Publisher and Publication Date: Thomas Nelson. January 29, 2019.
Genre: Nonfiction. True Crime. Biography.
Source: I received a complimentary ebook copy through NetGalley/Thomas Nelson, but was not required to leave a positive review.
Audience: Readers of true crime who don’t mind Christian language per Bible verses and belief.
Article from People magazine about Kerri Rawson’s story.
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.
Facebook page: Kerri Rawson.
On February 24, 2005 Dennis Rader was arrested for murder. Between the years 1974 and 1991, Rader murdered ten people. The murders were both adults and children. Rader had a wife, daughter, and son. He had a job. He had a home. He lived a double life. There were a few glimpses of that “other” person in the home with his family.
Kerri Rawson has written a biography of her life with Dennis Rader.
Thomas Nelson is the publisher. This is Kerri Rawson’s first book. I’m sure Thomas Nelson had an editor work with Rawson, but the book is her lone words.
This point is important, because often with a first book by a new author, a more experienced author will work alongside to help tell the story. When the inexperienced author writes their biography the reading can come across choppy or remote. Add to this mixture, through most of the book Kerri Rawson is in shock. She bounces between, “Oh my God!” and “he is my dad…this can’t be true.” At times, I felt yanked along like a pet out for a dangerous walk. On the other hand, Rawson’s story is organic and raw.
This year I’ve read true crime books for the first time. It has been important for me to read a book written from the perspective of the criminal’s family. It’s rare to find a book or article written from this perspective. I now realize, a serial killer’s family does not want to be found and interviewed. A Serial Killer’s Daughter gave me an idea of what they go through: news media who peak through windows, telephone constantly ringing, family members homes are watched, interviews by law enforcement, and warrants for search and seizure. A serial killer’s family become victims too. It is a death to the life they “thought” they had. It is a death to privacy. And, it is a death to the relationship they had with the family member who is the criminal, perpetrator, and murderer.
Through the entire story I looked for how Kerri felt. Further, how does she feel about how she feels? The book is more about what is happening and less about how she feels. These emotions were hard to find. Later in the book she explains her, “life feels like a lie.” She expresses words like, “numb,” “shaking,” and a “stinging” feeling “in brain.”
I believe the book centering on Kerri and how it relates to her dad as a serial killer should be in the book. It’s unnecessary to give an entire descriptive bio of Kerri’s life. For example, Kerri describes in detail about how she fixed her hair and what clothes she wore.
It is so interesting how Kerri has brought along her father (so to speak) in telling her story. For example, she explains how her father did things, how he taught her to deal with strangers, etc. Can someone explain this one?
Kerri felt they had a close relationship before his arrest. It must be painfully difficult, awkward, and confusing to try and understand and define life as Dennis Rader’s daughter.
I bought the documentary through Prime Video, BTK: A Killer Among Us. Kerri Rawson is interviewed for this documentary. In addition, family members of the victims are interviewed. The law enforcement who were apart of the investigation are interviewed. This is a well put together piece about the BTK. This documentary followed by reading the book clarified some things. It’s a brave act for the victims families to come forward for interviewing. Heartbreaking.