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Alafair Burke's obsession with a killer leads to a detective character
Alafair Burke's obsession with a killer leads to a detective character

For Alafair Burke, whose 10th mystery "All Day and a Night" (Harper: 352 pp., $26.99) is published this month, it all goes back to Dennis Rader. Known as the BTK killer, he terrorized Wichita, Kan., in the 1970s and 1980s, when Burke was growing up there. As a kid, she was obsessed with BTK, theorizing about the case with her father, the crime writer James Lee Burke, as if she were, she jokes, "a really dark Encyclopedia Brown." Then, in 2005, as she was working on her fourth novel, "Dead Connection" — which involves a serial killer who stalks his victims through an online dating service — Rader was arrested, and Burke felt her childhood fascination return. "I sent a letter to his...

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