Green River Killer: A True Detective Story
Written by Jeff Jensen
Art by Jonathan Case
Letters by Nate Piekos
Cover by Jonathan Case
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: September 13, 2011
Cover Price: $24.99
During the 1980s and ’90s, the Seattle area became home to one of the country’s most deadly serial killers, Gary Ridgway, who’s better known as the Green River Killer. Ridgway was charged in the murders of 48 women, but has said he killed many more than that, claiming he was responsible for as many as 71 deaths while some presume it could be closer to 90.
With that much blood on his hands, it’s clear that Ridgway was not easy to catch. He’s now serving 48 life sentences with no chance for parole, plus 480 additional years””10 years for evidence tampering for each of the 48 murders””but only because he decided to come clean with authorities in exchange for a life sentence over the death penalty.
One of the detectives that worked tirelessly to find and convict Ridgway, Tom Jensen, dedicated two decades of his life to the case. And it is his son, Entertainment Weekly writer Jeff Jensen, who is now telling his father’s story and his recollection of the events leading up to the conviction of Ridgway in the graphic novel, Green River Killer: A True Detective Story.
The story opens with a chilling sequence involving a 16–year–old Ridgway and a young boy, and it sets up the whole story. There’s times where you question whether Ridgway is even the real killer or not (if you don’t know the story), but your mind always goes back to that terrible first encounter.
From then on it’s a cat and mouse chase between Ridgway and Jensen and the other detectives, only instead of some kind of wild manhunt, the two sides are in an small area, together, running in circles. Ridgway claims he’ll lead them to bodies and hard evidence of his crimes in exchange for a life sentence, but constantly misleads them and withholds crucial details, but does it in a way that seems almost unintentional. Hiding from them right in front of their faces. And that is what Green River Killer is about: not how it all ended, but this enclosed low–speed chase between Jensen and Ridgway.
The artwork of the story is presented in an sort of old school black and white comic strip style, focusing not on colors and styles so much as the faces and emotions of the people involved in these brutal acts and the work to bring justice to the man responsible. In fact, it’s one of the better examples I can think of that really does an outstanding job at painting a picture of the emotions these people felt, especially Mr. Jensen, went through and sacrificed.
This is a perfect comic for those who aren’t really so much into the science fiction or fantasy of traditional comics. Being real life, it’s something everyone can be compelled by, especially those who are into true crime stories.