Green River Killer: A True Detective Story

by Jeff Jensen

Other authorsJonathan Case (Artist)
Hardcover, 2011




Dark Horse, (2011)


The story of one of America's most notorious killers is revealed in this true-crime comic unlike any other! Throughout the 1980s, the highest priority of Seattle-area police was the apprehension of the Green River Killer, the man responsible for the murders of dozens of women. In 1990, with the body count numbering at least forty-eight, the case was put in the hands of a single detective, Tom Jensen. After twenty years, when the killer was finally captured with the help of DNA technology, Jensen spent 180 days interviewing Gary Leon Ridgway in an effort to learn his most closely held secrets-an epic confrontation with evil that proved as disturbing and surreal as can be imagined. Written by Jensen's own son, acclaimed entertainment writer Jeff Jensen, Green River Killer: A True Detective Story presents the ultimate insider's account of America's most prolific serial killer. Combines a historic manhunt with a compelling family story! Written by Entertainment Weekly's Jeff Jensen! The ultimate true crime graphic novel! For fans of From Hell and Torso.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member msf59
During the 80s and early 90s a monster killed scores of women in the Seattle/Tacoma area. His name was Gary Leon Ridgway, aka The Green River Killer. Told in illustrated form, this thorough and totally fascinating account, focuses on Detective Tom Jensen, as he doggedly pursued this heinous
Show More
butcher, through 2 frustrating decades.
Yes, this is a bleak, lurid subject, but if you are interested in true-crime stories, you can’t get any better. An added bonus, the author is Jensen’s son, who witnessed first hand his father obsession with capturing Ridgway.
Show Less
LibraryThing member A_Reader_of_Fictions
Jeff Jensen, the author of this graphic novel, is the son of the detective. He wrote the story as a means of honoring and understanding his father's quest to catch this murderer. The story is, in some ways, like reading an episode of CSI, or perhaps Cold Case. However, those shows generally add
Show More
really dramatic scenes for, well, dramatic effect. Except for the prologue, however, the scenes in this graphic novel are really understated, more thought provoking and mental than filled with action. The artwork works perfectly with the overall tone of the story.

Green River Killer made for an interesting read, but I, rather like Tom Jensen, am not completely satisfied with the resolution of the murder investigation. There are questions left unanswered that I would be really curious to discover the answers to. Of course, that's life.
Show Less
LibraryThing member London_StJ
According to an article by Seattle PI, Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer, holds the record for most murder convictions of any serial killer in the US. Altogether, he has claimed responsibility for the deaths of 49 women. He was a suspect for seventeen years before DNA technology advancements
Show More
lead to his arrests, but his murders began two years before that (his first murder attempt - that of a seven-year-old boy - was in 1966).

Detective Tom Jensen leads the task force on the Green River Killer from the beginning, and in 1991 becomes the only member of the police force still assigned to the case. And, as presented by his son Jeff Jensen, he continued to press on, driven by sympathy for the families of missing or murdered young women, and nearly crippled by his own humanity.

In the end, he finds retribution.

The graphic novel proves to be a strong medium for true crime, literally giving the detective, victims, and Ridgway faces that continue to haunt the reader after the text is closed. The stark illustrations emphasize the emotional turmoil that would accompany any case of this kind, and Jensen's penchant for focused portraiture lends humanity and introspection to the story.

One drawback to this particular graphic novel, however, is the inconsistent use of time; Jensen frequently jumps backwards and forwards through time, often leaving the reader to scan the characters carefully to decide if a particular sequence is from the 1980s, 90s, or after Ridgway's apprehension. Still, Green River Killer is compelling as a whole, and I would recommend it to fans of true crime and gritty comics.
Show Less
LibraryThing member SDPogue
I grew up with tales of the Green River Killer. My family lived in Western Washington until the mid-80s when we moved to Eastern Washington. We still remember the women who lost their lives to this man, especially since my brother bought a place off the Green River (further south than where the
Show More
bodies were found). Green River stills gives me chills. Growing up with this tale, it's hard not to be affected by it. When I had the opportunity to select this graphic novel for review, I took it. I knew about the Green River Killer but I didn't really know the case.
I looked at this work as a chance to learn more about the case that deeply infected Washington for over 20 years.
I didn't know until I reached end of the story that Jeff Jensen is the son of the man who led the Green River task force for that time. Tom Jensen was not only the lead detective but returned to the task force as a consultant after his retirement.
This is not a gruesome tale about a serial killer. This is a touching story about the men and women who dedicated their lives to finding a killer long after he stopped killing. This is how the case touched their lives and the lives of those around them. It's a tale of courage and belief that right will prevail.
It's deeply moving. A testiment of our justice system and a reminder that no victim is undeserving of closure.
Jeff Jensen ends the book with this "The Green River Killer's victims were prostitutes, but to their families they were daughters, sisters and mothers." It's this compassion that made his father a great detective.
Show Less
LibraryThing member EBT1002
This Graphic Novel is the story of Tom Jensen, the detective who searched for the Green River Killer in the Seattle area for over 20 years. Compassionately and dispassionately told, the author (who is the detective's son) explores the impact of the case on Tom's life and his family. It's a touching
Show More
tribute by a son who clearly loves and respects his imperfect father.
Show Less
LibraryThing member .Monkey.
This was excellent. I'd not heard of this killer before, but this was a great inside look at what happened, over a very long period of time, and it managed to be very touching in exactly the right way. Really wonderful.
LibraryThing member DeltaQueen50
Living just north of Seattle the Green River Killer was a news story that I remember following for decades. Author Jeff Jensen and artist Jonathan Case have created an homage to Detective Tom Jensen, who worked this case for twenty years, and finally got his chance to ask the murderer why.

This is
Show More
an riveting graphic novel whose main focus is on the 188 days that the detectives got to question Gary Leon Ridgeway. The controversial plea deal was worked out mainly so that they would be able to recover more of the missing remains and gain closure on the cases of the 48 women that the Green River Murderer was eventually charged with. My only quibble with the book is that the timeline was sometimes confusing as the story jumped back and forth between the years and I became unclear as to what year the story was portraying at that point.

It was not the goal of the author to write a full detailed account of these murders, but rather to honor his father whose work and dedication went a long way towards solving this case. The Green River Killer told me all I care to know and overall was a excellent visual story.
Show Less
LibraryThing member klack128
I found this graphic novel to be really interesting. It's not necessarily driven by action and excitement, but really does a great job of looking at things from the perspective of a dedicated cop, one who won't give up on finding the person responsible for many awful deaths, even when many others
Show More
have given it up. It might not seem fresh on the surface, but it felt like a fresh perspective, and while at first I found the jumping around from one timeline to the other disorienting, I came to really appreciate what it did to enhance the storytelling. Highly recommend.
Show Less
LibraryThing member piemouth
More of a story about the detective who hunted and finally prosecuted the killer, and his relationships with other detectives. That raises it above the usual true crime books. Despite a lot of legwork, when the killer was finally caught it was with DNA, and he made a deal to show detectives where
Show More
he'd left bodies to avoid the death penalty. So, much of the book is about these field trips to where bodies were dumped, and how frustrating it was for the detectives. He simply couldn't remember most of the details because there'd been so many murders and they were so similar. For him the women were just objects to satisfy his urge to kill.
The artwork is beautiful and Case does a great job of showing the detectives and their families aging, as the case goes on through the years. I didn't realize until I finished it that the writer was the son of the lead detective and main character.
Show Less
LibraryThing member AVoraciousReader
*Book source ~ Library

Jeff Jensen, son of Detective Tom Jensen, tells the story in graphic novel form of the decades long hunt and arrest of the infamous Green River Killer.

I’ve heard of the Green River Killer over the years, but I never delved into the background. Sad considering I earned an
Show More
Associates in Applied Science in Criminal Justice. I’m bad and ashamed. *hangs head* Anyway, this is a great telling of how things went down. Using flashbacks between 2003 and the 80s (mostly), it gives a lot of detail without going overboard, so I got the gist and can read further in other books if I wish. The illustrations are in black and white and they’re consistent and pretty good. I recommend this for any fan of true crime, serial killers and/or graphic novels.
Show Less
LibraryThing member wordsampersand
4.5 stars, but I'm fine with rounding up.

I've been a fan of Jeff Jensen since I started reading his Entertainment Weekly reviews regularly about a decade ago. When I picked this up, I didn't realize he was the author until I started reading. His father was one of the law enforcement officer who
Show More
brought in the infamous Green River Killer.

It's a dark subject that is (thankfully) handled with little exploitation. This reads like a love letter to Jensen's father, a decent man butting heads with evil in society. It's a surprisingly moving story. The only think I disliked was that some of Jensen's dialogue feels overly expository, but it only happens in a few places.
Show Less
LibraryThing member lflareads
I checked this book out from the library, as I love a murder mystery, but the graphic novel idea made me curious. Excellent portrayal of the mystery behind the Green River killer and the detective in charge of the case.
LibraryThing member bookbrig
This hit all of my crime show watching fan buttons. It's an interesting story, made more fascinating by its basis in truth.
LibraryThing member LVStrongPuff
This was a wonderful little book. I can understand Jensen's frustration. This was a very sick man that did something horrible. I could feel is emotion through the whole thing.
LibraryThing member ftbooklover
Detective Tom Jensen and several partners, including members of the Green River Task Force spent over 30 years investigating the Green River Killer. Even after his retirement from the police force, Jensen continued on as a police consultant in order to be involved when the case was solved. To
Show More
handle the stress of such a long, public investigation, Jensen used construction projects and spent time with his family. The introduction of DNA matching and other evidence, helped to prove that Gary Ridgeway was in fact, The Green River Killer.
Show Less


Original language



Page: 0.1914 seconds