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

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  9,850 Ratings  ·  572 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
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Community Reviews

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Ana
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, dark-reads
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This book should have been called 'Don't ever get into a car with a stranger.'

There's no nice way to say this- people are fascinated with murder. We like to watch scary movies, play violent video games, read weird books. Rock music is ruining our planet. Watching violent movies will turn you into a psychopath.

Oh look at me, challenging my inner Tipper Gore. Be gone, Tipper!

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People fly off the handle over the silliest things.

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See what I mean.

Alright, back to the matter at hand. Heralded as th
...more
Matthew
Oct 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, true-crime, library
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
...more
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
...more
Mel
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
Obsidian
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
jv poore
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, own-it, non-fiction
Chilling.
And I want to be Ann Rule when I grow up.
Lightreads
Dec 28, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, crime
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
...more
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.
Catten
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
...more
JBradford
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
...more
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
...more
Rachel
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
Teresa
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 Rive
...more
♥ Marlene♥
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Punk
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
Joshua
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
...more
Katherine
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
...more
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
Betsey Smith
Oct 31, 2012 rated it liked it
If this is a typical Ann Rule book, I won't be reading any more of her books. Her topic was very interesting but her writing was disjointed and self-serving. She jumps around between topics and between time periods. Yes, I know those methods can create interest and maintain some level of suspense to a story that's already played out, but not in this case. The jumps here seemed unintentional, like this book was a combination of several versions of the same story thrown together but not given a fi ...more
Jlsimon
Apr 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audible, true-crime
This book is a re-read for me. In truth it was one of my very first Ann Rule books.

Rule does an outstanding job in her thorough research. She learned about the victims and made a point to make sure that the reader got to meet them through her. That to me is exceptionally important because it is to common to sensationalize the killer and forget how many people are devastated by the loss of someone they loved. I think it is to easy for people to dismiss his victims because of their choices in lif
...more
Donna
Jun 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is my first Ann Rule book. It's very thorough, and at the beginning I worried that it would be a bit TOO detailed, but I stuck with it and was glad I did.
The narrator, whose name escapes me at this moment, spoke in a very 'proper' manner, so it was a little disconcerting to hear her say things like 'oral sex' or 'anal sex' or a few of the other things she had to read, lol.
I hadn't actually heard of the Green River Killer before finding this book on Audible - his case would have been happeni
...more
David Bales
Jul 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Another terribly sad but very comprehensively written book by crime writer Ann Rule on the Green River Killer case that haunted the Pacific Northwest back in the '80s. Rule takes a different take this time, concentrating on the victims and their lives instead of solely on the lives of the police investigators and the murderer, Gary Ridgeway, who began murdering young women in 1981 and was not apprehended, (through DNA evidence) for another 20 years. At the time of the murders, the King County Sh ...more
Brie
Dec 05, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction, owned
The author included quotes from an 'interview' she conducted with her son, which was kind of the tipping point for me. Sure, she inserted herself into the story when it wasn't necessary, her empathy for the victims seemed a bit artificial, and she appeared incapable of critiquing the (arguably very flawed) task force or its members, but the quotes from her son made me give up any semblance of respect I had for her so-called 'journalism'. She's written a sensationalist, biased book, and to make m ...more
Debra
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.
Natasha the Bilbliophile
May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another great Ann Rule book. It may have jut been the mood I was in, but this one was a bit harder for me to follow... felt like I needed a timeline in front of me. Still good, and good to know.
Shaun
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
...more
Lisa
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
In Washington State in the early 80s, young women were going missing. Mostly young women who were at risk – runaways and sex workers – everyone seemed content to believe that they had simply moved elsewhere. But when bodies started to be found, first in the Green River that would give a killer his name and then in clusters in lonely camping spots, the truth could no longer be ignored. A serial killer was in their midst.

The Green River Killer remained at large for nearly twenty years, hidden in p
...more
Kim
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ann Rule was an amazing writer of true crime and it's a shame that I didn't start reading her books until recently. I've started with her books on serial killers in Washington as that's where I currently live and it's eery how close I am to where these horrific events happened. Why does Seattle breed so many serial killers? Is it the weather?

I've seen a couple of documentaries here and there regarding the Green River Killer and I knew that he killed a lot of women but Ann Rule puts into perspect
...more
Carrie
Dec 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
I think I can definitively say that Ann Rule is not for me. Of all the things I don't really enjoy, I think the one that's hardest for me is she's obviously friends with a lot of police and detectives, and has spent a lot of time building relationships with them, and she's either incapable of, or unwilling to look at anything they did in a critical way.

That, combined with her amateur psychology analysis, her super repetitive writing, and her weird insistence on listing the cross streets for eve
...more
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1,880 followers
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
...more
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“Anfering sex for money is not a profession that glorifies women; it is a profession born of desperation, poverty, alieatioin, and loneliness.” 3 likes
“The few detectives working the cases complained of the same things the “Ted” Task Force had hated: sitting in a stuffy, cramped office; sorting through mountains of paper, tips, and notes; trying to find the common denominators that might lead them to a suspect they could interrogate.” 0 likes
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