Dark Horse Comics, $24.99, 235 pages
The Green River Killer remained one of America’s most notorious and prolific serial killers for many years. When finally captured, Gary Leon Ridgway confessed to 47 murders – though the actual number may be considerably higher. With the popularity of macabre but gripping true crime novels à la Ann Rule and others, there is no shortage of books on Ridgway. However, Green River Killer: A True Detective Story is unlike any other for two simple reasons: it was penned by Jeff Jensen, whose father was a Seattle detective and integral member of the Green River Task Force in charge of tracking down Ridgway – and it’s a comic book. Or, more accurately, a graphic novel.
Culled from interviews with the killer and personal recollections from his dad, Jensen – along with artist Jonathan Case – have crafted a unique and easily approachable tale of the quest to find the killer. Opening with a chilling prologue of a young Ridgway killing a boy because he “wanted to know what it felt like,” the novel does not shy away from the violence of the case, or the frustrations of the Task Force as they were unable to find their man for nearly two decades. The illustrations are done in black and white – a sinister effect that plays off the concepts of good versus evil, and the subjects have been rendered with amazing detail – the key players dead ringers for their real-life counterparts. This is a fascinating read and tells the story in a way no other book dares.