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Bind, Torture, Kill

The Inside Story of BTK, the Serial Killer Next Door
Narrated by: Keith Sellon-Wright
Length: 11 hrs and 7 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (42 ratings)

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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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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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 :)

41 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.

50 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.

8 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!!!

11 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.

16 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.

3 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.

5 people found this helpful

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  • kitzarina
  • 2018-04-05

Fascinating Account

I’ll add on to the other glowing reviews of this audiobook—it’s extremely well written and grips your attention. My only issue is the narrator’s mishandling of local jargon. I’m a native Wichitan and nobody ever spells out K-A-K-E when talking about the news station—it’s pronounced “cake.” Also, it’s the Ar-Kansas River, not Arkansas (like the state). The KAKE TV references were the worst misread and took me out of the narrative every time they came up.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Nate Mang
  • 2020-01-22

Very informative, entertaining, and well written

I enjoyed the writing style and the overall story, which focused on the murders in chronological order while including the story from the police and investigation side. It was good to hear about the personalities of the officers and detectives involved, and how the case weighed on them physically and emotionally.

The narrator, while not perfect, didn’t bother me. I can understand how previous reviewers said he sounds a little like a computer, but I quickly got over that. Fortunately, you can sample it before you buy it and decide for yourself.

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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.

3 people found this helpful