Unholy Messenger by Stephen Singular
The Life and Crimes of the BTK Serial Killer

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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 thirty-one 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 ten 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 de-tailed thirty-two-hour confession, bestselling 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.

In Unholy Messenger, Singular recounts the year prior to Rader's arrest, in which the BTK killer reemerged, and the aftermath. Woven throughout are the details of his crimes, elaborate schemes, and bids for public attention, and the wrenching impact his deception had on his family, church, and heartland community.

The result is a chilling story of a man considered a "spiritual leader" by his pastor and congregation, who turned out to be the devil next door. More than just true crime, Unholy Messenger is a powerful, thoroughly engrossing examination of the intersection between good and evil, and of the psychology and spirituality of a killer in whom faith and bloodshed converged.

About Stephen Singular

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Stephen Singular is a New York Times bestselling author and Edgar Award nominee. His book Talked to Death was made into the Oliver Stone film Talk Radio. Singular has appeared on Larry King Live, Good Morning America, Court TV, and Anderson Cooper 360.
Published May 15, 2006 by Scribner. 384 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Crime, Political & Social Sciences, Business & Economics. Non-fiction

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The author wisely leavens the horror by widening the scope of the narrative to include the law enforcement personnel dedicated to the BTK case (whose eventual capture of Rader derived from an almost comically stupid blunder by the killer), and to the heroically eccentric pastor and shell-shocked ...

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Publishers Weekly

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Veteran true crime author Singular, who advanced a controversial theory of the Jon-Benet Ramsey murder in Presumed Guilty , has crafted a gripping and chilling tale in this thorough examination of Dennis Rader, the infamous BTK killer, who terrorized Wichita, Kans., for decades.

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Entertainment Weekly

Stephen Singular crashed out this sturdy account of Wichita's notorious BTK serial killer in the one year since the nondescript churchgoer Dennis Rader was arrested for slaughtering 10 Kansans — from a sixth-grade girl he hung on a sewer pipe to the widowed grandmother he strangled in her bed —...

Apr 05 2006 | Read Full Review of Unholy Messenger: The Life an...

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