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Green River Killer: A True Detective Story

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  4,077 ratings  ·  508 reviews
Throughout the 1980s, the highest priority of Seattle-area police was the apprehension of the Green River Killer, the man responsible for the murders of dozens of women, but in 1990, with the body count numbering at least forty-eight, the case was put in the hands of a single detective, Tom Jensen. After twenty years, when the killer was finally captured with the help of D ...more
Kindle Edition, 240 pages
Published September 13th 2011 by Dark Horse Books
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  4,077 ratings  ·  508 reviews


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Trudi
My reading/reviewing year is really getting off to an excruciatingly, abysmal slow start. I blame my Netflix addiction that includes a recent binge viewing of The Shield (from which I'm still recovering). In November, I became obsessed with Sarah Koenig's Serial podcast and literally lost weeks. Archer is back in full throttle splendor -- "We need a minute Captain Shit Nuts!" -- soon to be followed by the return of Season 3 of The Americans on the 28th.

Throw in work, sleep, eating, alcohol cons
...more
Julie Ehlers
Green River Killer was pretty riveting. The bounces back and forth in time were occasionally confusing and possibly not necessary, but I thought this was a fascinating look at a serial killer and the police detectives' attempts to get more information from him. In particular it was a portrait of Detective Tom Jensen, the author's father, and I really became invested in his personal story as the case unfolded across the decades. Of course, some of the images were deeply disturbing, but a certain ...more
Idarah
Oct 17, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
"Terrific. It's got the scariest opening sequence I've read in years, and the novel as a whole makes compelling stay-up-late reading. Great, creepy stuff." - Stephen King

If the title of this graphic novel isn't enough to grab you, King's cover blurb will. This was just as creepy as My Friend Dahmer, but I liked the inside perspective of the story. Jeff Jensen writes about his father, Tom Jensen's, twenty year search for the Green River Killer, while serving as a detective for King County's s
...more
Chad
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
A true crime story about the Green River Killer, one of the most prolific serial killers in American history. Told through the eyes of Tom Jensen by his son Jeff Jensen. Tom was the the lead detective on the case as GRK evaded police for almost 20 years. Most of the story is told as Gary Ridgeway takes the police around the Seattle area as he details where additional bodies are buried. It's truly chilling how Ridgeway tries to buddy up with the detectives like he's helping them out and didn't do ...more
Sam Quixote
Dec 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the true crime story of Gary Ridgway, aka the Green River Killer, who murdered a number of women in Seattle starting in the 80s and remains one of the most notorious serial killers in history.

The detective tasked with bringing the killer to justice is the author's father, Tom Jensen (who looks like Commissioner Gordon), who sees the case through to its remarkable conclusion in 2003 when Ridgway was finally apprehended thanks to DNA evidence taken in 1987, and in order to bargain his fat
...more
Dave Schaafsma
A true crime story, only slightly fictionalized, of catching the Green River serial killer in the Seattle area, the worst serial killer in American history, who killed at least 48 prostitutes, and confessed to each of them, and made those confessions credible with details. It is also a tribute to the author's father, who was the lead detective on the case for almost twenty years on the case. This is gruesome and interesting, especially if you are like me interested in true crime detective stori ...more
Jon Nakapalau
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Detective Tom Jensen tracked the Green River Killer for twenty years. He then spent 180 days interviewing Gary Leon Ridgway trying to bring closure to families still hoping against hope that their loved ones would still come home. Written by his son (Jeff Jensen) this is a powerful testament on the toll evil takes on victims, their families and the people tasked with finding and stopping predators - who can no longer control their dark impulses - highly recommended.
Seth T.
Aug 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
Green River Killer by Jeff Jensen and Jonathan Case

In my Baby's in Black review , I discussed the difficulties that confront non-fictional accounts of historical events. The primary hurdle is reader foreknowledge. If you're already aware (spoilers!) that Amelia Earhart doesn't complete her round-the-world flight, that Lee surrenders at the Appomattox Courthouse, that Jesus comes back to life in the end—then all the drama surrounding those events is sucked out of the telling. Reader investment, then, must be engaged in other ways.

Titanic, for
...more
Sara
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm always fascinated to hear a true crime story told from the perspective of the men and women who solved it. There's something very gratifying about seeing the aftermath when the bad guy gets his comeuppance and there's some justice for the victims and survivors. But it isn't all a Lifetime movie or an episode of Rescue 911 (which I'm betting 90% of you have never heard of! Yay! I'm old!). Solving murders and putting people in prison takes time and effort and a lot of that effort is boring and ...more
Sesana
Jan 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, comics
I don't do much reading about real serial killers now, though I did kind of go through a phase when I was a weird teenager. So I didn't go in knowing much about Gary Ridgeway, the Green River Killer. That might have been useful, because this is not a strictly linear account, nor is it terribly concerned with the minutia of the investigation. If that's what you're looking for, this is not going to be the best choice for you. But if, like me, you just need to be able to follow what's going on, or ...more
Peter Derk
The first page is great. Horrifying, but great.

And then I was confused as all fuck for a while.

The thing is, the story bounces all around a timeline. From the time bodies start appearing in the woods until the time Gary Ridgeway is caught and questioned. Things smooth out about half way through, maybe a little further, but I kept getting lost in trying to figure out where we were in time.

It's not good enough to put a date in. It's a comic book! Give me a half dozen good, visual cues. The great t
...more
Moira Russell
[ETA: No star rating, because I fucking hate those and wish I'd never started with them. SORRY.]

Obligatory GoodReads X-Files quote: "You've seen the things I do in the past as well as in the future....terrible things....So tell me, please, why have I done them?" "Don't you understand yet? ....You do the things you do because you're a homicidal maniac." - Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose

Not quite sure what to say about this one. "Much less tasteless and exploitive than other histories of the Green R
...more
Lou
Throughout the 1980s, the highest priority of Seattle-area police was the apprehension of the Green River Killer, the man responsible for the murders of dozens of women. In 1990, with the body count numbering at least forty-eight, the case was put in the hands of a single detective, Tom Jensen. After twenty years, when the killer was finally captured with the help of DNA technology, Jensen spent 180 days interviewing Gary Leon Ridgway in an effort to learn his most closely held secrets--an epic ...more
Zedsdead
Feb 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Zedsdead by: Goodreads
A graphic-novel account of Green River killer Gary Ridgway's decades-long murder career and his eventual capture by the King County sheriff's office. It's a look into the mind of a serial killer and the cops who hunted him.

The story jumps around in time but focuses mostly on the seven months of interrogation in which Ridgway tried to locate his many victims as part of his plea agreement. It's a long slog of incomplete information and weirdly polite interactions between the police and the killer.
...more
Katherine Addison
Jeff Jensen's father is Tom Jensen, the detective who kept the Green River case alive between 1990 when the task force was shut down & 2001 when advances in DNA testing meant they could actually match Gary Ridgway's DNA to DNA found in the bodies of Opal Mills and Carol Ann Christensen. Jensen's the guy who did the thankless soul-destroying data entry on the thousands and thousands of tips the task force received. Ann Rule calls him the keeper of the flame, and that's not wrong. This graphic nov ...more
Rob
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This true crime graphic novel is about one of the most prolific serial killers of all time. It's told through the eyes of one of the lead detectives Tom Jensen. It profiles his hunt for Gary Ridgway who was eventually caught and convicted of murdering 49 women and girls, most of whom were prostitutes or runaways.

As weird as it sounds, I find serial killer reads to be pretty interesting. This one has an even additional twist as Tom Jensen's son, Jeff is the author. The story is chronicled pretty
...more
Craig
Dec 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting story. Only when I finished did I realize the writer was "Doc" Jensen, who used to write some of the most stimulating articles about the television series Lost in the pages of Entertainment Weekly! This graphic novel is the story of his father, one of the lead detectives on the Green River serial killer case. ...more
Lisa
Nov 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This had been on my "to read list for a few years, and it finally was available through my library system. Not bad. It gave insight into the life of a man who devoted his career to finding a serial killer. ...more
Cheese
Mar 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those graphic novels that goes backwards and forwards in time like the movie pulp fiction. However, they don’t show apparent timelines and it gets confusing.

Apart from that it was a good story with good black and white artwork.
Christina
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this glimpse into detective work. This graphic novel played out like an episode of a police procedural (drawn out over decades). I developed a great deal of respect for the dedication and persistence that these cases demand. The book did offer a good bit of background on Ridgeway and the murders, but did so in a measured manner. Well... down with toxic masculinity. May we live to see the day when women no longer need to fear monsters like these, regardless of their profession.
Peacegal
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars -- This graphic novel recounts the decades-long manhunt for one of the most bloodthirsty serial killers the US has ever seen--a man responsible for robbing nearly 50 young women of their lives. The novel focuses upon Detective Tom Jensen, who headed the search for the murderer.

True, the illustrations are a bit too generic for my liking, but it's hard not to be deeply affected by this story, written by Detective Jensen's son. It's an incredible tribute to the determination and dogged ef
...more
Nancy
Jul 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review can also be found on my blog: https://graphicnovelty2.com/2019/07/1...

This true-crime graphic novel about Gary Ridgway aka the Green River Killer was surprisingly tender and an unapologetic love letter from the author to his father who was one of the lead detectives on the case. Author Jeff Jensen’s father, Detective Tom Jensen, worked the Green River case for two decades and once Ridgway was caught, he was on the task force that interviewed him for details on his crimes. Having a re
...more
Sarah
A fantastic and gripping non-fiction graphic novel. Writer Jeff Jenson tells the story of his father, one of the lead detectives over the twenty years it took to catch the Green River serial killer in Seattle. This is a true crime story, but it isn't really about the criminal (a man named Gary Ridgeway). It's about Tom Jenson, and the years he spent on the case. It's about the toll that kind of thinking takes on a man and his family, but also its about the dark reality that even once they 'catch ...more
47Time
Aug 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most moving moments of being a homicide detective is having to bring the bad news to the victim's family. Some take the news kicking and screaming, but it's worse with the quiet ones. The ones who somehow felt their loved one was gone. I can't imagine how that feels... The story doesn't hqve the flash of a movie script, no explosions, no spectacular revelations, no life lessons. It's about dedication, about being human, about trying to right a wrong. Actually, scratch that last one. I ...more
Václav
Apr 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: digital, x2019
Not your traditional detective story. This is about a detective (alter consultant) Tom Jensen, father of the author of this "graphic novel" and his life mission to solve the Green River Killer case. It's not a biography, but it's based on the real events (with a decent amount of editing), so we're close to the real stuff. Even if I'm not really hyped from this book, this is a really good story. It depicts the grey reality of being a detective, especially in a case which took decades to solve (if ...more
Julie
Jan 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a quick and interesting read that I flew through in just a couple hours. I did feel that it was a little confusing to keep up with the timeline because it jumped around quite a bit. But overall I really enjoyed the graphic novel format and I think this has gotten me back into true crime. I used to read it all the time but haven't picked any up in years...that's definitely going to change now :) ...more
howie lemonds
Nov 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
actually really emotionally poignant. i was expecting a grizzly serial killer story but got a powerful emotional story mixed in, really good tbh
#ReadAllTheBooks
Before I start this review I want you to know that I love true crime books. Nothing is as frightening or as chilling as the tales of real people being murdered by monsters more heinous than anything Stephen King or Hollywood could dream up. Why? Because these monsters are very human & very real. That's why I was so eager to read this graphic novel, but unfortunately it just didn't live up to even my most modest expectations.

Where did this book go wrong? I'd say it went wrong when the authors dec
...more
Jeff
Dec 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jeff by: Seth T.
An easy read. Except for the horrific topic.

But i have the standard American fascination for "serial killers."

It's easy to believe Jensen's portrayal of this particular psycho/sociopath is more personal-subjective than journalistic-objective. Nevertheless, i want to believe it's pretty close to the norm for such people, moreso than the glorified supervillains depicted in fiction. I think we'd like to believe that when that many killings are committed by the same guy, in the general geographic
...more
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Jeff Jensen is an American writer. As a journalist he worked for Entertainment Weekly from 1998 to September 2017, most recently as the publication's television critic.

In 2012, Jensen and artist Jonathan Case won an Eisner Award for their work on the 2011 graphic novel, Green River Killer: A True Detective Story, published in 2011 by Dark Horse Comics.

His first prose novel, Before Tomorrowland, a
...more

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