I moved to the Seattle area in the mid-to-late 70s, and was in high school through the early 80s there. And I remember well the Green River Killer case; it seemed that by 1984 another body was found every other day, and of course the local news covered every minute of it.
And I've read several books about this case, some terrific and some, well, not so terrific. "The Riverman: Ted Bundy and I Hunt for the Green River Killer" -- probably more about Mr. Bundy than Gary Ridgway but a terrific read by Robert Keppel -- "Chasing the Devil: My Twenty-Year Quest to Capture the Green River Killer" -- good but probably overly self-congratulatory by Dave Reichert (I think he overvalued his importance to the investigation most likely) -- and "Green River Running Red" -- an absolutely dismal effort by Ann Rule when she was still a good enough writer that she should've known better. And now I've read "The Search for the Green River Killer: The True Story of America's Most Prolific Serial Killer" (SGRK).
Well, kind of.
You see, I've only read about three-fourths of SGRK, more than I probably should have, and have finally given up. While it is surely well written -- I believe the authors were newspaper men in their day, after all -- the biggest problem: it spends too much of its time discussing the politics in Seattle while hunting for the Green River Killer (GRK) and not enough time discussing the murders, MO, and maybe even signature, of Gary Ridgway. And while Mr. Ridgway wasn't arrested until the early 2000s following a DNA match on a victim, it is not necessary to have a suspect to know his MO and signature. After all, profilers determine and use that information during the initial part of an investigation in order to build a profile of the UNSUB. And then that profile is generally used for many purposes, but one important one: it helps narrow the suspect list to a manageable number. Maybe the Seattle Police Department should have built a decent profile right out of the gate. But then again, maybe the writers of this book should have written a book that held my interest.
And all of this is really a shame as SGRK starts out very well, but somewhere around the mid-point you might think to yourself, "You know, I really don't care about these politics anymore. What I really want to know: who were the victims and what did the police do to try to catch the killer?" Yes, maybe it shows that the politicians in Seattle were political, and maybe it shows that the police department were incompetent police officers, but after awhile I just didn't care anymore.
I still would like to find a really good book about strictly the Green River Killer case that is mostly about that serial killer, and so far, Mr. Keppel's is the best for me out of those I've read But once again, that book is mostly about Mr. Bundy and somewhat about the GRK so it's kind of a "combo" effort as it discusses both "The Ted Murders" and "The Green River Killer." I still highly recommend it though as Mr. Keppel's books are always really strong.
Well, if you're a true-crime aficianado like I am, and in particular, if you like reading books about serial killers, I'll have to go with a pass today on "The Search for the Green River Killer." I could've probably finished it. But why?
- Mass Market Paperback: 544 pages
- Publisher: Signet; 1 edition (17 April 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 045121238X
- ISBN-13: 978-0451212382
- Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 3.9 x 17.4 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 181 g
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