Love Never Fails



On February 25, 2005, seven different families finally received a bit of closure when the serial killer known as BTK (Bind, Torture, Kill) was captured. There was an eighth family, however, that was far from closure – the family of Dennis Rader, the mad behind the murders.

Kerry Rawson’s memoir, A Serial Killer’s Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love, and Overcoming, shares the nonfiction accounts of life with her father and the moments that she remembers versus the moments happening without her family’s knowing. To her, Dennis Rader shared love, compassion and wisdom to his daughter and son, Brian. He was there for the best of times and the worst of times, and despite a small occurrence of outbursts, seemed like the perfect family man.

She remembers small moments that now, in retrospect, could have been clues. The dejection he showed when they had to cancel a vacation due to Rawson breaking her arm; Rader had murdered their neighbor, Marine Hedge, a few weeks prior and was probably looking to get out of town during the investigation. Rader telling Rawson that she was safe in her new apartment with the sliding glass door; he had thrown a cinderblock through Dolores E. Davis’ sliding glass door before murdering her ten years prior to that phone call with his daughter.  

What she does not remember is the evidence in the floorboards underneath her house and in her shed. She does not remember the afternoon she learned of her father’s secrets and trying to make sense of it all.

Reading everything from Rawson’s perspective is a whole new take on crime. Feeling sorry for the victims is evident, but feeling sorry for the family left to deal with the repercussions of a murderer is hardly common. Instead they become circus animals in terms of ridicule and judgment. That’s what happened to Rawson and her family, but A Serial Killer’s Daughter brings an eye-opening angle on what goes on for the other side.  

It’s a series of many stories that come together for the ultimate plot twist, and are told with such emotion that it’s hard not to feel those same emotions while reading. There’s happiness in reading about camping trips and vacations. There’s pain in reading correspondences to and from Rader while jailed. There’s sadness in reading about Rawson’s struggle with her emotional health and keeping her faith.

A Serial Killer’s Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love, and Overcoming is an insightful look into a serial killer’s loved ones and the bravery Kerry Rawson shows by sharing the crippling effects of violence, anger and loss. It brings forth every emotion and gives the reader a chance to just barely understand how her family has come back from such betrayal. It’s a tear-jerking, unexpected account that devastated more families than anyone really knew.