal psychology and had only briefly heard about BTK. I've seen John Douglas' books on the shelf and decided to read this one. I found this book to be mostly boring, a long, drawn out tale of a nobody who, fortunately, more often screwed up then followed through with his warped, disturbing "projects". The most interesting part was the revelation that Rader kept indepth journals about ...more
Brian McDermott
All in all, I thought this book was pretty incredible and the story was rather horrifying. The author did a great job of detailing the crimes of BTK and incorporating other evidence, journals, etc. into a worthwhile story. My complaint about this book is that the author gets a bit forcefully/unnecessarily poetic and descriptive at some points. It came off as pompous and overly dramatic in my eyes and diluted the raw fear of everything that was going on. Highly recommend taking the time to read t ...more
Brandon Burrup
I've enjoyed most of John Douglas's books so far but this one goes a little too far for me. There is no doubt that the work of Douglas and his counterparts in building the BSU has been invaluable in capturing many criminals and solving countless crimes, but Douglas seems to let this go to his head. In writing a book about a serial killer who's case he was hardly involved with at all, he still comes across as if he is the number one expert on the subject simply for reading the case files. And I c ...more
This book isn't really about Dennis Rader, the BTK Killer from Wichita, it's about John Douglas, retired FBI profiler and how awesome he (perceives) he is.

There isn't anything inside these pages that can't be found online for free, other than the writer's coolness. I must admit, he did have a cool job, and he's not a bad writer. Obviously, he's had an interesting life and he is an interesting man. He reminds us often so we will never forget it...until the book is finished.
Caroline Mitchell
I bought this book as part of my research for my new fiction thriller. I have bought several books on the subject and this is the best by far. It provides a fascinating insight into the mind of a killer and John Douglas writes with an enjoyable style that makes you feel you are in the room with him. Highly recommended for anyone that wants an insight into this very famous and horrific case.
This is the first John Douglas book I've read, it was well worth the read. The details Douglas provides of the gruesome murders is unlike any other nonfiction book I've ever read. Personally, I enjoyed reading about his personal life and how it intertwined with the BTK capture. Anyone who reads this book will definitely get a good understanding of why BTK became a ruthless serial killer.
I don't typically quote "the author on the author," but I think something from the last few pages of the book is very illustrative: "People often ask me why I want to write books about inhuman monsters like [BTK:]. My answer is always the same: I've always believed that by taking the sensationalism out of the crimes, I can destroy the myth. I describe the gory details out of their crimes, but never try and sensationalize their actions." I think that about sums it up. The book is detailed, and in ...more
There's nothing like a good serial killer book. Douglass has taken a lot of heat for focusing on himself too much in this work, but I found his personal journey helpful. It reminded me that I wasn't reading the work of an investigative journalist, but that of an FBI profiler with 30 years of experience tracking serial murderers. His frustrations and intuitions allowed me to understand the complexities and myths of what goes on in the mind of these troubled souls.

While there are plenty of flaws i
Mr Stewart
Clumsy and repetitive writing. Douglas had very little involvement in this case and his primary account is just a rehash of information obtained by the people who did actually investigate it. Douglas makes a big deal of a short interview he obtained with Rader (BTK) well after Rader had been caught and imprisoned. This interview contains nothing of substance.
I did not enjoy reading this book from the author's point of view. I was more interested in the history or life story of BTK, which lacked as it was more about the author's obsession and constant lack of achievement in not catching the serial killer. Overall the facts of this very sick mind of a killer was interesting.
Overall, the book is pretty good and does a very good job of explaining what was different about this particular criminal that made him so difficult to capture. A pretty fascinating glimpse into both what made this serial killer tick, but what makes the author himself tick--and frankly, what they both have in common sometimes. After a while, I began to question some of the offhanded comments the author seemed to feel compelled to include in his book--comments about wishing he could take some vig ...more
Definitly a good read. It reads like non-fiction which just goes to show how crazy BTK actually is. But I think the author (former FBI profiler) took some story lines a little too far, making me roll my eyes because I know that what the author was writing was probably pretty far from non-fiction (regarding the authors own experiences, not anything BTK related), for example, was the author really sitting in a cemetary alone late at night thinking about the case when he suddenly hears something, r ...more
Lashay w.
Dennis Rader was a married 61 year old guy with 2 kids.He had a problem with killing any type of women.It took people years to catch the BTK but one day he came out of the blue and said he feels like no one cared about him and that he commited more crimes then they could ever thnk of. I think it was a good book about telling what goes through poeples heads. Poeple who like to read about true happings and fcats about poepls lives would like this book. But if i had a quastion to ask the BTK I woul ...more
Jaime Hay
Reading about serial killers may not be everyones.favorite activity, but this was a good account of BTKs life and killings. Divided into three parts, the first is a general telling of each murder by Douglas, the second by BTK himself and the third is the exclusive interview. Douglas almost seems to focus the story on himself more than BTK. He takes a stance where it seems he played a huge role in the investigation, when other than his interview the case basically just crossed his desk. The writi ...more
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John Edward Douglas is a former United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent, one of the first criminal profilers, and criminal psychology author. He also wrote four horror novels in the mid 1990s.

More about John E. Douglas...
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