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Green River, Running Red: The Real Story of the Green River Killer - America's Deadliest Serial Murderer

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  12,648 ratings  ·  754 reviews
In her most personal and provocative book to date, the #1 bestselling master of true crime presents "her long-awaited definitive narrative of the brutal and senseless crimes that haunted the Seattle area for decades" (Publishers Weekly). This is the extraordinary true story of the most prolific serial killer the nation had ever seen -- a case involving more than forty-nine ...more
Paperback, 665 pages
Published October 1st 2005 by Pocket Books (first published 2004)
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In Cold Blood by Truman CapoteHelter Skelter by Vincent BugliosiThe Stranger Beside Me by Ann RuleThe Devil in the White City by Erik LarsonColumbine by Dave Cullen
Best True Crime
1,080 books — 1,542 voters
In Cold Blood by Truman CapoteHelter Skelter by Vincent BugliosiThe Stranger Beside Me by Ann RuleThe Devil in the White City by Erik LarsonMidnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
True Crime
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Average rating 3.95  · 
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Start your review of Green River, Running Red: The Real Story of the Green River Killer - America's Deadliest Serial Murderer
Oct 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime, library, 2016
A very thorough and very interesting telling of the events surrounding the investigation of the Green River Killer. I did not know much about the Green River Killer - other than he committed a series of murders in Washington back in the 80s. Since I knew so little, this was a suspenseful whodunit? for me.

The book is not easy to read if the horrific details of crimes make you queasy. It was shocking to read about what one human can do to another human because they think they are "doing the right
Johann (jobis89)
Mar 06, 2018 rated it liked it
"Prostitution is a profession born of desperation, poverty, alienation and loneliness."

Ann Rule covers one of the most profilic serial killers in American history - a case involving more than forty-nine female victims and spanning over two decades of intense investigative work.

Well, this one was a mixed bag. It's very clear from the beginning that Rule tries to use this novel as a way of humanising all of the Green River Killer's victims. With the introduction of each victim, there is a small pi
May 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Edit: I am updating my review for this book because this Orlando massacre has made me realize something. I gave this book a 3.75/5 stars because I found it repetitive. I found hearing about the girls' life repetitive and I wanted to hear more about Gary Ridgway. But I was wrong in thinking that. I stand by everything else in my review, and it was repetitive, but in the way it was done, not what was said. Ridgway was charged with 48 murders, almost identical to this massacre. And as with other ma ...more
jv poore
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, own-it, crime
And I want to be Ann Rule when I grow up.
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really good true crime book, the main reason why I didn't give it five stars is that there was too much filler in here for me towards the end. A good 20 percent of this book could have deleted (after we get into the 1990s) since we all should know at this point that Ridgway (the Green River Killer) didn't get arrested until 2001 and was not convicted until 2003. Depending on the book I don't mind when Rule segues into the lives of the police officers who are responsible for apprehendi ...more
Marcella Wigg
Can't say this is a fun read, but Rule has a tendency to use victim-centered narrative, which I find progressive and important in discussions of true crime, and it was overall a well-done account of the cases of the Green River Killer. Ridgway is a pretty solid refutation to the common misconceptions about serial killers, that they must be extraordinarily successful or charming or intelligent, especially to evade capture. He was utterly ordinary and mediocre, even less than mediocre by some meas ...more
Ashley Daviau
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is just beyond terrifying. Thankfully Ridgway has been convicted but to know that it took so long to catch this monster is just horrifying, he was just hiding in plain sight the WHOLE time. It gives me shivers just thinking about it! Ann Rule truly is the queen of true crime writing, she just has the perfect way of balancing the horrifying crime facts with the tidbits about the victims and Ridgway’s own life leading up to his killings. I enjoyed that she introduced us to the victims, b ...more
Dr. Detroit
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
My wife thinks there is something seriously wrong with me deep inside because of my great love of true crime, in particular serial killers. But what does she know? She likes the Eddie Murphy single “Party All the Time.”

The body count here is staggering, Green River Killer Gary Ridgway exposing Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Joseph James DeAngelo, Richard Ramirez, the Hillside Stranglers, and the Zodiac Killer as mere pikers after being convicted of murdering 49 women. And who knows if that number i
Dec 28, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime, nonfiction
And apparently the other thing I needed to be reading while studying for finals was a book about the man who raped and strangled (and often strangled and raped) over fifty women in Washington State.

This is an utterly fascinating story, unfortunately packaged by an annoying true crime author. I wanted to read about Gary Ridgeway not because he’s a killer, but because he’s such an odd specimen. I mean, from a profiling standpoint, he just doesn’t make sense. He was married happily for twenty year
BAM The Bibliomaniac
Dec 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
A true crime book about the man in Seattle who took the lives of at least 49 women. It took two decades of research on the author's part to compile the book.
Anne Rule never disappoints. Her ability to ingratiate herself into the story is impressive. This was excellently researched.
Dec 04, 2008 rated it it was ok
Stepping away from her typical formula of featuring multiple stories in one book, Ann Rule takes on a hefty project with Green River, Running Red.

Rule began compiling information on this well-known serial killer in 1982, waiting for detectives to figure out whodunit so she could write about the self-described "killing machine," Gary Ridgway, who confessed in 2003 to strangling 48 women, starting with Wendy Lee Coffield in 1982 and ending with Patricia Yellowrobe in 1998.

Because Ridgway operated
Apr 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
I was visiting a friend in her office the other day when I noticed this book in her IN box and commented on the title, and she said “Do you want to read it?” I have read it; I could not put the damn thing down! Ann Rule has a marvelous facility for capturing your attention and making you want to see what comes next, and I was intrigued by the way she wove the threads of this plot into something that reads like a novel with alternate points of view.

This book is the story of the Green River Killer
Caidyn (BW Reviews; he/him/his)
This review can also be found here!

TW: serial murders and mentions of strangulation, dismemberment, and necrophilia (although not in graphic detail)

Never in my life did I ever think I’d put the word “necrophilia” on this blog, but here we are today. Welcome to talking about true crime and serial killers. Today, it’s Gary Ridgway, also known as the Green River Killer.

He was active from 1982 to 1988 (but it’s speculated he could have killed up to his capture) and confessed to killing 71 women. He
Trigger warnings: death, murder, rape, gore, kidnapping, disappearance of a loved one, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, abusive relationships, murder of sex workers.

3.5 stars.

I so desperately wanted to find this utterly gripping from start to finish, because I'd never even HEARD of the Green River Killer before this book came across my radar and he was so incredibly prolific. And I fully admire Ann Rule's commitment to telling the stories of each and every young woman who disappeared in the area dur
I didn't mind the endless descriptions of the victims. In fact, I liked that -- it keeps the memory of the transient, wayward girls Ridgway killed alive, even if the details of their lives were nothing remarkable. What I didn't like was reading about Ann Rule's awesome books and her awesome role as a tip call taker and how everyone in the true crime world looks to her as an expert, etcetera. The crime reporting is good, though the book could have been a welcome 50 pages shorter if Ann had talked ...more
I vaguely remember the Green River Killer from when he was caught and it made headlines but I don't think I ever really knew much about him aside from snippets on serial killer websites or what have you.
Because I am awful, every time he was mentioned by his less-than-creative moniker, I could only think of the Stuckey River Killer. I mean, that shouldn't be a go-to parody, right?

This is only my second Ann Rule book and I find that, so far, I appreciate the way she speaks of the women who get mur
Cecily Kyle
I love reading about True Crime and especially serial killers. I was really surprised I hadn't heard of this one before considering the extent of his spree.
Definitely an interesting read from someone who actually spoke to the killer before he was caught.
I hope to read more books from Ann Rule!
Decent Read!
Katherine Addison
This is an excellent account of the Green River Killer's reign of terror, from the discovery of Wendy Lee Coffield's body in 1982 to his long, gruesome interviews with detectives as part of his plea bargain in 2003. Rule, as a famous true crime writer living in the south Seattle area, found herself a part of the story even as she was trying to prepare to write about it (to a lesser degree than happened with Ted Bundy, but I'm sure the coincidence was horrific for her), and I think part of what m ...more
Feb 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Two decades...

More than forty victims...

And the lives of many women ended in the reign of the most prolific serial killer in U.S. history.

For more than nineteen years, the prostitutes of King County, Washington were terrorized by the most sadistic serial killer in the nation's history. Although most of the victims disappeared between 1982 & 1984, it would take close to 100 detectives and more than 10 million fruitless tips for law enforcement to zero in on Gary Leon Ridgway as the Green River Ki
Allison Schroeder
Feb 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Ann is long winded af she doesn’t let a detail slip. Fuck you gary
When I was a kid, I remember hearing about the Green River Killer. No details, just the name, but it was spooky enough that it stuck with me. And since my library doesn't have The Stranger Beside Me in ebook—I won't read it in paperback because I worked in a library; I know what those ratty true crime paperbacks look like and I'm not touching them—I chose this book as part of my exploration of the question: Do I really enjoy true crime or do I just love Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark's My ...more
Oct 18, 2009 rated it it was ok
What is it about Washington State that attracts serial killers? Last year I read Ann Rule's The Stranger Beside Me, which is a fascinating book in large part because Rule, even then a crime writer, was actually friends with its subject: Ted Bundy. That's a bizarre and disturbing piece of kismet right there. And it lead to a true crime story that was psychologically complex because Rule was clearly trying so hard to understand how the man who was her friend could also be such a monster.

Rule, sadl
♥ Marlene♥
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Didn't really grab me until about page 470.
I thought about not finishing it, but I wanted to know what happened.
When they finally identified Ridgeway, things picked up.

I appreciate Ann Rule's dedication to the victims and their families, but the writing became repetitive and monotonous. I suppose the monotony comes from the overall bleakness of this case, but it was not only bleak, but a chore to get through.

I did find it rewarding, however, and I'm glad I finished this.

I think I went into the
Jun 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This doesn't read a like a suspense thriller, so if you are looking for that, you may want to skip this true crime non-fiction book. There is a lot of biography for the unfortunates girls strangled by this horrible serial killer. You get to know many of them and it tears your heart out. Although, I'm glad they finally found the killer, I'm sorry it took so long.
Brittany Petersen (thecontinuingchronicles)
Rating 3.5/5

I find I don't have nearly as much to say about Green River, Running Red as I did with The Stranger Beside Me. This is for two reasons:

I don't find Gary Ridgeway particularly compelling. He was a sad little man who had the same cliche story as others convincted of killing women or prostitutes: He hated women because of past injustices and could only satiate that rage by killing them. And, as is the case for many serial killers, Gary Ridgeway was extraordinarily ordinary. From his app
Carrie Kellenberger
This was a very thorough read about the Green River Killer, the victims, and the Green River task force that was assigned to catch him. It is a culmination of two decades worth of research, and it's also the length of time it took to catch the killer. It amazes me that he got away with killing 49 women and that it took two decades to find him.

This is a huge story to cover and it is meticulously researched. I felt it was a tad too long, but I honestly don't know how she could've edited anything o
For some reason this unusually rainy Spring/Summer has left me with an insatiable craving for true crime. From My Favorite Murder (more like, My Favorite Podcast) to The Keepers on Netflix, something about 2017 has me reaching for darker materials.

I've been wanting to read about the GRK since I first discovered Ann Rule's The Stranger Beside Me: Ted Bundy The Shocking Inside Story last year. Rule is thorough and respectful, but what hooked me in the Bundy memoir/account was ultimately lacking i
Aug 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a big fan of Rule's writing style. This felt so impersonal the way the victims were almost listed like items by their appearances. Plus the way she kept referring to Ridgeway as he instead of his name for more than half the book.
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Green River Killer is one of the most prolific serial killers of all time. Convicted of killing 48 women (many prostitutes) investigators believe there may be more that he either couldn't remember as part of his plea deal or purposely held back.

Like many serial killers, Gary Ridgway did not stand out, once again dispelling the myth that true evil shows itself in some way. A mild, meek man with a steady job and a wife, there was nothing particularly unusual about Gary. The fact that he somet
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Ann Rule was a popular American true crime writer. Raised in a law enforcement and criminal justice system environment, she grew up wanting to work in law enforcement herself. She was a former Seattle Policewoman and was well educated in psychology and criminology.

She came to prominence with her first book, The Stranger Beside Me, about the Ted Bundy murders. At the time she started researching th

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