Another pick for Outside the Big Two Week is this title, from Jeff Jensen and Jonathan Case. Green River Killer: A True Detective Story is a non-fiction graphic novel that deals with the serial killer Gary Ridgeway, who was convicted of killing at least 49 women in Washington during the 1980s and 90s and confessed to killing over double that number.
Usually this wouldn't be a book I would have rushed to pick up. However, good word of mouth in my local comic store and a number of recommendations led me to buy the graphic novel. I was expecting a police procedural, sensationalized for comic form, but in fact, the graphic novel is some way from that. The book focuses on detective Tom Jensen, who worked on the case for over twenty years, and happens to be the author's father.
It is not a direct story about the hunt or the actual killings but a more psychological study of his father's experiences, both during the hunt for the killer and the interrogations that took place once Ridgeway had been caught. In a plea bargain, Ridgeway avoided the death sentence by agreeing to cooperate with police to locate all the bodies of his victims and Jensen was involved in these interviews, as well as the investigation. Its this personal connection that ensures that the book doesn't have a ghoulish obsession with what's one of most horrific cases of our times. Instead it's a thoughtful, compelling and deeply chilling case study of the banality of evil and how that evil can pervade through the lives of everyone it touches.
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