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Confession of a Serial Killer

The Untold Story of Dennis Rader, the BTK Killer

Katherine Ramsland

In 1974, Dennis Lynn Rader stalked and murdered a family of four in Wichita, Kansas. Since adolescence, he had read about serial killers and imagined becoming one. Soon after killing the family, he murdered a young woman and then another, until he had ten victims. He named himself “B.T.K.” (bind, torture, kill) and wrote notes that terrorized the city. He remained on the loose for thirty years. No one who knew him guessed his dark secret. He nearly got away with his crimes, but in 2004, he began to play risky games with the police. He made a mistake. When he was arrested, Rader’s family, friends, and coworkers were shocked to discover that B.T.K. had been among them, going to work, raising his children, and acting normal. This case stands out both for the brutal treatment of victims and for the ordinary public face that Rader, a church council president, had shown to the outside world. Through jailhouse visits, telephone calls, and written correspondence, Katherine Ramsland worked with Rader himself to analyze the layers of his psyche. Using his drawings, letters, interviews, and Rader’s unique codes, she presents in meticulous detail the childhood roots and development of one man’s motivation to stalk, torture, and kill. She reveals aspects of the dark motivations of this most famous of living serial killers that have never before been revealed. In this book Katherine Ramsland presents an intelligent, original, and rare glimpse into the making of a serial killer and the potential darkness that lives next door.

Paper: $19.95 | E-book: $14.99
ISBN-13: 9781512601527
Pages: 280 | Size: 6 in. x 9 in.
Date Published: August 30, 2016
Imprint: 
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“Groundbreaking. . . . An unparalleled look at the inner workings of one of America’s most notorious serial murderers.”

Broadway World

Reviews

  • Confession of a Serial Killer stands out as the first [book] that takes the form of a collaboration with the serial killer. Unlike many crime books, it does not merely speculate about a predator’s deranged thoughts and schemes but rather plunges the reader into them, revealing in remarkable detail how a well-known serial killer at the end of his life sees himself.

    Rachel Shteir
    The New York Times Magazine
  • Ramsland says her purpose [in writing the book] was to give criminologists, forensic psychologists and others some first-hand insights into a serial killer’s mind, by relating the stories he tells, and how he tells them.

    Wichita Eagle
  • For readers interested in the workings of the mind, psychology, true crime, and criminal justice, this is a unique work, in which the author is a conduit to the thinking process, rather than the descriptor of events.

    Library Journal
  • In Confession of a Serial Killer, Dr. Katherine Ramsland got Dennis Rader to reveal the dark fantasies that led him to murder.

    Rolling Stone
  • Groundbreaking. . . . An unparalleled look at the inner workings of one of America’s most notorious serial murderers - and presents in fascinating, agonizing detail the roots and development of one ‘ordinary’ man’s motivation to stalk, torture, and kill.

    Broadway World
  • Dr. Ramsland offers us insights into the mind of a serial killer rarely seen in criminological literature. I could not put this book down. I am absolutely fascinated by her ability to forge a relationship with BTK that allowed him to share the innermost secrets of his Dark Side. This is a must-read book for anyone wanting to understand the fantasies, behaviors, and mind-set of one of the most notorious serial sexual predators of our time.

    Eric W. Hickey, PhD
  • Based on her extensive, years-long communications with Dennis Rader, Katherine Ramsland’s Confession of a Serial Killer not only presents a definitive portrait of one of our country’s most infamous modern criminals but provides a uniquely illuminating look into the workings of the psychopathic mind. By combining Rader’s autobiographical writings with her own expert commentary, Ramsland guides us through that terrifying labyrinth, shedding brilliant light on every shadowy corner along the way.

    Harold Schecter
  • Katherine Ramsland has crafted a one-of-a-kind book, allowing the reader to journey directly into the mind of BTK, a.k.a. Dennis Rader, a serial killer who eluded authorities for over thirty years. I could ramble on effusively about what she has accomplished through her dialogue with Rader and her review of tons of prime source material, but I won’t. Just know this: It’s a hell of a book. Buy it. Read it. It may keep you up at night, but you won’t regret it.

    Gregg McCrary
  • I wish I knew then what I know now. Katherine Ramsland has peeled back the layers of this serial killer. Her work not only benefits the families of the victims but also will be cathartic for our community as a whole to understand how evil exists.

    Nola Tedesco Foulston, Esq.

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