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Unholy Messenger: The Life and Crimes of the BTK Serial Killer | [Stephen Singular]

Unholy Messenger: The Life and Crimes of the BTK Serial Killer

To all appearances, Dennis Rader was a model citizen in the small town of Park City, Kansas, where he had lived with his family almost his entire life. He was a town compliance officer, a former Boy Scout leader, the president of his church congregation, and a seemingly ordinary father and husband. But Rader's average life belied the existence of his dark, sadistic other self: he was the BTK serial killer.
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Publisher's Summary

To all appearances, Dennis Rader was a model citizen in the small town of Park City, Kansas, where he had lived with his family almost his entire life. He was a town compliance officer, a former Boy Scout leader, the president of his church congregation, and a seemingly ordinary father and husband. But Rader's average life belied the existence of his dark, sadistic other self: he was the BTK serial killer.

The self-named BTK (for Bind, Torture, Kill) had terrorized Wichita for 31 years, not only with his brutal, sexually motivated crimes, but also through his taunting, elusive communications with the media and law enforcement. In 1974, BTK committed his first murders, torturing and strangling four members of the Otero family, and wrote the police an audacious letter declaring his responsibility for the Oteros' deaths and labeling himself, for the first time, BTK. Thus he established a pattern, stalking and killing a series of 10 victims, then bragging and claiming ownership of his crimes, that ended in 1991 but left law enforcement confounded and the public with deeply troubling memories. Until, that is, he resurfaced in 2004 with another string of letters that would finally lead to his arrest.

Drawing from extensive interviews with Rader's pastor, congregation, detectives, and psychologists who worked the case, and from his unnervingly detailed 32-hour confession, best-selling author Stephen Singular delves into the disturbing life and crimes of BTK to explore fully, for the first time, the most dangerous and complex serial killer of our generation and the man who embodied, at once, astonishing extremes of normality and abnormality.

©2006 Stephen Singular; (P)2006 Tantor Media Inc

What the Critics Say

"Singular has written a solid account that will both fascinate and terrify." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (132 )
5 star
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3.9 (51 )
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4.1 (52 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Vikki WICHITA, KS, United States 04-06-07
    Vikki WICHITA, KS, United States 04-06-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Haunting Factual Book on B.T.K."

    This is an excellent book on the BTK murderer, Dennis Rader.
    Living within 2 miles of BTK for many years, my interest in this case goes very deep. This book gives you many more details than the "Nightmare In Wichita" book. This gives the reader a greater sense of who BTK really is. More details on the crimes, the victims, those he killed and the family members left behind. You will also learn more about the over zealous Sedgwick County prosecutor, the detectives who worked these cases for many years. By far, this is the best book on BTK.

    If your weak in stomach, or easily haunted, you might want to pass on this book.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tessa snellville, GA, USA 11-15-06
    Tessa snellville, GA, USA 11-15-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Buy the abridged version"

    This book goes into excruciating detail about issues that hardly relate to the BTK case. I found myself tuning out for large portions of the text, and I found the level of detail about unrelated topics to be frustrating. About 10-20 chapters could have been completely eliminated. Definitely buy the abridged version if there is one - you're not missing anything. The relevant detail on the BTK case was interesting and worth the purchase.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jill Davison Southgate, MI 11-18-13
    Jill Davison Southgate, MI 11-18-13 Member Since 2013

    Nasye

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    "erratic"
    What disappointed you about Unholy Messenger?

    Story line did not flow. The author often repeated sections making me think I was repeating a chapter. The time line bounced around lot making it confusing to follow.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rochelle Eden, NC, United States 01-10-13
    Rochelle Eden, NC, United States 01-10-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Facinating"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Yes, if that person was also a true crime reader also.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I really liked the in depth physiological profile that was used in the book. I thought at first that is was only the imagination of the author until you learn about the confession and how Dennis talked non-stop about the murders. Since I was not very familiar with this case, I did not know that he had divulged that much information to the cops.


    Have you listened to any of Alan Sklar’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Alan Sklar is great with these true crime books. He can sound very evil.


    Any additional comments?

    For any true crime enthusiast, a good read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SSci Pittsburgh, PA 08-02-12
    SSci Pittsburgh, PA 08-02-12

    SSci

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wait? Was this about BTK or Pastor Clark?!"
    Would you try another book from Stephen Singular and/or Alan Sklar?

    Possibly. Depends on the topic I suppose.


    Has Unholy Messenger turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No. I am a devoted true-crime listener/reader and have listened to/read the very best, the very worst, and everything in between. I predict I will continue to do so.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Alan Sklar?

    Sure. He was just doing his job by reading the material in front of him.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Anger and frustration. Too much sympathy for Rader and his family and a negligible amount for the victims and their families in this side of the story. The almost incessant talk of God and faith became laughable, and then annoying. This man savagely murdered 10 people and ripped apart the hearts and souls of the families involved. Where was God exactly?


    Any additional comments?

    Although I don't find Rader the most interesting of the known serial killers, this book could have been so much more than it was.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas Auburn, WA, United States 07-28-11
    Douglas Auburn, WA, United States 07-28-11 Member Since 2008

    College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.

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    "Informative and compelling..."

    but not as good as Graysmith's ZODIAC. Singular's insinuation that supposedly repressive midwestern Kansas culture and Bible-belt relgiion were partially to blame for Radar's behavior and "inability to seek help" is really too easy and heavy-handed and seriously overlooks the serial killer process and psyche. He puts a lot of thoughts in Radar's head from thirty years ago that seem a bit more than assumed

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Delana Lawrence, KS, United States 12-27-09
    Delana Lawrence, KS, United States 12-27-09 Member Since 2009
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    "Detailed, but Interesting"

    Others have complained that this book has entirely too much detail and seemingly tangential exposition. As a Kansan familiar with both Kansas culture and the Wichita area, I find these details relevant and fascinating. My only real criticism of the narration is that Mr. Sklar mispronounces several regional names (Arkansas River, Menninger Clinic), which is, I suppose, understandable. Less forgivable is his mispronunciation of the word "synod." Otherwise, the narration is very good.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bret Omaha, NE, United States 05-22-08
    Bret Omaha, NE, United States 05-22-08 Member Since 2008
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    "Informative but Tedious"

    The book was a bit more interesting to listen to during the beginning first half, but found it to be very tiresome and drawn out towards the later half. The author also needless interjects their liberal political biases to explain why BTK was so twisted. It's a good book to learn more about BTK, but you're almost better off to listen to only half of it and spare yourself the boredom of the rest.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Agnes Suquamish , WA, USA 07-22-07
    Agnes Suquamish , WA, USA 07-22-07
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    "Overwritten, tedious narration"

    Ugh. How could such a fascinating story be so tedious? I can understand why the reader who lived near BTK found this interesting, but unless you have that kind of connection, you are likely to find this excruciatingly detailed and lacking dramatic intensity. The narrator's delivery was disconcertingly out of tune with the content.

    0 of 5 people found this review helpful
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