The BTK killings began, as far as is known, in 1974 in Wichita, Kansas when four of the Otero family were found dead in their own home by their children coming home from school. Dennis Rader was a family man that, in all appearances, loved his family. Dennis Rader was NOT a nice man. He was the BTK killer who had started his life of fantasy sex and thrills with the Otero killings. He was careful not to leave any evidence around but took souvenirs from his crime sites. At that time little was known about DNA but its beginning was near so the police kept anything they thought would help in the future to help find this killer. The Otero killings by BTK were very violent as the bodies were posed after Rader had strangled them or had started to strangle so he could play with them while they died by taking photos, have his sexual fantasy’s, and, if not dead, would make sure they were before he left. He spread his joy further by masturbating on the clothes or even on the dead people themselves.
The killing continued over long periods of time. Many police departments, state, local, and federal, were eventually brought in to the case. The four reporters that wrote this book did an excellent job of recreating the crimes while writing for the Wichita Eagle newspaper, while all along cooperating with the various authorities so the killer did not know the details of the case that was known. Richard LaMunyon was Chief of the Wichita Police Department when these crimes started. He had a lot of organizing to do while keeping panic down as much as possible. But, the people of Wichita could not help but become scared and worried with every move they made whether inside or out of their homes not knowing when this killer would strike again.
Kenny Landwehr was in his teens when the murders started. Kenny always wanted to be a cop and eventually did. He was promoted to Detective on the Wichita Police force in 1986. He was learning fast. He was made head of the Homicide Bureau and became even more involved in BTK’s activities. He eventually made Lieutenant and worked day and night on the case. Lundwehr was by far not the only one working the case. Many from other law enforcement agencies were getting deeper into the investigation.
Rader got a job as Animal Code Enforcement Officer, a job that enabled him to get closer to his future victims and also get more strict with those people hoping he could get in their homes and seek his future methods of killing. The hunt for the BTK killer went on for years. Authorities and the press would think the killing had stopped when another victim would show up only to reinforce the fear of Wichita.
I felt occasionally the story got a bit too detailed but in general the BTK killer worked off of details and was sure to leave his handiwork so all would know it was the BTK killer again this time. Dennis Rader was a sadist. His family never had any idea what he was doing when he told his family he had to go someplace and do this or that. They never suspected what he was doing and had a hard time believing it when he was caught and charged. There is lots of gore in the book as it tells quite well what Rader did before and after his killings.