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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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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 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 police with frequent communications, and bragging about his crimes to local newspapers and TV stations. After disappearing for nine years, he suddenly reappeared, complaining that no one was paying enough attention to him and claiming that he had committed other crimes for which he had not been given credit. When he was ultimately captured, BTK was shockingly revealed to be Dennis Rader, a 61-year-old married man with two children.


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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 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 police with frequent communications, and bragging about his crimes to local newspapers and TV stations. After disappearing for nine years, he suddenly reappeared, complaining that no one was paying enough attention to him and claiming that he had committed other crimes for which he had not been given credit. When he was ultimately captured, BTK was shockingly revealed to be Dennis Rader, a 61-year-old married man with two children.

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

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Keeten

    ”This killer didn’t feel human to men. All the guys I’d chased and studied were monsters, but even with the worst of them I usually sensed something familiar and human. No matter how horrific their butchery, I found some shred of fragility within them. But I didn’t get that with this killer in Wichita. Just when I thought I’d studied and classified every variation of evil, along comes this freak. He resided in a class all by himself.” The BTK Killer wants to bind, torture, and kill you. If you ”This killer didn’t feel human to men. All the guys I’d chased and studied were monsters, but even with the worst of them I usually sensed something familiar and human. No matter how horrific their butchery, I found some shred of fragility within them. But I didn’t get that with this killer in Wichita. Just when I thought I’d studied and classified every variation of evil, along comes this freak. He resided in a class all by himself.” The BTK Killer wants to bind, torture, and kill you. If you have been watching the show Mindhunters, you will know that, throughout the two seasons, they have been dangling the BTK Killer’s activities with little asides while the team focuses on other cases. John Douglas was involved with the BTK Killer hunt from the very beginning, even if it was remotely. He worked up a profile of whom he felt the killer to be and, in the case of this aberrant specimen, got several points wrong. Dennis Rader later corrected Douglas’s original assessment, a humbling moment for the FBI’s most celebrated profiler. Douglas was called in to consult several times on the case as it dragged on from one decade to the next. The WPD believed they were no closer to finding out who BTK was in 1991 as they did in 1974. BTK was elusive, unknowable, and really if he stayed smart... uncatchable. I remember one time as a child that my mother asked me to leave the room when a story about the BTK Killer came on the news. Of course, I went upstairs to my room and pressed my ear to the vent in the floor so I could still hear the news broadcast. I had no idea of the significance of what I was hearing. I had no idea, until years later when I was in college, even what BTK stood for. I believe, even for my parents, as terrifying as the news reports were about his exploits, it felt like it was happening a long way away. The Clutter murders, that happened many years before I was born, had a bigger impact on them than the BTK Killer. That was a small town crime that, frankly, terrified the whole nation. If it could happen in Holcomb, Kansas, it could happen anywhere. BTK was killing in Wichita, and of course, things like that are going to happen there. I can only imagine how much frustration Dennis Rader experienced over the years as his crimes didn’t always receive the big nationwide rollout they probably deserved. Even though Wichita seemed like a big city to a kid from Glade, Kansas, it was not a big market town. David Berkowitz, known as Son of Sam, killed in New York City. Richard Speck was in Chicago. Richard Ramirez, known as the Night Stalker, killed in LA. The list goes on and on. The most famous of serial killers were operating in big market arenas. It is sort of like the Kansas City Royals trying to compete for media attention with the New York Yankees or the Los Angeles Dodgers. There were some baffling aspects to BTK that did not fit any profile. He took long breaks between killings. In Mindhunters, we saw Berkowitz asked about this, and he was somewhat baffled by it as well, but he was emphatic that the killer had to be getting a fix somehow. Dennis Rader had a family. He was president of the Christ Lutheran Church. He held down a job. He wasn’t the typical loner, anti-social, misfit living in his much hated mother’s basement while plotting more exciting ways to kill people. As annoying as this beard part of his life was, it did hinder him from killing more people and contributed to keeping him above suspicion. The FBI and the police department were hampered by their own assumptions of his profile. It was fortunate that Rader had a vivid imagination and could visualize the deaths of women without actually performing them. He would sit in classrooms in high school and have the girl sitting next to him tied to the railroad tracks and would almost explode in his pants when the train would eviscerate her body. He drew scads of vivid and precise pictures over his entire adult life, showing women tied up, incapacitated. It was, after all, all about the rope. He would tie himself up and hang himself off doorknobs and, without even touching himself, orgasm. His wife caught him more than once in such an awkward situation. Uhhh honey, this isn’t what it looks like. And he would be right. It was much, much worse. Rader was afraid of women, and our species has a long history of reacting the same way to fear. We kill what we fear. John Douglas took the reader through the decades of frustration as detectives didn’t seem to make any headway. BTK disappeared for such long stretches that they even started to believe that he had been incarcerated for another crime or died. He was always planning more deaths and had several attempts thwarted by something altering his plans. There are women still alive today who would be a picture on a list of BTK victims if something hadn’t interceded. His MO was to cut the phone lines before entering a house. For decades, people in Wichita would come home, and the first thing they would do was check to make sure their phone still worked. Just about the time that people would start to believe they were safe again, another body, bound, tortured, and killed, would show up. I’m not going to discuss how they finally caught him, but when you read the book, you might chuckle if the circumstances weren’t so dire that humor is hard to embrace. John Douglas came up with the concept of a Supercop. Someone who talked directly to the killer. Someone the killer might form a relationship with, and this proved to be a very astute decision. Dennis Rader couldn’t help but continue to reach out to Detective Ken Landwehr. He saw him as an equal, even someone sympathetic to him. It was like they were working together. As long as BTK continued to talk with someone, the chances of catching him in a mistake increased exponentially. The book filled in a lot of gaps for me. It read like a fiction thriller. It was shudder worthy reading. I’ve read enough books about serial killers that there is one theme that emerges that I believe needs to change, and Douglas happens to agree with me. We need to give the public more information so that they can be better prepared to defend themselves. The police department or the office of the Mayor is always too worried about panicking the public when the public simply needs to have enough information to be more vigilant. Some details about the MO of a killer would help. Don’t believe a serial killer when he says, if you do what he wants, you will live. Compliancy does not equal living. Women living alone, who are usually the favorite targets of serial killers, need to get a man (feminists, I’m joking) and if not a man, which is perfectly understandable, a dog. Serial killers are cowards. They don’t want to get hurt. They are looking for the weakest victim they can find who fits their profile for the moving pictures in their head. Rader passed on several potential victims when he discovered they had a man in their life or a dog in their house. I read recently that there are over a 1000 active serial killers in America, and when I say over, it could be a lot over. It is a deviancy that seems to be gaining more members than fewer. What is wrong with society that we are creating more monsters? There is no rehabilitation for serial killers. If they escape from prison, as did Ted Bundy, they continue to kill. It isn’t usually brilliant police work that catches them. It is usually a mistake by the killer, or the killer wants to finally bask in the glow of his accomplishments by turning himself in. We are fascinated with them because we want to understand them, but in my case, my mind just won’t stretch that far. If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com I also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ankit Garg

    "Inside the Mind of BTK" by John Douglas recounts the story of the capture of BTK and the events that led to it. The author also puts down his experience interviewing the killer in jail, and tries to narrow down the reason that made him do what he did, along with his mental condition. For the uninitiated, BTK stands for Bind, Torture, Kill. It was the modus operandi of the serial killer named Dennis Rader who preferred this nickname. He terrorized the city of Wichita in Kansas, USA for over three "Inside the Mind of BTK" by John Douglas recounts the story of the capture of BTK and the events that led to it. The author also puts down his experience interviewing the killer in jail, and tries to narrow down the reason that made him do what he did, along with his mental condition. For the uninitiated, BTK stands for Bind, Torture, Kill. It was the modus operandi of the serial killer named Dennis Rader who preferred this nickname. He terrorized the city of Wichita in Kansas, USA for over three decades before getting captured due to his foolishness while trying to satisfy his ego. The book makes for an interesting read. In the very least, it presents all the facts related to the case in a single place thus making it easier to follow. The part about his mental position is fascinating, and leaves one wondering how one human being can be so cruel to many others. TW: Needless to say, all the gory and macabre details involving the killings are vividly explained time and over again throughout the prose. Verdict: Recommended.

  3. 4 out of 5

    juice

    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. 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.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Raven

    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 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 writing is awful, and the structure of the story is awkward at best. Two words can sum up my feeling about reading this book: Don't bother.

  5. 5 out of 5

    David

    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 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 he first began, in the 70s, but had no further connection with the case until many years later, after the killer was caught and identified and imprisoned for life. At this point, Douglas, now long-since retired from the FBI, is filled with a desire to interview Rader. The interview itself is only the last chapter of the book, achieved after a lot of hoop-jumping and negotiations with an unfortunate would-be author who had already secured exclusive rights to Rader's story. Douglas's meeting with Rader behind bars at the El Dorado Correctional Facility in Kansas was anticlimactic. Rader presents exactly as we'd expect: a psychopath who is matter-of-fact about his crimes, as there is no point in denying them now, yet still trying to game his image and what people think of him. He's able to tell Douglas little that we don't already know about him, and few additional insights are gained about the inside of this sick pervert's mind. Still, the journey along the way was both fascinating and disgusting. Dennis Rader was no criminal mastermind, no charming Manson-style leader or scary monster who makes you look away from his chilling gaze. He was a not-particularly-bright man obsessed with bondage and killing, who wormed his way into positions of small, petty authority where he could terrorize people in small ways while terrorizing Wichita, Kansas in a very real way at night for decades. The only particularly unusual thing about him, as Douglas notes, is that he stopped killing for a while, long enough for the police to think he'd either retired or died, and then started again. It was when he restarted that he got caught, as he began making use of new Internet and word processing technology. This proved to be his undoing. He was quickly tracked down, arrested, and sentenced to life imprisonment. Is there anything to learn from Dennis Rader's story? Douglas talks a little about what might have made Rader the way he is. He rejects the "broken from birth theory," though the evidence seems pretty strong that Rader, like all serial killers, was a sociopath at an early age. Douglas probably prefers to believe that Rader had a choice and therefore is fully responsible for his crimes. That seems mostly a philosophical point; we may be curious how someone becomes a serial killer, but with little ability to identify and prevent them, we do as a practical matter hold them responsible for their actions when they are caught, as we must. Douglas repeatedly refers to Rader and other killers like him as "monsters" who deserve to die, which they surely are, but it makes him sound less clinical and more personally invested. Understandable for a former fed, but given that he has little insight to offer on that score, sometimes it just felt like an obligatory reminder that John Douglas is a good guy fighting bad guys, even though he's long since hung up his badge. This is not a book for people who have a high degree of empathy for victims, even strangers, as the crimes of the BTK killer are described in detail, though here Douglas does remain clinical rather than gratuitous, aside from a few sympathetic (but wrenching) speculations about what the poor victim must have felt, realizing only after they are tied up what they are really facing. What stood out to me was how banal and ordinary Dennis Rader was — a dweeb who could've been taken down by anyone who had the foresight to fight him, yet a combination of luck and cunning allowed him to kill and kill again, even after several botched adventures. John Douglas tries to link himself to Rader's eventual capture by describing how the techniques he innovated decades ago were used, but he really had nothing to do with Rader's actual capture and there's not much evidence that any of the advice he ever gave to the police helped them catch Rader sooner. I read this mostly because I am currently in the planning stages of a novel involving a serial killer, so on that score, this book was useful as it did put us inside the mind of the BTK killer. It's ironic, tragic, and disturbing that it's such a small and unimpressive mind.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

    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 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 outputting and distracting at times. I really just want to know the facts of the case, what motivated BTK, what made him go underground for such longs periods of time, and what finally led to his capture, but to get to that you really have to skim through Douglas' ramblings about how awesome he is and how he almost died one time because he was TOO INTENSE and now he has a great respect for life, but is still SUPER INTENSE. So yeah, it is a very good and thorough account of the life of the serial killer called BTK (and, if you're like me, the accounts of the murders will give you some nightmares) but you also get Douglas' self-important writing style and his unnecessary put downs of various people and institutions (because he is smarter and better than everyone, especially you).

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ned

    This is one of the best of its kind due to the credentials and experience of the primary author (Douglas) and the effective style (which I suspect was contributed mainly as an advisory/editing function by the co-author Johnny Dodd). The reader needs relief from the awful story line, that of Dennis Rader who nearly avoided detection for heinous crimes spanning over three decades. The retired FBI profiler and expert, Douglas, is part of the story – as he consulted with the Wichita local detective This is one of the best of its kind due to the credentials and experience of the primary author (Douglas) and the effective style (which I suspect was contributed mainly as an advisory/editing function by the co-author Johnny Dodd). The reader needs relief from the awful story line, that of Dennis Rader who nearly avoided detection for heinous crimes spanning over three decades. The retired FBI profiler and expert, Douglas, is part of the story – as he consulted with the Wichita local detective unit back in the 1980s and many years hence was one of the few to interview the murderer when he was finally, and fortuitously, captured in 2005. Douglas’ obsession with such crimes is fueled by a massive ego and something like a grudge against the FBI, where the normal battles for ideas and tactics occurred. But this actually drives the story line, I felt as reader I could see through the author’s occasional grandiose claims (and chest thumping) much in the way he saw through the killer’s overt (and covert) deceit. The story interested me for a number of reasons. Having grown up in rural Kansas, and having visited Wichita (and having relations there), I had a sense of what life in a smallish city in heart of the Midwest was like. The killer looked and likely behaved like people I have known. What is so terrifying is how he was able to hide in plain sight. As a youth I was also shocked to my core when my pastor was found dead, apparently of self-induced auto-asphyxiation (I won’t elaborate). This monster, Dennis Rader, was into that and much, much more when his Mr. Hyde emerged. Unfortunately, he learned early how to hide the monster, and thus was able to indulge his perversions as a hobby underneath an otherwise ordinary life with an apparently loving wife and two beautiful kids. But the signs were all there, and I hope that we know better today than back then how to spot pathos before it consumes the mentally ill and, when psychopathic, keep him from hurting us. Men are nearly always the ones whose narcissism and lack of empathy turn into physical or psychological violence to others. Having a wife and two daughters of my own, I feel it is my duty to protect them against what lurks in the heart of some men. Of course there was little help for some of Rader’s victims, they were strangers who just struck his fancy, and he stalked and carefully planned the carnage – typically ending in slow and prolonged torture prior to meeting their fate. There were (are – he is still alive but in prison for life) several unusual aspects about this case, other than the fact that BTK (self-named for “bind, torture, kill”) was so successful leading a double life. Probably the most surprising is that his killing was sporadic (several in 1974-1978 and a few more in the late 1980s). Douglas tells us (he’s made a career studying and getting to know serial murderers, often of a sexual nature) that such people don’t retire, typically their urges intensify until they slip up and are caught. BTK became obsessed at the time of his murders with taunting police and the public, not uncommon for some of these lonely, impotent men who enjoy the power of a reign of terror. The smallish city of Wichita was his playground, in this regard, and his jobs put him in homes and he was a common daily fixture to the public (as it turns out, he broke into hundreds of homes over the years and took small trophies, gaining some perverse pleasure from it). What was strange was his emergence after 25 years to the public, in the form of letters and public taunts – as it turns out this was orchestrated by police, apparently BTK could not resist when he heard his story was being told by someone not in the know. The mystery of how a serial killer “stopped” is part of what makes this book really interesting, and the author plays that out well till the end. Another unusual facet of this story is that the killer actually confessed, is alive, and left behind voluminous evidence. This was a treasure trove for Douglas, who spent a career trying to understand what makes these evil people tick. He hopes to be able to predict sooner who will be violent and help police capture them sooner. Rader was one sick individual: He had a fetish about ropes and bondage, often securing himself and getting relief for bizarre sexual urges. One can’t help but feel sorry for his family. Douglas found some evidence that family members found out about this – an implies that perhaps they suspected his identity as BTK. After that he guesses that Rader took his weirdness out of the home and into nature / hotel rooms – and stopped killing. Douglas wonders if there are more murders post 1994 which Rader won’t confess to since that’s when Kansas brought the death penalty back. I’m glad to be done with this – the strange circumstances and the killer's ultimate capture made this tolerable. And I appreciate being reminded that evil truly walks amongst us – more care will be applied to protect and advise my family. But the wretched details of what humans can do to each other is always disconcerting when one gets to the actual truth and details of it. Heavy and sorrowful for mankind. The author’s self-congratulatory tone notwithstanding, I am giving this 5 stars because for its type this is one of the more readable and entertaining books on a very difficult topic. As stated, I suspect Johnny Dodd reigned in the egocentric Douglas and together they created an excellent, perhaps the definitive, story on BTK.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Erik Lazier

    I must say I'm surprised by the negative reviews. Whatever one thinks of John Douglas & his considerable ego, where else can you find so much first-person writing by a serial killer about his own crimes, in pages which were never intended by their author to be made public (& are thus less likely to represent misdirection?) Douglas could have framed it any way he wanted and it still would be a page-turner, simply by virtue of the inclusion of so much material taken directly from Dennis Rader's pr I must say I'm surprised by the negative reviews. Whatever one thinks of John Douglas & his considerable ego, where else can you find so much first-person writing by a serial killer about his own crimes, in pages which were never intended by their author to be made public (& are thus less likely to represent misdirection?) Douglas could have framed it any way he wanted and it still would be a page-turner, simply by virtue of the inclusion of so much material taken directly from Dennis Rader's private journals chronicling his horrible hobby. To the previous reviewers: if you're looking for something with more of a traditional narrative & 'cop story' feel, I'd point you towards "Bind, Torture, Kill" by several members of the Witchita Eagle newspaper staff, featuring a great deal on the hunters rather than the hunted. IMHO, "Inside the Mind of BTK" stands ultimately as one of the most revealing looks directly into the soul (or lack thereof) of a serial killer ever published, and essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the phenomenon (particularly from a *subjective* perspective.)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    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 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?

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sidney Prescott

    I'm a big true crime buff. I thought I knew a lot about BTK. Then I read this book. Inside the Mind of BTK is an information packed, incredible detail, long winded non fiction book. But I wasn't bored once. John Douglas does an amazing job of sharing every bit of information you could imagine and feeds your true crime craving. I've noticed a lot of the reviews on here talk about John Douglas being too self-congratulatory but I have to disagree. It didn't bother me. Sure, he speaks a lot about his I'm a big true crime buff. I thought I knew a lot about BTK. Then I read this book. Inside the Mind of BTK is an information packed, incredible detail, long winded non fiction book. But I wasn't bored once. John Douglas does an amazing job of sharing every bit of information you could imagine and feeds your true crime craving. I've noticed a lot of the reviews on here talk about John Douglas being too self-congratulatory but I have to disagree. It didn't bother me. Sure, he speaks a lot about his personal life and sets the scene of his thoughts with descriptive paragraphs of where he works and how he's feeling. But I loved this! The BAU fascinates me and Douglas gave me a sneak peek into how it works and how it's developed. Great read for anyone who has a fascination for the true crime. The only thing I'll say badly about this book is the actual interview with the BTK. Don't get your hopes up too much. It's interesting but it's not this mind blowing, all revealing interview.

  11. 5 out of 5

    John

    Story - 4.5 Narration - 4 Very creepy.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    After living in Wichita, Kansas for over forty years and spending ten of those years working for the Wichita Police Department, I'm pretty well-versed in the BTK case. It was hard not to be, since he was Wichita's very own homemade boogeyman, haunting our city, our newspaper and our local TV news for over 30 years. Now it's time to figure out if John Douglas, the man who pretty much invented FBI criminal profiling, is also an expert on BTK, or if he's just looking to dash off a poorly-researched After living in Wichita, Kansas for over forty years and spending ten of those years working for the Wichita Police Department, I'm pretty well-versed in the BTK case. It was hard not to be, since he was Wichita's very own homemade boogeyman, haunting our city, our newspaper and our local TV news for over 30 years. Now it's time to figure out if John Douglas, the man who pretty much invented FBI criminal profiling, is also an expert on BTK, or if he's just looking to dash off a poorly-researched book to make a quick buck. He was a municipal employee; he worked for the city of Wichita as a compliance officer... This isn't even close to the truth. Dennis Rader never worked for the city of Wichita. He was a compliance officer for Park City, which was about 30 miles away from Wichita. The TV series Mindhunter got this part right, but the guy who wrote the book Mindhunter failed. The date was January 15, 1974. That was the moment the city of Wichita underwent a transformation because of what took place in a white house with black shutters in a lower-middle-class, predominantly white neighborhood in the southeast part of town. When the man responsible for the event fled the dwelling at 803 North Edgemoor Street around noon... It wasn't in the southeast part of town. It was in the northeast part of town. That's why Edgemoor has the word "North" in front of it, instead of "South". ...had to slam on his brakes to avoid plowing into him as the neighbor backed onto Murdoch Street. It's spelled "Murdock". All that expert criminal profiling and you didn't take time to learn how to read a street sign? And that's when this book and I parted ways. As I've said, I spent far too much of my life with Dennis Rader's shadow lurking around every corner... or about two miles away from my house at one point in the '70s. And, in the end, he turned out to be a half-witted murderer and chronic masturbator who would probably have been caught decades earlier if DNA testing had been invented. So I'm pretty sick of Dennis Rader. I understand the fascination with the myth of BTK, but the reality is that he's nothing but a monomaniacal sadist who couldn't control his urges any more than a chimpanzee can keep from flinging its own feces. The only thing there is to learn from Dennis Rader is revulsion. However, I have enjoyed a couple of John Douglas's books in the past and I thought maybe he'd be just the man to put together a comprehensive and insightful look at the case, something he managed to do very well in just one chapter on the Jon Benet Ramsey murder in The Cases That Haunt Us. And I'm sure these details seem pretty nit-picky to someone who didn't spend four decades waist-deep in the trail of horror and misery left by this psychopathic dolt. But this is John Douglas. My rung on the "law-enforcement community" ladder was much, much, much lower than his was. But if I had turned in a report with that many factual errors in just the first few pages, I would have gotten a good, old-fashioned "law enforcement community" spanking complete with forms to fill out, meetings with supervisors and internal investigations. And if John Douglas can't get the little details right, why trust what he has to say on the important stuff? This book fits my profile of a cynical, superficial grab for headline cash most likely to be spotted next to the magazines in the Walgreen's "Literature" section, probably last seen wearing a "From the Mind Behind the Netflix Series Mindhunter!" blurb on its cover.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Worst Douglas book. I was disappointed. The information was good but the writing annoyed me. I blame the new co-writer.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Erica

    If you're looking for a really comprehensive, descriptive, in-depth look at BTK, this is a pretty good book. The dissection of BTK's personal writings are nearly exhaustive and include information I've never found anywhere else, and the comparison of early profiling vs. the actual profile of Dennis Rader was fascinating to me. However, Douglas just rubs me the wrong way as a writer and a law enforcement professional. I've also read his other book, "The Cases That Haunt Us," and also came away wit If you're looking for a really comprehensive, descriptive, in-depth look at BTK, this is a pretty good book. The dissection of BTK's personal writings are nearly exhaustive and include information I've never found anywhere else, and the comparison of early profiling vs. the actual profile of Dennis Rader was fascinating to me. However, Douglas just rubs me the wrong way as a writer and a law enforcement professional. I've also read his other book, "The Cases That Haunt Us," and also came away with a bad taste in my mouth just because of his tone. He comes across almost as narcissistic and self-important as the serial killers he writes about; he goes out of his way to mention his own accomplishments while subtly minimizing and/or criticizing the incredibly talented people he's worked with that have contributed just as much, if not more, to solving the cases he worked on. For a book about something as seriously grisly as the BTK Strangler, I found myself actually rolling my eyes and snorting out loud over the number of times Douglas wrote things like, and I'm paraphrashing, "I was a young officer on the force (and actually the youngest ever hired)", "I won't even consider my 'wannabes' at Quantico as experts until they've been under my watch for 5 years," and "I was introduced to BTK as an FBI consultant who'd been specially flown in to meet with him, and his eyes told me how important that made him feel." On numerous occasions he goes out of his way to pat his own back, while providing strangely critical vignettes of the very people who did the footwork in arresting Dennis Rader (such as Casarona and Landwehr, both of whom were absolutely active and instrumental in solving the BTK murders yet described as checked-out and relatively incompetent in Douglas's opinion.) Overall, solid info about BTK and his perversions, and the paraphrased discussions with BTK were some of my favorite as I'd never read anything like it before (I'm just assuming they are accurate.) Skip over the sections where Douglas talks about himself and his history/training, they have nothing to do with BTK and only serve to establish his "credibility" and stroke his own ego, ironically much like the serial killers he profiles.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    Guys, this book kinda scared the shit out of me. Anybody that breaks in, then fu*king HIDES in there, waits for you to come home, then waits some more, until you're asleep to come quietly out of the closet to kill you is enough to make me want to build a tree house at the top of the tallest tree I could buy. THAT does it for me. The "hiding" bullshit. Ugh. Whew. Geez... Anyway, that aside, this was really in-depth, well written, and almost read like a work of fiction at times. Since reading this Guys, this book kinda scared the shit out of me. Anybody that breaks in, then fu*king HIDES in there, waits for you to come home, then waits some more, until you're asleep to come quietly out of the closet to kill you is enough to make me want to build a tree house at the top of the tallest tree I could buy. THAT does it for me. The "hiding" bullshit. Ugh. Whew. Geez... Anyway, that aside, this was really in-depth, well written, and almost read like a work of fiction at times. Since reading this B.T.K. became, and remains on my all-time top-3 "fave(I guess)" killers list. Right there with the heavy hitters. He's def one of the scariest dudes too. Dahmer was never really "scary" in my opinion, sick as a dumpster-cat behind the local Ming-Wing Diner, but not necessarily "scary." I always picture pulling into my driveway late-night and seeing a "shadow" just beyond the tree-line out back of the house...as I walk closer to check it out I just start to make out that it's B.T.K. standing there, still/silent/stiff, dressed in those women's clothes he dressed in from the victims of his past...fuck me. That's about one of the only scenarios where all bets are off! The wifey/the kids/and anyone else that might've been visiting are all on their own! I...am...gone!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    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 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 well respected family man who was very involved in his community and worked so hard to keep this crazy double life hidden from everyone for so long. Makes you think twice about people in positions of power and authority and those so-called "pillars of the community".

  17. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

    I got to page 286 and stopped...it wasn't very good, and the writer was very arrogant and made it sound as if he single handedly solved the mystery of BTK even though he really had very little to with the actual profiling of BTK and nothing to do with the solving of the case. I also didn't need all the details about the writer. The book is entitled "Inside the Mind of BTK," not, "John Douglas ~ How I Single Handedly Solved the Mystery of BTK and Everything Else You Ever Wanted To Know About Me!" I got to page 286 and stopped...it wasn't very good, and the writer was very arrogant and made it sound as if he single handedly solved the mystery of BTK even though he really had very little to with the actual profiling of BTK and nothing to do with the solving of the case. I also didn't need all the details about the writer. The book is entitled "Inside the Mind of BTK," not, "John Douglas ~ How I Single Handedly Solved the Mystery of BTK and Everything Else You Ever Wanted To Know About Me!" Bleh! Who knows, I may finish it some other time when I am bored.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Doherty

    I like this book and I learned more about the BTK then I heard from the media.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

    Creepy and predictably dark. I was struck by the fact that he was clumsy and nervous and inept. interesting to see the killers perspective. amazed that he wrote so prolifically.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Joe Duncan

    Phenomenal. Mind blowing, well written, intimate, with tons of twists and turns, I definitely couldn't put this one down. Very in-depth. Phenomenal. Mind blowing, well written, intimate, with tons of twists and turns, I definitely couldn't put this one down. Very in-depth.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

    Some interesting information, but challenging to get through. As has been mentioned by several reviewers, this book is so close to unreadable due to the way it has been written. The information is fascinating, but the author is so self-congratulatory and egotistical that it's hard to swallow without gagging. Yes, Mr Douglas, we know you started the profiling unit at Quantico, and yes, you were an FBI agent from 1970, and yes, you retired from the FBI in 1995, and now do pro bono work for local la Some interesting information, but challenging to get through. As has been mentioned by several reviewers, this book is so close to unreadable due to the way it has been written. The information is fascinating, but the author is so self-congratulatory and egotistical that it's hard to swallow without gagging. Yes, Mr Douglas, we know you started the profiling unit at Quantico, and yes, you were an FBI agent from 1970, and yes, you retired from the FBI in 1995, and now do pro bono work for local law enforcement. Yes, you are very clever, but for heaven's sake, why do you assume your readers are so stupid we won't absorb anything unless it's bludgeoned repeatedly into our skulls? The book is frequently repetitious, such as explaining twice what victimology is within a couple of pages. Whoever was in charge of editing this book should not be allowed anywhere near a book until they have realised and repented their sins. And the lame, clichéd, cringe worthy symbolism at the conclusion, where JD drives towards the light?! Lordy; were they trying to write a book that was a test of reader tenacity? There are so many irrelevant details, I strongly suspect the writer and editor were paid by the word. Other people may be interested to hear that John Douglas drinks chardonnay (again, we are told this at least three times) and that the person he meets with drinks Jack Daniels and coke (twice) and chews the ice, but I did NOT care, and strongly suspect that it didn't add one iota to the story. I also did not care that JD was dripping with sweat when visiting Wichita, or that the grass was dead AND brown at Dennis Rader's house. John Douglas was at his best when suggesting what could be done to improve the tracking and apprehension of criminals. That the US should have a national system where unsolved crimes are recorded seems a no-brainer, but even here in Australia with our much smaller 24-odd million population, we haven't managed that; of course it would be more difficult to achieve when dealing with 50 states with their own ways of doing things. He also suggested revealing information to the public via the media, making the media a tool for the greater good. It's a measure of how interesting I found the topic that I managed to make it through this book. The writer side of me was alternately cringing, rolling on the floor physically buffeted by the awfulness of the style, and pulling my hair out while internally screaming (so as not to alarm the neighbours). If JD is so clever, why can't he write a better book? Because he has written quite a few books, you know. . .

  22. 5 out of 5

    Marissa Michael

    This is my first read about a serial killer in America, named Dennis Rader. Everyone can be suspected as a serial killer because they are humans like us as well. Talk like us and behave like us on the facade. But behind close doors, there's no streak of normality as to their routines and the activities that they involved in particularly the solitary one i.e drawing. Dennis is passionate in drawing torturing women since his childhood. I like how the author addressing the background of the serial ki This is my first read about a serial killer in America, named Dennis Rader. Everyone can be suspected as a serial killer because they are humans like us as well. Talk like us and behave like us on the facade. But behind close doors, there's no streak of normality as to their routines and the activities that they involved in particularly the solitary one i.e drawing. Dennis is passionate in drawing torturing women since his childhood. I like how the author addressing the background of the serial killer in this book. Unlike most serial killers, he didn't suffer any physical nor emotional abuse but growing up in a loving family environment, involved in church, has a wife, and 2 grown up children. Dennis is well aware about how different he is from other kids, he is fetish with ropes. Simply put, he's into BDSM. I am not sure whether he will go for killing if BDSM community exist in 70s. Douglas done a great job in writing this book about BTK though I have difficulty to stomach the graphic details of the killing. His writing style is what get me through. Wanna know the irony? A serial killer like Dennis devour detectives magazines and news about killing for the purpose of inspiration and to fuel their desire to do the same 'game' like how the entrepreneurs wannabe read about successful entrepreneurs. I'm reading this book because I'm interested to know how the series killers think, how they select their victims, and why they do what they do. I'm looking forward to read more books by Douglas.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cadie Sommer

    Another homerun for John Douglas. Sadly this is the last book of his I had left to read. I hope he writes another one soon!!!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kathy B

    He was a sick puppy. So dang demented..

  25. 4 out of 5

    Angus McKeogh

    Pretty interesting stuff although Douglas wasn't a part of the Witchita Police force. But a fairly fascinating read on how one of America's sickest individuals was tracked and taken down. Maybe not the best writing however. But a good read. Pretty interesting stuff although Douglas wasn't a part of the Witchita Police force. But a fairly fascinating read on how one of America's sickest individuals was tracked and taken down. Maybe not the best writing however. But a good read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Claire- Louise

    I wasn’t sure I wanted to go there with this one, due to the heinous nature of the crimes. But I was also interested in Douglas’s take on it after recently reading My Father: The Serial Killer, which is an extremely mild account from the daughter of the BTK killer, as she really didn’t have an inkling about her fathers double life. This book however, was a true account and insight into the horrors he inflicted, and it does what it says- takes you inside the mind of a killer. From a criminal psyc I wasn’t sure I wanted to go there with this one, due to the heinous nature of the crimes. But I was also interested in Douglas’s take on it after recently reading My Father: The Serial Killer, which is an extremely mild account from the daughter of the BTK killer, as she really didn’t have an inkling about her fathers double life. This book however, was a true account and insight into the horrors he inflicted, and it does what it says- takes you inside the mind of a killer. From a criminal psychology perspective, it was fascinating and chilling. From a human perspective, It was utterly harrowing and one that will keep you awake at night.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Book started off slow. I wanted to get right into the BTK story. However, halfway through, i couldn’t stop and finished the book in one night. BTK is one of my favorites. However, I wish there was more detail. I know this sounds bad, but wow the guy was definitely a grade one serial killer to lead police on a 30 year hunt. Crazy.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rachael

    This was my first John Douglas read, and I really enjoyed it. I look forward to reading more of John Douglas' books. This gives a very insightful and disturbing look into the mind of BTK. If you like true crime, give this one a go! This was my first John Douglas read, and I really enjoyed it. I look forward to reading more of John Douglas' books. This gives a very insightful and disturbing look into the mind of BTK. If you like true crime, give this one a go!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    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 "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 torture other beings. Before 1994, he killed at least 10 people, ring them up and either strangling or suffocating them as he watched, growing more and more excited as Death neared. Then he went silent for a decade. In his book, Douglas explores not the normal avenues of this twisted man - his childhood and upbringing; his perverted inspirations; his own chilling stories in a (somewhat) face-to-face prison interview - he gives you more of an in-depth look into Rader's psyche, sharing bits of Rader's personal journal, "prizes," and profiling the man as he goes. This book is a good one for true crime and John Douglas fans alike, but it's a GREAT one for anyone wishing to know more about what caused a seemingly normal (he could out normal everyone, according to Douglas), church-going family man to not only kill... but to feel compelled to cruelly torture others.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    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 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 the right to be a little full of himself, at least in terms of his career accomplishments. The reason I am giving this book 4 stars is due to the amount of spelling errors. I think he did a great job covering the cases, the victims, and the killer's mindset. Dennis Rader makes me physically nauseous. He's honestly one of the most appalling people I've ever read about, and this book made me take deep breaths because he's such a monster. He just grosses me out, in laymens terms. I will continue to work my way through Douglas's books, and probably continue to gross myself out in the process.

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