Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Search for the Green River Killer: The True Story of America's Most Prolific Serial Killer” as Want to Read:
The Search for the Green River Killer: The True Story of America's Most Prolific Serial Killer
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Search for the Green River Killer: The True Story of America's Most Prolific Serial Killer

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  6,604 ratings  ·  83 reviews
New York Times Bestseller: From the journalists who covered the story, the shocking crimes of Gary Ridgway, Americas most prolific serial murderer.

In the 1980s and 1990s, forty-nine women in the Seattle area were brutally murdered, their bodies dumped along the Green River and Pacific Highway South in Washington State. Despite an exhaustive investigationeven serial
Kindle Edition, 544 pages
Published July 4th 2017 by Open Road Media (first published 1991)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Search for the Green River Killer, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Search for the Green River Killer

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,604 ratings  ·  83 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Search for the Green River Killer: The True Story of America's Most Prolific Serial Killer
Apr 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
The really cool thing about this book is that it was written before Gary Ridgeway was ever caught and found to be responsible for the Green River killings. Written by two journalists who worked for The Seattle Times during the years that the murders were taking place, this is an account of the task force's efforts the catch the guy who was terrorizing prostitutes in Washington state back in the 80's. I found it fascinating to follow the investigation as it was happening, and before the authors, ...more
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember the furor about the Green River killings and now that I'm in the PNW, thought this would be an interesting read. I was right. Reading about the process of finding the victims and then seeing their pictures really brought home how these were someone's sister, daughter, friend. There were a lot of accusations about how not enough was being done since most of the victims were prostitutes, but the police were really stymied by the false names and frequent moves that are a part of that ...more
Rebecca McNutt
Chilling and well-researched, this true crime novel is less about murder and more about the way in which Seattle and Washington State at large coped with this horror.
Feb 11, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Story - 3.5
Narration - 4.0

What is it about that area of the country?
Apr 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whelp, once again I'm surprised to learn that another infamous killer is worse than I thought. Gary Ridgeway, the Green River killer, is the most prolific killer in U.S. history. Having 49 confirmed victims. And possibly more. The book was written before Ridgeway was officially captured, but it's crazy to see he was a major suspect 15 YEARS before his actual incarceration and conviction. I wouldn't mind reading his confession. A real sicko that it took nearly 20 years to catch. Glad I wasn't a ...more
Amy Mawdsley
Jun 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
This is the first Green River Killer book I read. It was fantastic and informative. I grew up with the Green River Killer on the loose. I am happy that even though this particular book did not have a happy ending, it has finally been resolved.
Aug 15, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was a little meh on this one. It wasnt at all bad, exactly; its only that I mistakenly didnt really take the title of the book seriouslyit is really only about the *search* for the Green River Killer, not about the crimes, capture, or conviction of the Green River Killer himself or the victims. It dont have much to say about the Green River Killer suspects or Ridgeway (he wasnt mentioned at all until page 392 and even then not even by name, regardless that at the time of publication he was ...more
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
A Comedy of Police Incompetence...

...and society's total disregard for prostitutes, whom most of society considers less than human, and disposable.

This book chronicles all the Green River Killer's murders, and the ensuing investigation, including the time a witness led the police to the murderer's house, only to have the police ignore the tip.

Most of the events happen early in the history of serial killer science and advanced forensics, but the book paints a damning story on police incompetence.
I read this so long ago...
I remember running out of books to read and not feeling like going to the library at that min, so I went to my parents room to raid there bookshelf..
Well I found this big silver book and thought ok... Looks like a good time waster..
WOW!!!! I remember thinking all those girls just gone... What a sad price to pay for that lifestyle...
I'm glad he's FINALY caught...

Terry Cornell
Read Sheriff Rechiert's book 'Chasing the Devil' earlier this year, written after the Green River Killer was finally caught. The Carlton Smith book was published before the capture of the killer, so in theory I read these backwards. Carlton Smith's book is much more detailed--based on his and Gullien's reporting on the killings at the time. Interesting to see the killer briefly described, and not even named in this book. I would've have given this book a higher rating, but at times, especially ...more
Oct 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite the fact that this was written before the Green River Killer was identified (maybe even because of it), it is still a really good read. Smith and Guillen have researched every aspect of the investigation, showing where it worked, where it didn't and where it was just plain chaotic, all the while managing to avoid placing blame on the various parties (let's face it, serial killer hunting is a rather recent ability to have developed, partly because of the likes of Bundy and Ridgway). They ...more
Alex (Hey Little Thrifter)
This was an excellent and well put together account of the investigation, and the audiobook has additional detail about Gary Ridgway's arrest which took place after the book originally came out.

I really liked the narration by Keith Sellon-Wright.
Tim Edison

When this book was originally published in 1991, Gary Ridgway had not been publicly named as a suspect in the Green River murders although he was well known to detectives in the Green River Task Force. As a result the authors have little to say about Ridgway until further editions of the book were released to encompass Ridgway's arrest (in 2001) and confession and conviction (in 2003).

This really is an exhaustive study of the Green River Murders that ultimately focuses on the detectives from the
The Romance Book Disciple (Samantha)
Interesting but it really drug on too long in multiple places. I found it difficult to pick back up because I was so confused as to what they were talking about. A bit too many tangents for my taste. Also, they don't explore how they actually caught the killer, which I thought would have been much more engaging.
Feb 26, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: discarded
I was excited to read this book, as I am fascinated with this particular serial killer. But the descriptions of the Black victims are offensive and racist. You dont say a black when you are referring to human beings. This type of language was used repeatedly and Im disappointed that no one caught/stopped this before it went to print. ...more
May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
A well-written account of the investigation into the Green River killings in Washington state. This book was frustrating to read as it details the many lost opportunities, wasted resources, and terrible tragedies associated with this notorious case. Even so, the authors were extremely engaging and kept my interest throughout the lengthy account. I recommend this book to true-crime lovers or people interested in the police investigatory process.
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent book to choose if you want to know more about one of the most notorious murder sprees in history. I was very interested in this case since the events occurred near places where I lived at one point.

The authors did an immense amount of research into the crimes and relayed the information n a way that was interesting and compelling to read. With the additional information that has been added to this book about the apprehension of the killer and the evidence that they had
♥ Marlene♥
See I did not add all my books that I did write reviews for.

This is what I wrote:
on Thursday, December 15, 2005

8 out of 10
Well after a very long time of waiting, I finally got my hands on Ann Rule's Green River Running Red.
Then i still wasn't sure which book to read first so I decided to read them both together. Not my favourite way of reading but in this case, a must.

Not only was I reading those 2 books, but also another book on this subject,
Jan 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read this book at least a couple of times and it was fascinating to me as the I-84 corridor in Oregon and Washington was the hunting ground for the killer and one of the victims disappeared from the small town in far eastern Oregon where I was born and raised. I was in high school at the time of that disappearance and so the case always interested me although it wasn't until I read this book that I realized that the disappearance was attributed to the Green River Killer. I admit to having ...more
Feb 07, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got involved with this book and was fascinated as to how they went about getting started in the investigation, but I thought it got bogged down about half-way through. I kept reading, but by the time I got to the end, I was disappointed that they never caught the perpetrator.
Sep 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
I've read this several times over the years. Great true-life whodunit written entirely from the police perspective. Very little in here about the victims, alas.
Aug 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best, most detailed true crimes I've read. not to mention a fascinating case.
Nov 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Long winded. So much detail that doesn't add to the story. I really had to force myself through this book.
Lynda Kelly
Nov 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: true-crime
Firstly, this was extremely well researched but secondly, it was in no way as well edited !! It's got a LOT of dumb mistakes throughout that should have been picked up. It's not a free download, it's just presented like one.
I must say, Gary Ridgway was always a shocker to me as he looked so......harmless !! Just your regular working bloke, you'd think. However, we all know now that he was the killer, though it took decades to find him. I think a lot of the numbers murdered made themselves easy
Ana-Maria Bujor
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, crime
This was a very interesting read, considering I know now more about what happened than the authors did at the time. The eerie encounters with Ridgway, the discovery of dozens and dozens of victims, the toll taken on the lives of the investigators, all of them seem even more powerful in retrospect. And the human tragedy is hard to explain in works - all these kids (many victims were even a decade younger than I am now) and all these women struggling to live from one day to another just ...more
Mar 28, 2020 rated it liked it
This book is literally all about the search for the killer, not the actual killer, as it was first published 10 years before they caught him. This edition did contain an epilogue added after he was caught and had confessed, which was probably the most interesting part of the book.
It's not that the writing was bad, but there were just so many victims, and the victims used multiple names, it was hard to keep track of who was who. This despite the fact that there was quite a bit of repetition.
Samantha Slack (Orrange)
This is definitely a book about the police department workings, failures and frustrations. I grew a bit tired of certain details about these, since the policing and political parts didn't interest me as much as the victims, the motives and how it was solved. Much was spent talking about budget, hiring and firing. While this is incredibly important and affects any case, it just wasn't interesting to me.

This case did have a huge amount of turnover and blame with multiple police forces and
Al Swanson
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Decent amount of the search

While it was an engrossing read about the search and the political and practical aspects of finding a serial killer, it felt lacking. Police and the author obviously don't want to educate killers and this book was originally published before the advent of the internet and widespread information about police tactics.

The book was finished - except for the last chapter - before the killer was caught, so the bulk of the book makes no mention of the killer, his acts or
Apr 22, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Obviously, much research (and revision, after Ridgeway's identity was discovered) went into this book, but personally, I found most of it rather tedious. Perhaps that was the point the authors were making about the twenty or so year investigation that involved revolving task force members, office politics and ego. Investigators were at a loss; there was no communication across jurisdictions; cases could not be solved by DNA. This is also the infamous case where John Douglas was consulted, later ...more
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I remember this case in the news, so I looked forward to reading this book subject matter..Some of the theories that were given were just a bit far fetched, but the book gave a lot of information. It was written very concisely even if at times it did drag. The book seems to have been written before they caught the man that was called, "The Green River Killer" but was still a good read. it is very easy to understand why the citizens of Washington and surrounding areas was leaving in fear until ...more
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Hillside Stranglers
  • The Night Stalker
  • The Riverman: Ted Bundy and I Hunt for the Green River Killer
  • Murder in Greenwich
  • Lust Killer
  • Killer Clown: The John Wayne Gacy Murders
  • Bind, Torture, Kill: The Inside Story of the Serial Killer Next Door
  • Inside the Mind of BTK: The True Story Behind the Thirty-Year Hunt for the Notorious Wichita Serial Killer
  • I: The Creation of a Serial Killer
  • The I-5 Killer
  • Small Sacrifices
  • Bitter Blood: A True Story of Southern Family Pride, Madness, and Multiple Murder
  • Deadly Innocence
  • The Bundy Murders: A Comprehensive History
  • The Killer Across the Table: Unlocking the Secrets of Serial Killers and Predators with the FBI's Original Mindhunter
  • Because You Loved Me
  • The Onion Field
  • The Stranger Beside Me: Ted Bundy: The Shocking Inside Story
See similar books…

Related Articles

If a true crime audiobook is your idea of the perfect listen, then this post is for you. True crime has been enjoying something o...
39 likes · 9 comments
“Take that, nattering nabobs of negativity!” 0 likes
“in desperate need of an infusion of a sense of the possible.” 0 likes
More quotes…