Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Green River Killer: A True Detective Story

A real life crime story, The Green River Killer is an intimate account of a decades long effort to find and bring to justice a serial murderer in the Seattle, Washington area. The author Jeff Jensen's father was one of the lead detectives on the case so he has access to the inner workings of what went on. This graphic novel gives two accounts, one of Detective Tom Jensen, who at one point was the only person assigned to the case, and the other of Gary Leon Ridgway, a very troubled man who later admitted to killing at least fifty women between 1982 and 2003. This book is compelling and powerful though not lurid or overly graphic, despite its subject matter. It delves in to the interplay between the killer and detectives as they all search for answers for these brutal, senseless killings.

This graphic novel is a collaboration between Jeff Jensen and Jonathan Case. Jensen is a senior writer for Entertainment Weekly. Jensen wrote about his reasons and intentions for writing the book in this blog entry at Dark Horse. He speaks more about his working on the book with his father in this interview. Jonathan Case is an illustrator and member of the Periscope Studio based in Portland, Oregon. 2011 has been a big year for him, with the publication of this book as well as his well-received graphic novel debut Dear Creature. Case speaks about his process in creating this book here in this blog entry.

The Green River Killer has already received a good number of accolades, appearing on Amazon's, The New York Times', and USA Today's Best of 2011 lists. As could be expected, most reviews have been largely positive. Val Victory wrote that it was a "great read, and I highly recommend it for those who love detective stories and thrillers alike." Jeff Baker called the book "contemporary and timeless." Athira commented that it was "very thought-provoking and well-done," and continued, "It had the right amount of mystery, intrigue, and humanity added to the illustration."

A preview is available here from the book's publisher Dark Horse.

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