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A Serial Killer's Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love, and Overcoming

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  2,649 ratings  ·  316 reviews
What is it like to learn that your ordinary, loving father is a serial killer?
In 2005, Kerri Rawson heard a knock on the door of her apartment. When she opened it, an FBI agent informed her that her father had been arrested for murdering ten people, including two children. It was then that she learned her father was the notorious serial killer known as BTK, a name he’d g
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published January 29th 2019 by Thomas Nelson
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3.63  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,649 ratings  ·  316 reviews

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Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It is a serious and terrible sorrow when others must carry the burden and fall-out of someone else’s criminal acts. “The Serial Killer’s Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love, and Overcoming” (2019) fortunately is a rare and highly articulate memoir written by Kerri Rawson. Rawson’s father, Dennis Radner, the self-identified BTK, ruthlessly murdered 10 people, (2 victims were children) in Wichita, KS. (1974-1991). Radner is serving 10 consecutive life sentences for these crimes in the Kansas El Dora ...more
Valerity (Val)
A Serial Killer’s Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love, and Overcoming

I approached this book with my mind and feelings completely open and was really surprised how much I came away with from it. Kerri Rawson is fresh and likable as she tells her story of growing up in her family in Kansas. She describes it as just a totally normal, semi-dysfunctional family who works, goes to school, has vacations. Pretty typical family, it seems. She comes across very real as she shares her story and I find it lik
Lisa Elizabeth
This was really boring. I kept losing interest. I didn’t need to know the minute details of a summer camping trip in the early 90s to understand that BTK masqueraded as a good father for decades. I wanted to hear about the process of reconciling the father and the serial killer. That’s why I wanted to read this book. However, I don’t need the author’s entire life story to get there.


I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was not paid for this revi
Feb 01, 2019 rated it did not like it
should’ve been filed as some religious memoir
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars.

I will always forgive memoirs for things I would not forgive a novel for. The reasoning being: people who write memoirs are not authors. They are in the sense that they've published and written a book, but this isn't their job, this is them telling their story to the world. So while yes, I had some issues, I also didn't really let them affect my reading.

I'll start off with my minimal issues before I get into the things I really enjoyed.
This was a bit too heavy on the religion for my t
Kristy K
2.5 Stars

I commend Kerri Rawson for having the strength to write this and carry on after finding out who her father was.

I think this would have done better as an essay. The first third to half of the book was basically a normal girl with normal problems lives a normal life. I know it was there to show how we never know what may be hiding in the shadows, but it really dragged. Once Rawson got to the part where her dad was arrested, things picked up. It was sad to see how affected she was by what
Mar 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Kerri wrote an honest and eye opening book. It’s about her life with a serial killer for a father and how her life spiraled after finding out. She does talk quit a bit about her faith too. I hope and wish the best for her.
Rachel Smalter Hall
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
♥ Marlene♥
Not sure if I can finish this because I am so bored by it it makes me fall asleep. She talks about her father a bit but she talks about her faith so much more.I should have known looking at the title. That being said her life is not anything special except for the disgusting cruel things her cowardly father did. This book would never have been published and certainly not purchased if not for her infamous father.
Okay I finished it yesterday. The second half of the book was a bit more inter
Ashley Rayford
Feb 12, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: biographical
I’ve always been fascinated by true crime and serial killers. I remember when they found out BTK was Dennis Rader. When I heard his daughter was writing a book I was very intrigued. I can’t imagine finding out someone you love so dearly has done such unimaginable evil. That said, I did not enjoy this book. It is poorly written and it’s basically Kerri being very long winded about how much she suffered. I understand there is going to be an element of that in this situation, as I said I can’t imag ...more
Jan 31, 2019 rated it did not like it
Just one long poor me self-serving pity party.
It's okay. Kerri doesn't go into explicit details about her father's murders. It's not explotive or sensational.

It is as advertised. Life with a serial killer for a father and the fallout when finding out what he is.

I wasn't into the hour long section about a family camping trip, nor did I much care for all the god and religious parts.
Apr 07, 2019 rated it did not like it
So, I'm feeling kinda like an asshole giving this only one star, but hear me out.

Kerri Rawson, who, of course, is the daughter of Dennis Rader aka the BTK serial killer, starts off her book well enough, offering a concise history of her family and her parents' relationship up til when Kerri and her brother are born. She then begins to recount her childhood, spending chapters upon chapters narrating her vivid memories of camping and hiking trips with her family/father.

It quickly became less a mem
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2019
This review was written for NetGalley and Nelson Book. I received a free copy for an honest review.
What is it like to learn that your ordinary, loving father is a serial killer? Kerri Rawson writes an insightful and honest perspective of another side of her father, the BTK killer. She relates her growing up years with her father and shows a couple of traits that could have been clues but also shows a man of master deception. I was happy to see how supportive her husband was and how he helped he
Suzanne McLean
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
I feel bad rating someone's memoir only two stars, but this was not very well written. At all.

First of all, the pacing was really weird. Rawson gives us a glimpse of her early years over a few chapters, which is fine, but then we spend SIX CHAPTERS reading about a backpacking trip she took with her dad to the Grand Canyon in the mid-nineties. I kept expecting something to happen during that trip that might tip her off as to her her Dad's dark side, in order to warrant so. many. chapters. But no
Feb 02, 2019 rated it did not like it you probly noticed I didn’t finish reading it. I made it a few chapters in and it’s literally the girl’s life story...”my uncle was great because he was always quick with a joke.....Grampa pulled me close and told me how proud he was of my graduation.....Dad killed the Otero family one morning when my Mom was pregnant with me...Grandma’s house was always my favorite place to visit, especially on the holidays, she always had the classic Christmas music playing while we all sat around and ...more
Jadrian Wooten
Feb 15, 2019 rated it did not like it
I'm mad at myself for not quitting this book.
Mar 11, 2019 rated it liked it
First and foremost I'd like to praise the author's bravery in coming forward like this, speaking about a situation that's unimaginable. When we think of the victims of serial killers, we usually just think of the murdered themselves--we don't think about the family of the person who committed the crimes.

This is the story of an ordinary person thrust into extraordinary circumstances no one would want to experience. The author's faith plays a big role in her life; she references it frequently. Re
Sally Lackey
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read in a day

For all we have been confronted with in the BTK story, this book was a glimpse into the personal devastation to Dennis Rader’s own family. Kerri weaves a story giving the reader the background of her growing up years with her father which allows us to truly understand the shock and trauma she has been through since the day of his arrest. I couldn’t lay this down.
Luann Mailman
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've always wondered what families of serial killers go through. This was a well written, easy to read and fascinating trip through the author's life. I started reading on Monday night, and finished in less than 24 hours. Living in Wichita, and having read over the years about the murders made it even more interesting to me.
Mar 03, 2019 rated it did not like it
I hated this book more than words can say. If it were possible to give negative stars I would. I was expecting a books about what it was like to find out you've been living with a sadistic murderer and share DNA with a monster but instead it is more like someone's journey to christianity and someone who I don't think I like very much at all.

The clincher for me was when she expressed hurt that when it came time for her father's sentencing they decided to present evidence of the crime to satisfy
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
While Barnes and Noble had this book under "True Crime" I feel it would be more aptly shelved in Christian Living or Christian Memoir. While Kerri does recount the traumatic events of discovering her father is BTK, she beautifully weaves her faith journey throughout - from walking away, to coming back, and ultimately God working through her to forgiveness.
Jan 31, 2019 rated it liked it
I really wanted to LOVE this book, because I love memoirs and true crime most of nearly any genre... but I just didn’t love this book. There was too much born again Christian ideology in this book that felt just as alienating on the page as it does in life. However in Rawson’s defense, if there is ever a time to look to forms of fundamentalist faith for meaning I suppose it is when your dad is a serial killer and you’ve been traumatized to the point where you really need a close personal connect ...more
Feb 19, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: audible
Super disappointing. I was very excited to read this book and while it did have some interesting information, I felt like this was a book that was focused mostly on Kerri's religious experiences. I was not anticipating this to be so Jesus-y.
Emily Schultz
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Kerri focuses on her experience of healing, rather than the murders. People who are upset by this seem to be missing the point of a memoir. She makes it the clear that the book is about her life experience, trying to recover her identity when it becomes exploited and distorted at the hands of her father’s heinous crimes. Other survivors can see some of their pain in hers, as they grapple to put their lives back together over trauma. The narrative is gentle and thoughtful, and I was able to read ...more
Caleb Hoyer
Jan 28, 2019 rated it liked it
I had no idea this book existed until I came across it in the bookstore. I've been interested in this case for a long time, particularly the family aspect of it, and I'm really impressed that Kerri Rawson had the courage to write this book and share this story. The book itself is a mixed bag. I always appreciate when people who aren't writers by trade still write their books themselves. But the risk of that is that the writing is not of the highest quality, and that is the case here. There's als ...more
Kimberly Lund
Feb 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019-reads
As someone who has lived in Park City, KS for the last twenty years, I couldn't not read this book. I've been a true crime reader for 30 years, long before I moved to the area, and having BTK arrested in a place that was home to me was jarring. Reading this book -- one of dozens of true crime books I've read over the years -- and knowing the places she mentions and having lived much of the same life made me think and evaluate. However, I would not actually classify this as true crime, but more o ...more
No one should buy or pick this book up. It’s an attempt to profit from the infamy of being BTK’s daughter and make a bit of money on the side by playing the victim card. An infuriating read. An apologist manual. Also a self-pitying exercise. Apart from great denial and support for BTK which oozes from every pore of this woman and her mother and in fact her entire family. Yes, Kerrie Lynn Rawson did not endear herself to me, neither did her extended family. Her first letter to her incarcerated ‘d ...more
Niklas Pivic
This is the introduction to the book:

On February 25, 2005, my father, Dennis Lynn Rader, was arrested for murder. In the weeks that followed, I learned he was the serial killer known as BTK (Bind, Torture, Kill), who had terrorized my hometown of Wichita, Kansas, for three decades. As he confessed on national television to the brutal killings of eight adults and two children, I struggled to comprehend the fact that the first twenty-six years of my life had been a lie. My father was not the man I
Liza Fireman
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is outstanding. It is an unusual point of view on serial killers victims. Kerri's life changed forever in a heart bit, she is the daughter of BTK, Bind-Torture-Kill. Her father, an almost perfect family man, killed 10 people, including 2 children, a few of them after she was born and just a few feet away from her house.

The book starts with the FBI agent coming to speak to Kerri. The scene actually speaks loud. Kerri's father, had put fears in her from strangers, and for a good reason.
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Obsessed with Tru...: A Serial Killer's Daughter 1 50 Jan 12, 2019 10:47AM  
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Kerri Rawson is the daughter of Dennis Rader, better known to the world as the serial killer BTK. Since her father's arrest, Kerri has been an advocate for victims of abuse, crime, and trauma, sharing her journey of hope, healing, faith, and forgiveness. She lives with her husband, two children, and two cats in Michigan.