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Publisher's Summary

In the 1980s and 1990s, 49 women in the Seattle area were brutally murdered, their bodies dumped along the Green River and Pacific Highway South in Washington State. Despite an exhaustive investigation - even serial killer Ted Bundy was consulted to assist with psychological profiling - the sadistic killer continued to elude authorities for nearly 20 years.  

Then, in 2001, after mounting suspicion and with DNA evidence finally in hand, King County police charged a 52-year-old truck painter, Gary Ridgway, with the murders. His confession and the horrific details of his crimes only added fuel to the notoriety of the Green River Killer.   

Journalists Carlton Smith and Tomas Guillen covered the murders for the Seattle Times from day one, receiving a Pulitzer Prize nomination for their work. They wrote the first edition of this book before the police had their man. Revised after Ridgway's conviction, The Search for the Green River Killer is the ultimate authoritative account of the Pacific Northwest killing spree that held a nation spellbound - and continues to horrify and fascinate, spawning dramatizations and documentaries of a demented killer who seemed unstoppable for decades.

©1991 Carlton Smith and Tomas Guillen (P)2019 Tantor

What listeners say about The Search for the Green River Killer

Average Customer Ratings
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    5 out of 5 stars
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The Definitive Green River Killer Book

When you listen to this book, you must keep in mind that it was originally written in 1991. When this book was first written, they knew about the truck painter and the paint particles. This book ended up being eerily spot on, and even Ridgeway owned a copy of it. I remember reading it for the first time in the early 1990s and thinking they needed to arrest the truck painter. Their summary of Ridgeway was not added after he was caught. When it lists the contacts the Green River team has with him over the years, it points a finger right at him.

That being said, this is not the book if you want to get to know the victims of the crime. Ann Rule's book is better at being about that. But if you want a book that was written at the time when nobody knew who the GRK was, that relates the true scope of the manhunt to find a man who was believed still on the loose, this is the book. A chapter was added when Ridgeway was arrested and convicted, but everything else remains the book from 1991 that even the killer himself viewed as the definitive account of his crimes.

39 people found this helpful

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Mostly boring

I realize the original book was written long before they actually caught Gary Ridgway, It was hard for me to stay interested in it but I finished... i guess I am more fascinated with a profile of the killer rather than most of the other details this book gives. Keith sellon-wright is great at what he does, I also have the Btk book he narrated, but this just wasnt interesting really.

8 people found this helpful

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A litany of misery

I am a frequent listener to true crime books, and I was interested to hear whatever happened with the Green River case. I found myself becoming numb as the story progressed. I think the sheer volume of killing made it almost impossible to communicate the humanity of those lost and grieving. This book is meticulous in telling the story of the ups and downs of the investigation which was interesting, but ultimately the human element was lost - and so the long book became almost unbearable to listen to. Also, the narrator was not a great choice for this book. I kept flashing back to my annoying algebra teacher somehow. His air quotes were audible in his repeated use of "street language" like "ho" and "john" and "trick", which the authors had him define for those not "hip" to the language. I am not sure it would be possible to tell this story without ultimately alienating the listener though. Such and endless and bottomless series of murder - the most ever committed by a known serial killer. Glad they finally nailed the monster. So sad it took so long.

18 people found this helpful

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Phenomenal book

The untold secrets behind the most notorious serial killer in the history of the United States. I remember living through this, but I'm so shocked to realize that I only knew a fraction of the horror that the families as well as the citizens of Seattle went through from the late seventies to the late 90s. This book does an incredible job of placing you in the shoes of the individuals investigating this case, as well as describing in detail what is going on behind the scenes, as the author takes you on a journey of discovery that you won't soon forget. Also, the narrator does an incredible job, and is very easy to listen to. One of the best True Crime books I have listened to, and I am a True Crime Junkie (which says a lot), who collects books such as this, in order to further my study of psychopathy.

4 people found this helpful

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Captivating

I loved this book, and how detailed and thorough it is. It also outlines the stress and political issues that come with these cases, which people lose sight of and place all the blame on law enforcement.

The narrator did a great job as well, I didn’t want to take my headphones out! I’m new to audiobooks because they don’t normally keep my attention, but this book took my attention and I kept wanting to give it my attention!

Highly recommend this book to serial killer listeners and those looking for a good book!

3 people found this helpful

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good but drgged

dragged a lot but well presented and a good story, I had to jump a few chapters towards the later part of the book

1 person found this helpful

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Narrator is super monotone and boring.

Great book. Took me a bit to get engrossed with it. There were a lot of details that were hard to keep up with. This book literally covers every detail from start to finish of the investigation. Some of which is a bit too much to handle at times. Be prepared for every month from start to finish even the boring ones.

1 person found this helpful

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Overall Quite Good

Very thorough accounting of law enforcement efforts to catch the Green River Killer, AKA Gary Ridgeway. The book was initially written and published before Ridgeway was caught, but the author did add a somewhat hurried chapter in the epilog to include his arrest and conviction. I think the book would be improved if more time was dedicated to analyzing the MO, signature and motivation of the murders, and less time to funding issues faced by the Police.

The narration is quite good.

1 person found this helpful

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to hunt a killer

Loved....very truthful and detailed....would recommend you to read it ..if you love true crime stories

1 person found this helpful

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Monotonous Facts

I wouldnt recommend for your first true crime read. It is very monotonous & very heavy on facts. That being said, I loved it! The way the story is written and the timeline is laid out, really hammers home the extent of the crimes & how prolific of a serial killer he was.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-25-19

disappointing

the most long winded book,i have ever had the misfortune to purchase,i have lots of books in my library and this has to be the worse book i have bought.

5 people found this helpful

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  • David
  • 06-13-19

Thorough

Very thorough, makes you realise how hard it can be to catch people like this, seems like Ridgway stumbled across the perfect environment to get away with murder. Would have been great having more info on Ridgway at the end but I guess that capture was a different era and a different book all together!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Joanna
  • 08-31-19

Very interesting book

For all fans of real crime great listen.
Interesting story although the voice over was badly performed. It could be good for an economic book not a crime story. Monotonic and boring performance in my opinion. Voice over for those kind of books should be chosen more carefully .

2 people found this helpful

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  • Victoria W.
  • 07-14-19

Great read

Very little background on the killer himself but an interesting account of the police investigation and how it progressed.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Lee Easton
  • 05-22-19

Ridgeway....

If you into finding out how the case was handled read this book. Amazing. Well wrote. Narrator was good as well. quite grafic so if you dont like that stuff, probz not for you.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Janet Williams
  • 08-26-21

Much too long

This book badly needs editing. It would be a better read or listen if half the extraneous material were excised. It was well read by Sellon-Wright, but so much boring detail - particularly the minutiae of local politics - means l nearly gave up on it many times.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-30-21

Too Much Waffle

Okay, but can lose track as their is too much detail which doesn't add to the story, could easily be edited to be more concise. literally goes into individual conversations which can be boring in parts.

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  • Steve Wilson
  • 05-06-21

Green River Killer

What a fantastic listen, I am a true crime enthusiast and knew it was Gary Ridgeway but this did not detract from this fantastic listen.

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  • charlotte
  • 02-14-21

Interesting

Long & detailed book, interesting case. Focus on police process.
Narrator has strong american accent, took some getting used to as a Brit. Sample first

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  • Smamph
  • 08-06-19

Astounding

Gripping, fascinating, terrifying, appalling and exhausting! Cleverly written and clearly narrated. I recommend it wholeheartedly!

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  • Len
  • 06-01-19

Not nearly as good as the Anne Rule book

Concentrates far too much on the infighting between the relevant law enforcement agencies, does not go into any of the FBI profiling involvement, in my opinion this book is incredibly boring, does not mention anything about Ridgway's family, a very strange book that left me totally unsatisfied in every way. Nothing new is told, just stuff that was available on any website, the writers obviously didnt get any inside info from anyone involved in the investigation. Waste of my time to listen to it.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-14-20

Not the book for me , could work for someone else

If I had have researched this book, I never would have read it. It really was not what I was looking for in a Green River Killer book.

Time taken to read/ listen: 16 Days

I listened to this as an audiobook on Audible, and it is really not what I was looking for from a true crime book.

This book is split into several five parts. The first four sections of this book broke down the investigation into the Green River Killer based on who was in charge of the investigation; Book 1: Kraske (1982-83), Book 2: Adamson (1984-86), Book 3: Pompey (1986-87), and Book 4: Evans (1988-90). The last section of this book is an epilogue that was written several years after the book was originally published which looked at Gary Ridgeway's capture and prosecution.

My issue with the book, which is completely my own fault because I didn't do enough research before reading this one, was that it was originally published before Gary Ridgeway was even caught. The only mention of the actual killer was the epilogue. This book goes into very rich detail about the minute details of the investigation but you don't really get a sense of the killer.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mark T.
  • 01-24-20

Excruciating

If I end up in hell, this will be playing on loop. It is the most excruciatingly detailed book. I mean you’ll be told everything EXCEPT about the killer, in ridiculous minutia. I literally screamed regularly in the car at this book and it’s snail paced nit picking details. Could have been done in a few hours. Literally 20 hours longer than needed.

1 person found this helpful