Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Book Review: Green River Killer: A True Detective Story

If you've been waiting for CSI: Seattle to come out, maybe this book will do the trick. Or maybe not. Because although both this book and CSI are about a complicated case with police work and science, and this book (being a graphic novel) can be read in about an hour like a CSI show, the similarities stop there. This book is realistic to the point of being boring at times. The capture of the killer is not particularly dramatic, and much of the book concerns a long interrogation in which he can't remember anything precisely. But the value of this book is that it is real. It certainly was real for Jeff Jensen, the author, considering his father is Tom Jensen, the detective who at times was solely responsible for the Green River case. This book is about the small joys (and wearing grind) of perseverance. One of the small joys is the way Jonathan Case, the artist, captures the exact aging of the characters as the narrative skips back and forth from the early 80's to the early 00's. That's something you can only get from this medium. On the whole, it is so realistic that you're left to make meta-connections on your own; ultimately, this is a procedural at heart. But it's a good example of what graphic novels can do, and evidence that the genre has really grown up.

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