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The Search for the Green River Killer

The True Story of America's Most Prolific Serial Killer
Narrated by: Keith Sellon-Wright
Length: 17 hrs and 27 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (19 ratings)

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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 members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Len
  • 01-06-2019

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.

2 people found this helpful

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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.

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  • Christopher
  • 16-04-2019

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.

21 people found this helpful

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  • Katherine F. Paddon
  • 14-04-2019

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.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Dominic B.
  • 16-06-2019

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.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • J. Daniell
  • 29-09-2019

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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  • Ashley
  • 04-09-2019

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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  • Anna L Dedrick
  • 09-08-2019

A Little Slow

Gets into a lot of office fights and not a lot about the criminal. Ok

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kristopher KR
  • 18-03-2020

Excellent timeline

While not as good as Helter Skelter, in my opinion, this was still a fantastically intriguing timeline of the events leading up to the capture of the worst serial killer in the United States.
I find these types of books fascinating. Especially when you already know the outcome and you can see exactly where, when, and how things went wrong.
Technology finally caught up with the killer and the cops learned a few valuable lessons in the process.
A great listen, the narrator with the calm, “just the facts” demeanor holds the listener’s attention quite well.

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  • Diana Hart 33
  • 29-02-2020

long

my home is Washington State, I was a teenager when Ted Bundy was patrolling, I live on Lake Sammamish in fact when he killed there. The Green River Murderer never scared me per say, because he targeted prostitutes, But I knew of the murders, and when they finally caught him. this book delves into more of the bureaucracy of the police department's trying to deal with the bodies that were being found. it's long winded in the politics and soap opera BS that hindered this case for over a decade.
I'm glad the sick monster was finally caught! I get why families gave up the death penelty for hopefully finding out where their loved one was at. but I still think he should be fried! Having sex with animals!? and coming back to have sex with dead bodies!?! he needs to be put down!
I would of given the book more stars but i got tired of listening to the stupid politics and soap opera drama that happened.
the narrator is great though ;)

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  • Aaron Joshua Brookshire
  • 23-02-2020

Extensively beautiful

The amount of detail and information that went into this book makes it a must read for any true crime junkie. I’m glad I took the time to listen and learn.

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  • Tessa M Reyes
  • 09-02-2020

Great book!

Loved it! I had read Reichert’s book and his is...very flattering to...himself. This book gets into more of the politics and procedural stuff about the investigation. Which can be a little dry. But that’s because it was written before they caught him. Although it does add a few epilogues about after he was caught. Worth the credit, although very sad. Not for you her readers.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 25-08-2019

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.

3 people found this helpful

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  • David
  • 13-06-2019

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!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Lee Easton
  • 22-05-2019

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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  • Joanna
  • 31-08-2019

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 .

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  • Smamph
  • 06-08-2019

Astounding

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

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  • Victoria W.
  • 14-07-2019

Great read

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