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Publisher's Summary

For 31 years, a monster terrorized the residents of Wichita, Kansas. A bloodthirsty serial killer, self-named "BTK" - for "bind them, torture them, kill them" - he slaughtered men, women, and children alike, eluding the police for decades while bragging of his grisly exploits to the media.

The nation was shocked when the fiend who was finally apprehended turned out to be Dennis Rader - a friendly neighbor...a devoted husband...a helpful Boy Scout dad...the respected president of his church.

Written by four award-winning crime reporters who covered the story for more than 20 years, Bind, Torture, Kill is the most intimate and complete account of the BTK nightmare told by the people who were there from the beginning. With newly released documents, evidence, and information - and with the full cooperation, for the very first time, of the Wichita Police Department's BTK Task Force - the authors have put all the pieces of the grisly puzzle into place, thanks to their unparalleled access to the families of the killer and his victims.

Contains mature themes.

©2007 Wichita Eagle and Beacon Publishing Company, care of Mary Tahan (P)2018 Tantor

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What listeners say about Bind, Torture, Kill

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  • Overall
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Maybe read Wikipedia instead

I'm VERY mixed. It does a good job of explaining how Rader avoided capture and some of his motivations and thoughts before, during, and after the killings. It also never loses sight of the fact that his victims were real people that suffered greatly, and approaches that well

On the other hand it is exhaustingly pro-police, refusing to acknowledge any mistakes that the cops made over Rader's reign of terror. It mentions some (like how they assumed BTK was Hispanic for a decade) but brushes them aside as part of the investigation process.

I wish it was more critical instead of acting like the police were perfect heroes who did nothing wrong and just got unlucky. They have nothing to blame but themselves. I'm not saying it would have been easy, but he should have been caught in the 80's. Rader made so many mistakes during his crimes.

Also the second half of the book focuses mostly on the years where Rader didn't kill anybody and holy cow is it boring. This part is filled out with some of the cop's personal stories and I can't even tell you how little I care about those.

I'd honestly say just go read Rader's wikipedia page if you're curious. This book is fine overall but it's not worth the time. It doesn't provide much more insight than what can be gleaned online about him. The narration is fine, the writing is fine, but there's nothing too remarkable or unmissable about it.

3 people found this helpful

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Loved it

I really enjoyed it. I was saving it to listen to on my long commutes but found myself listening at home as well. couldn't put it down. I love that you get so much insight into the police and everything they struggled with both professionally and personally.

3 people found this helpful

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Very well paced, expertly written

Unlike a lot of other books on serial killers, this one is exceptionally well written with the benefit of hindsight and context. It's written like a story frequently jumping between the life of the killer and what each of the investigators were doing at those particular moments in their lives. It creates this engaging narrative that feels very satisfying when they reveal how they caught him. Overall I highly recommend this book.

1 person found this helpful

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well written and read

well written and read. I find true crime to be very interesting and this is a very good example.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amy
  • 2022-03-04

Pretty good

Pretty good audiobook. Definitely focuses more on the investigation and media side of things - without highlighting any of their mistakes (which there were plenty...). It was good to have the focus of the story be from the different perspective. It did include bits from Rader's POV, which fleshed out the story more.

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narrator is way too cheerful for such a dark story

really hard to listen to at times. Denis Rader is a monster, but overall good book.

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Terrifying Crimes Presented Casually

This is a dark topic. But for some reason it's delivered with a light, almost jocular tone. Dennis Rader was a genuine monster. His crimes were shocking. This book is written by a number of the reporters that covered the case, interacted with police, and corresponded with the killer. It is complete - full of crime scene descriptions and colored with details from Rader's confessions.. including mistakes the killer made, his fear of getting caught, and his anger at not getting credit for his "accomplishments", but it presents truly horrifying crimes nonchalantly. The writing by Roy Wenzl, Tim Potter, L. Kelly, and Hurst Laviana is decent, but intentionally written in a narrative format - like a bedtime story. It's way too light for the subject matter.

Keith Sellon-Wright reads the text clearly, but contributes to the light-hearted impression with an oddly emotive reading style. He reminds me of a volunteer Librivox Reader I have heard. Not terribly professional.

Altogether, this is a somewhat disappointing 6/10 book about a fascinating killer.

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Excellent

Excellent book. It gives a full account of everything BTK from all sides. My only complaint was the use of all the different names that came into the investigation, as it got confusing sorting out who was who. But at the same time, that’s real life crime work on a big team.

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  • POLLY POIZENDEM
  • 2018-03-01

Just That Nerdy Guy Next Door . . .


Scary thought indeed - If it wasn't for his driving need for recognition, he might have very well gotten away with this. Wow. Only through HIS repeated contacts with the newspapers was he finally tracked down - otherwise, he could have just faded into oblivion. Who would have ever suspected him, the dull ordinary church going guy next door? Busy with his job, wife, family, social activities, AND oh, lets squeeze some murders in between all that so I can be home in time for dinner...

I was captivated listening to this. I never knew that much information relating to his crimes, and certainly not all the vivid details of how things evolved and progressed. The stalking, the murders. Neighbors even! Him taunting the police with his cryptic messages left everywhere, leaving them stumped. For years. What a story! Very thoroughly done. Surely this will be a definitive BTK reference resource for true crime enthusiasts. The narrator was fantastic too - three thumbs up :)

60 people found this helpful

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  • 6catz
  • 2018-02-19

Stomach churning

Co-written by a group of local Wichita journalists, this book dutifully documents Dennis Rader’s crimes, along with the 30 year manhunt that led to his eventual capture by dogged WPD detectives. I read a lot of true crime. I’ve read about killers that made me cringe before, but I have to say that this . . .thing in a human body made me sicker and more disgusted than anyone else I’ve read about. I fast forwarded through certain horrible segments, just needing get to the capture. Kudos to he brave men who tracked him down. I’m off true crime for now. Well done, but be warned.

69 people found this helpful

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  • Pamela Plimpton
  • 2018-05-10

Good addition to my true crime library!

I was just young enough to vaguely remember this case. This was very interesting to get all the behind the scenes info & it was chilling to listen to the details of the crimes. He seemed to be so "matter of fact" about everything -- just that nerdy Dad dude next door. Hard to imagine how minds like this work to be able to kill and then lead what appears to be such a normal life. Good add'n to my library of true crimes.

16 people found this helpful

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  • H. Fites
  • 2018-11-26

Women, victims, supportive wives and little else.

This book is such a throwback to a world where women are victims, supportive wives and nothing else. If you are interested in hearing a bunch of guys congratulate each other for failing to catch a rather simple minded man for 31 years this is the book for you! "We're really bad at what we do but at least we are men!" Perhaps if there were a few different points of view in this archaic police department they might of cut those 31 years by a few decades. Unknowingly this is a book more about what is wrong with police thinking than it is about catching a killer. To put a cherry on the top of this misogynistic tome the boys club (yes it took four men to write this thing) take a shot at the DA one of the only women in the book still breathing because she took 9 minutes at a press conference infringing on their spotlight. Also they feel a need to mention that she's a Democrat, why? The ONLY time they have anything good to say about a woman is when she is dead or accepting neglect of their own families.

So, meh. Save your time.

26 people found this helpful

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  • Stephen T. Cooksey
  • 2018-05-17

Well done!

An interesting read from beginning to end. Well written and we'll performed. Many details I didn't know.

8 people found this helpful

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  • MrsCeeDoubleAargh
  • 2018-02-23

good 'n creepy

I enjoyed the book, though I had to take frequent breaks between chapters. as an avid reader of true crime I summarily dismissed BTK over the years, I didn't find him or his crimes interesting. this book changed that. though Rader himself is dull, the cold and calculating way he went about his crimes and how it was told in a way many books such as "killer clown" about John Wayne Gacy, and "the stranger beside me" about Ted Bundy never did. I also enjoyed the focus on the police and civilians who helped work the case for over 30 years, it's another view point rarely taken in books of this nature.

26 people found this helpful

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  • sanaz
  • 2018-03-22

Horrifying

This was so horrifying I tried to return the book. Since it didn't quality for return and I needed material to keep me going on the treadmill, I ended up listening to it. The narrator does an excellent job. I'm not a cop but my thought was, whoever tied those knots in the first homicide would be either a sailor or a boy scout. Was very surprised at the firm of events. Maybe I should consider a career change!!!

16 people found this helpful

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  • Joshua C. Mccormack
  • 2021-07-05

PG book about a depraved serial killer?

BTK was a notoriously devious and disgusting serial killer (aren't they all?) This is the most vanilla, PG rated, boring audiobook about true crime that I have ever listsned too. It's not that I want to hear all the twisted disgusting details, but one needs to get a sense of how depraved these disgusting people really are and I'm afraid people will come away from this book with zero idea just how really evil BTK was. The book starts to describe his crimes in very general details and stops before he progresses to the actual murders. Perhaps the author wanted to tell more of the story behind the investigators who eventually caught BTK, but even that side of the story was incredibly boring - with mindless detail after detail that lends nothing to the story. There is courtroom video of BTK spending over an hour recounting the details of his crimes - I thought this book would pick up from there and expand. It didn't. It didn't even do a good job of summarizing the direct narrative from the killer himself. What an absolutely horrendous book, waste of money, and poorly researched and presented account of a truly, horrific and depraved lunatic.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Steve Moore
  • 2018-07-08

Engaging true crime story

Enjoyed the parallel story line of the lead investors along with BTK. Life events for both the BTK and detectives well developed. Good sequential order of events with good amount of details and background info. Recommend this book for any true crime fan.

11 people found this helpful

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  • R. MCRACKAN
  • 2019-01-30

Chilling true crime

Despite some times where the pacing could have been improved, this was engaging and chilling true crime. The details are not the worst I've ever heard nor are they for the faint of heart. Overall, I recommend this to fans of true crime.

10 people found this helpful