A Serial Killer's Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love, and Overcoming

A Serial Killer's Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love, and Overcoming

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Overview

What is it like to learn that your ordinary, loving father is a serial killer?

In 2005, Kerri Rawson heard a knock on the door of her apartment. When she opened it, an FBI agent informed her that her father had been arrested for murdering ten people, including two children. It was then that she learned her father was the notorious serial killer known as BTK, a name he’d given himself that described the horrific way he committed his crimes: bind, torture, kill. As news of his capture spread, Wichitacelebrated the end of a thirty-one-year nightmare.

For Kerri Rawson, another was just beginning. She was plunged into a black hole of horror and disbelief. The same man who had been a loving father, a devoted husband, church president, Boy Scout leader, and a public servant had been using their family as a cover for his heinous crimes since before she was born. Everything she had believed about her life had been a lie.

Written with candor and extraordinary courage, A Serial Killer’s Daughter is an unflinching exploration of life with one of America’s most infamous killers and an astonishing tale of personal and spiritual transformation. For all who suffer from unhealed wounds or the crippling effects of violence, betrayal, and anger, Kerri Rawson’s story offers the hope of reclaiming sanity in the midst of madness, rebuilding a life in the shadow of death, and learning to forgive the unforgivable.

“No easy answers here. No platitudes. Only raw honesty, written with the gracious authority of one who has glimpsed hell. Kerri Rawson shares her earned wisdom and a hope that has been bought with tears and nightmares. This book is a gritty must-read in the library of hope.”

—Paul J. Pastor, author of The Face of the Deep and The Listening Day

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781978621183
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 01/29/2019
Edition description: Unabridged
Sales rank: 535,335
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

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.

Table of Contents

Author Note viii

Prologue: Stubbornness Might Be Enough ix

Part I Hold On to Your Foundations

1 What Doesn't Kill You 3

2 Believe in Good Beginnings 9

3 Hope for Happily Ever After 14

4 Weave Among the Pines Like a Tomboy 20

5 Go Comet Hunting in the Winter 26

6 Have Adventures, Because Life Is Fragile 31

7 Allow Yourself to Grieve 35

8 Attempt to Outrun What Haunts You 42

9 … Makes You Stronger 47

Part II Make Your Way Through the Wilderness

10 Know and Respect Your Limitations … Yeah, Right 57

11 Miscalculations of the Ego Can Be Deadly 66

12 The Milky Way Makes an Excellent Nightlight 74

13 Find a Stream in the Wasteland 80

14 If It's Good Enough for Tadpoles, It's Good Enough for You 87

15 Coming Back from the Abyss Doesn't Have to Be So Dramatic 93

Part III Love Will Never Fail You

16 Find a Hope and a Future 101

17 Fall in Love at Least Once in Your Life 105

18 Make a Place of Your Own 110

19 Head Down the Wedding Aisle, Even If You Have to Hobble 116

20 Some Carpet Cleaners Can Leave Unexpected Results 121

21 Don't Say Goodbye-Say "See Ya in a While" 125

Part IV When All Else Has Fallen Away

22 Offer the FBI Your DNA-It's Just Easier That Way 136

23 All Reality Can Sometimes Be Lost 143

24 Don't Google for an Alibi 150

25 Media Circuses Belong in Big Tops, Not Apartments 156

Part V Seek Refuge

26 Respite Can Be Found Thousands of Feet in the Air 165

27 There is Safety in Numbers 171

28 Maybe Love Is Enough 181

29 Leave the Crime Solving to the Experts 187

30 Light Will Overcome the Darkness 194

Part VI Stand on Your Rock

31 Long Distance Can Offer Sanity 203

32 At Some Point You Have to Face Your Fears Head-On 211

33 Most Folks Are Good and Intend You No Harm 217

34 Fight for Those You Love 224

35 Refuse to Let the Bad Stuff Win 229

36 Try to Hold On to the Good Times 236

37 Truth and Justice Can Hurt 244

38 175 Years Is a Long Time 251

Part VII Binding Up a Broken Heart

39 Keep Faith in the Good 261

40 A Desert Is a Great Place to Hide 270

41 PTSD Blows Chunks 278

42 Therapy Might Just Save Your Life 286

43 Laugh or Cry to Survive 293

44 Grit Your Teeth and Keep Going 301

45 Put Your Armor On 305

46 Try to Forgive 313

Epilogue: On the Good Days 318

Acknowledgments 320

Notes 321

About the Author 326

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A Serial Killer's Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love, and Overcoming 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this because I saw it on the Today show (I think I bought out of curiosity) but really didn't expect to like it. I was wrong. No unnesessary gore or violence....very sad but quite well written, I thought. He might have been your next door neighbor or mine! Yikes! ..Well written by his daughter....Do you know who lives in your house?
Anonymous 12 months ago
I live in Wichita, my husband is from Park City, so hit even closer to home. My heart broke for this family watching these events unfold in real time. The book fills in the wondering we all had how his family coped. Thank you Kerri, you are one of the bravest people I know. I know that sting of death she described as her whole life as she knew died in an instant, as I lost my father suddenly to a heart attack. I also was daddy's girl, his little buddy...and even though circumstances were quite different in the manner of loss, it still separates a life in two. Thank you again Kerri for sharing your faith, it softened my heart a little towards the Lord.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think Kerri did a great job in this book. It showed her many years of struggles from this enormous wrong. It is wonderful that she turned to God all the way through so she could come to a place of forgiveness and help her to enjoy her beautiful life with her family.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Helps you see and understand a perspective that is really hard to grasp...her side of things. The pain she felt after finding out her father is BTK is real...no disrespect towards victims intended. He is her father who happens to be a monster. Good read.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Well written
Anonymous 11 months ago
Not+what+I+expected.++Okay+read.
Anonymous 12 months ago
Great read !
Anonymous 3 months ago
Interesting book, started great but dragged around the middle when camping trips were described. It ended well and I especially liked the photos at the end of the story
Jeannie3doxie 8 months ago
This book is wonderful~ Kerri put a lot of time and thought into writing this story of HER life! This book is not the place to find gory details etc. It's just not here! Their camping trip was enjoyable for me. So much so, I actually got online and searched for photos of all the stops they made inside the Grand Canyon trail. I was on the edge of my seat, holding my breath as she was walking in the extreme heat up next to the walls to keep from falling off. Also, the anticipation waiting for her brother to get to them. This book is so much better than I thought it would be. I feel like Kerri is a friend of mine now. I know her, now. I feel some of what she felt. She is a victim too, her entire family is. I just cannot wrap my head around living with this day after day. I do think this book is Therapeutic for her.
AnnieMcDonnell More than 1 year ago
This is such a sad story. This was a truly inconceivable story. When we watch the stories of Serial Killers, we forget that they not only have parents, but some may even have children. This is the story Kerri Rawson tells of her life with her father Dennis Lynn Rader, the BTK Killer (Bind, Torture, Kill) He killed ten innocent people, two of them being children over three decades. During this time, he is the head of a family. Loving to his wife, Paula; to bring his daughter Kerri “to ease” when she needed to be soothed, and caring to his son, Brian. Kerri was never uncertain of her father’s love for her. While she struggles with her faith throughout her life because their family suffers so much loss and their grief is huge, she tells us the story about how she dealt with her life and how her father seemingly dealt with the same circumstances. You learn that the BTK Killer left behind more then ten victims. His entire family suffered the consequences of his actions. The question is; will they recover?
Anonymous 6 hours ago
Kerri gives us an inside look at what it is like to live with such a devastating blow being dealt to your family. I found it so incredibly interesting to learn what it was like growing up with her father, and how she has coped with this new life she has been forced to live. Thank you to Netgalley and Nelson Books for this ARC!
Anonymous 9 days ago
The stories Kerri shares from her childhood and how much she adored her Dad provides a perspective for readers that no other author has provided thus far.
MeganLeprich 3 months ago
Thank you so much to Nelson Books and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This story hits pretty close to home for me as I live only about 4 hours away from Wichita, KS. I remember watching the news as it happened and watching the movies based on the heinous crimes, it was stomach-churning. I don’t know how I would have managed if it was my dad that had committed these crimes. A few parts of this book were confusing to me as the author touched on things that had happened in the past or memories but didn’t really go into details about them. You couldn’t help but feel terrible for Kerri Rawson as she had to go through this. Her dad was such a well-respected guy in their town, church president, and a Boy Scout leader and he lead this total double life that no one knew about until he was caught. His daughter had to carry the burden and get looked at funny all because of what her father did and that’s what made me the saddest of all, that she was getting repercussions from his crimes that she had nothing to do with. Her writing style and how she explained growing up with her family in Kansas was so well written and I found myself really liking her. She was so real in her writing and really held nothing back. This was a very personal book and I commend Kerri for completely opening up her life for everyone to read. It was an enjoyable read and I really enjoyed it.
mississippimomreads 3 months ago
The first half of this book details her childhood, seemingly normal, with details about church and family and camping trips. Her childhood seemed fairly normal like an average daughter in middle America. The difference, however, is that while she was growing up enjoying this typical childhood, her father was committing gruesome murders along the way. The second half of the novel lends itself to be more like the title. It deals with the news that her father has been arrested as the BTK serial killer, and the fall out from that shocking discovery. Even though Carrie was born and raised in Kansas, she really did not know very much about BTK until after her father’s arrest. Her life dramatically changed on the day he was arrested. And the fact that her DNA was used to determine his guilt was an even bigger layer of guilt thrown upon her. I honestly did not know much about the details of the BTK crimes until I read this book. My quick google search provided terrifying information so I stopped after just a couple of stories. The horrific extent of these crimes would be impossible to reconcile with a loved one as the killer. Not sure how Kerri was able to eventually move on with her life as she described in the book. Kudos to her for her therapy and her ability to process and eventually move on with her life. If you are a true crime reader, this book is for you.
JBronder 6 months ago
When I think of the various serial killers in America, BTK, Dennis Rader, comes up as the one that almost got away. His crimes were horrible and it’s a good thing that he was caught and that is where the story usually ends. But the damage you don’t see is the family. I can’t even beginning to imaging what his family went through when they learned that their husband/father was serial killer that had terrorized the town of Witchita, Kansas. This book is his daughter, Kerri’s story of what she went through. Kerri’s day started out with a strange man hanging around her house. Then she learned that her father was the BTK killer. What a blow! My heart goes out to her just for handling that information. What follows is her account of what happened and the things she went through. It’s hard to read some parts of the book because it is pure raw emotion and she struggled a lot. This is an inspirational story and that I recommend reading. Kerri is such a strong woman and has an amazing journey to get to be the person she is today. I recommend checking out this book. It’s a great read and very enlightening. I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
Kristy_K 7 months ago
2.5 Stars I commend Kerri Rawson for having the strength to write this and carry on after finding out who her father was. I think this would have done better as an essay. The first third to half of the book was basically a normal girl with normal problems lives a normal life. I know it was there to show how we never know what may be hiding in the shadows, but it really dragged. Once Rawson got to the part where her dad was arrested, things picked up. It was sad to see how affected she was by what her father did and I think it’s important to remember that the family of these killers are also victims. If you are a true crime fan I wouldn’t recommend this. But if you like memoirs about how faith can save you then definitely pick up this book. I received an advanced copy through Netgalley in return for an honest review.
Anonymous 9 months ago
your+story+was+so+moving+so+easy+to+see+how+hard+it+would+be+to+go+on+with+the+two+different+father%27s+the+one+you+loved+and+the+one+you+didn%27t+know.++I+cannot+imagine+how+you+were+able+to+move+through+the+times+in+your+life+and+I+can+literally+feel+the+pain+you+felt+the+hurt%2C+so+sad+and+yet+so+darn+hard+to+watch+you+live+that+day+in+and+day+out.+God+be+with+you.
Anonymous 10 months ago
I recently watched the 20/20 episode on BTK and saw the tv movie years back which prompted me to read Kerri's book. This woman has amazing courage and strength. My heart and prayers go out to her and her family.
Anonymous 10 months ago
A thought provoking read.
Anonymous 11 months ago
eadieburke 11 months ago
This review was written for NetGalley and Nelson Book. I received a free copy for an honest review. What is it like to learn that your ordinary, loving father is a serial killer? Kerri Rawson writes an insightful and honest perspective of another side of her father, the BTK killer. She relates her growing up years with her father and shows a couple of traits that could have been clues but also shows a man of master deception. I was happy to see how supportive her husband was and how he helped her to overcome her PTSD and gave her the courage to go on with her life. I found the book hard to put down and I would recommend it to those who love true crime stories.
Boohimdanno 11 months ago
As a reader readers I think this title is misleading. Yes Kerri is the daughter of a serial killer but this story lacks the true crime story line was promoted to readers. The story lacks focus and long winded stories. The story is more about Kerri Childhood and when she found out about her father being a serial killer but moves quickly though parts of the history quickly when true crimes would be more focus on the crimes instead of her memories. If this story was promoted more as a religious memoir I think the author would be able to find a different audience. Thank you Netgalley and publisher Thomas Nelson for Kerri Rawson A Serial Killers Daughter.
ody More than 1 year ago
A Serial Killer’s Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love, and Overcoming I approached this book with my mind and feelings completely open and was really surprised how much I came away with from it. Kerri Rawson is fresh and likable as she tells her story of growing up in her family in Kansas. She describes it as just a totally normal, semi-dysfunctional family who works, goes to school, has vacations. Pretty typical family, it seems. She comes across very real as she shares her story and I find it like reading something a friend could be relating about what a really awful period in their life was like. The situation is just so unimaginable, and I just felt horrible for Kerri and her family, and all of the families. It gets a little bit repetitive on a few things, the spiritual theme, and other items that come up repeatedly perhaps after a while, but if that helped her get through all of what she describes well, more power to her. What I didn’t expect were some of the stories of situations she ended up in growing up with her dad that turned harrowing that she shares. In hindsight, she, of course, sees them differently after she learns of his killing past. I found this book better than I expected and well laid out. I’m glad I purchased this very heartfelt book, as it told so much more than just the BTK aspect of the family. They became real people to me by the midst of the book, not just headlines, due to her writing.
Anonymous 10 months ago
one+of+the+best+books+I%27ve+ever+read.+very+well+written.+breaks+my+heart+and+makes+me+angry+how+the+FBI+got+her+DNA+from+her+college+medical+records%2C+that+was+low+class+and+wrong++the+FBI+agent+should+be+punished+for+that+as+their+were+other+ways+to+obtain+her+or+his+DNA+without+violating+her+personal+medical+records.+her+struggles+and+honesty+touched+me.+she+was+and+is+a+victim%2C+but+she%27ll+make+it+through+with+her+family+and+her+faith.+I+recommend+this+book+to+everyone%21%0Athank+you+for+sharing+your+story.