Green River Killer: A True Detective Story by Jeff Jensen and Jonathan Case

I found the book Green River Killer to be a fascinating read.  In the beginning, I was confused about who was who; the lead detective on the case had a similar hair style and mustache to the killer and the black and white drawings made it difficult to tell them apart.  Later in the book, I decided that maybe it was intentional, to draw a parallel between the detective and the killer.  The writer focused on one of the detectives around whom to tell the story, so the story was basically about two men, the killer and the cop.  I’ve read about a similar technique that used to be employed in many gothic novels; a negative doppelganger exists in the story that contrasts with the main character.  I see the detective, Tom Nelson, and the killer, Gary Ridgway, as contrasting doppelgangers in this story.  Tom Nelson spent almost his entire career investigating the Green River killings and found it to be mostly frustrating.  Whenever things seemed to be moving forward, there would be another setback.  The story was pieced together in such a way that it was hard to follow (a lot of flashbacks), but near the end, things did start to come together and make a little more sense.  I think it would benefit from headings or some type of indicator for time period when these shifts would happen.  Since the book deals with such graphic subject matter, I appreciated their decision to use all black and white drawings.  imagesSome of the scenes are pretty graphic, considering the subject matter, but mostly the images are of the remains of the victims many years later when they were found.  This would be a good book to have in your collection for older teens and adults, and as seems to be the case with most graphic nonfiction, I would recommend this for reluctant male readers.  There’s something very compelling about “true crime” novels, and the same goes for this one.

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