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The Riverman: Ted Bundy and I Hunt for the Green River Killer

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After a search of over twenty years, one of America's most elusive serial killers was finally apprehended. Now, read the true story of one man's attempt to get inside the mind of the Green River Killer July 15, 1982: a woman's strangled body was found, caught on the pilings of Washington state's Green River. Before long, the "Green River Killer" would be suspected in at After a search of over twenty years, one of America's most elusive serial killers was finally apprehended. Now, read the true story of one man's attempt to get inside the mind of the Green River Killer July 15, 1982: a woman's strangled body was found, caught on the pilings of Washington state's Green River. Before long, the "Green River Killer" would be suspected in at least forty-nine more homicides, with no end in sight. Then the authorities received an unbelievable letter from the infamous serial killer Ted Bundy -- then on Florida's death row -- offering to help catch the Green River Killer. But he would only talk to one man: Robert Keppel, the former homicide detective who had helped track Bundy's cross-county killing spree. Now these conversations are revealed, in which Bundy speculates about the motive and methods of the Green River Killer -- and reveals his own twisted secrets as well. Now, as never before, we look into the face of evil...and into the heart of a killer.


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After a search of over twenty years, one of America's most elusive serial killers was finally apprehended. Now, read the true story of one man's attempt to get inside the mind of the Green River Killer July 15, 1982: a woman's strangled body was found, caught on the pilings of Washington state's Green River. Before long, the "Green River Killer" would be suspected in at After a search of over twenty years, one of America's most elusive serial killers was finally apprehended. Now, read the true story of one man's attempt to get inside the mind of the Green River Killer July 15, 1982: a woman's strangled body was found, caught on the pilings of Washington state's Green River. Before long, the "Green River Killer" would be suspected in at least forty-nine more homicides, with no end in sight. Then the authorities received an unbelievable letter from the infamous serial killer Ted Bundy -- then on Florida's death row -- offering to help catch the Green River Killer. But he would only talk to one man: Robert Keppel, the former homicide detective who had helped track Bundy's cross-county killing spree. Now these conversations are revealed, in which Bundy speculates about the motive and methods of the Green River Killer -- and reveals his own twisted secrets as well. Now, as never before, we look into the face of evil...and into the heart of a killer.

30 review for The Riverman: Ted Bundy and I Hunt for the Green River Killer

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    I don't have the discipline to be a serial killer and I certainly don't have the drive and obsession to catch one. Be glad people like Robert Keppel are applying their considerable talents to stop them. Keppel combines memoir, procedural textbook, history and evolution of serial murder investigative techniques and interviews with Bundy and Ridgway with very little ego. He focuses on the facts and not how awesome he is. (I'm looking at you, John Douglas.) Obsessive, detailed, dense. If you only rea I don't have the discipline to be a serial killer and I certainly don't have the drive and obsession to catch one. Be glad people like Robert Keppel are applying their considerable talents to stop them. Keppel combines memoir, procedural textbook, history and evolution of serial murder investigative techniques and interviews with Bundy and Ridgway with very little ego. He focuses on the facts and not how awesome he is. (I'm looking at you, John Douglas.) Obsessive, detailed, dense. If you only read one book on the topic of serial killers, choose this the one.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tamara

    Oh, how I love trashy serial killer true crime. Although, with all the shame I have buying these, Borders might as well stack them next to the porno mags. Robert Keppel has a bit of a superiority complex, but I would too if I was working with Ted Bundy. Note: This book should have been titled "All You Ever Wanted to Know about the Primitive Filing Systems of Pre-Computerized Crime Fighting”.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Prakriti

    I was between a host of other books when I got my hands upon a stack of some twenty true crime books. The Riverman jumped out of the lot at me. The subtitle killed any doubts left "Ted Bundy and I hunt for the Green River Killer". This sounded like one of those Japanese monster vs monster premises. Moreover, at a point of time, Ted Bundy used to be my "favorite" serial killer. How could I resist? It was a red herring though. This book is neither about The Riverman (the Green River Killer), nor ab I was between a host of other books when I got my hands upon a stack of some twenty true crime books. The Riverman jumped out of the lot at me. The subtitle killed any doubts left "Ted Bundy and I hunt for the Green River Killer". This sounded like one of those Japanese monster vs monster premises. Moreover, at a point of time, Ted Bundy used to be my "favorite" serial killer. How could I resist? It was a red herring though. This book is neither about The Riverman (the Green River Killer), nor about the central premise of Silence of the lambs, of one serial killer helping law enforcement to catch another. No attempt was made in that direction, also Bob Keppel and Ted Bundy did not catch (or hunt for) the Green River Killer. They had a conversation lasting weeks wherein they try to create a psychological profile of the Green River killer which was eventually not used. That is not a bad thing however, and the book is a very different kind of monster than marketing surmised it to be. This book, in essence is memoirs of Robert D. Keppel, the cop who found himself chasing serial killers again and again after his first success, Ted Bundy. Keppel is an academic (associate professor for criminal justice), he writes books for investigators. As such the tone of the book is essentially passing on experiences by Keppel in understanding and pursuit of serial killers. Undoubtedly this makes the book a goldmine of information for anyone in law enforcement who ever deals with killers, either in understanding motivations or trapping future killers. But the academic tone of the book put me off, as a lay reader, for vast stretches. Keppel is a strange man. He is obsessed by Bundy, as he would be, and this obsession shows in the way his interviews with Keppel have been published in the book. Entire reams of his discussions, repetitions, irrelevancy, et al have been printed. I can understand how valuable Keppel would consider each of those words to be, but to the lay reader, they are boring. The transition between practitioner to academic is also quite evident in the over the top modesty with which Keppel cakes this book. "I was stunned to receive a call from the Chief of Police","I could not believe that I was being called into a national conference to understand serial killers" (you just caught the biggest serial killer to have operated in America in ages, why would you be surprised to be called into a national conference?). Lines like the above feature on every alternate page, and it is frankly exhausting to work through Keppel's insecurities. One comes off the book disgusted with Bundy (and that's brilliant to come from a book where the author has been obsessed by Bundy for more than twenty years. There is an involuntary admiration for Bundy's methods that come across but nowhere does it seem to eulogize him. I think that is a great tight rope walk to have gotten through.) I would still say that the book is an excellent read for anyone interested in serial killers. However, the usual reasons one is interested in a serial killer yarn, the thrill from the gratuitous kills are noticeably absent in this book, the tone is decidedly academic, and it is one hell of a thick tome to finish.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    To tell the truth, I never would have even picked up this book if the name "Ted Bundy" hadn't been in the subtitle. My morbid curiosity about Ted Bundy - his crimes and the motivations behind them - made me buy this one. Bob Keppel, the detective who, as he says, "cut his teeth" on the Ted Bundy case, writes a very interesting book which, at times, gets bogged down in the details of a police investigation. The premise of this book is this: there is a serial killer preying on young women in the Sea To tell the truth, I never would have even picked up this book if the name "Ted Bundy" hadn't been in the subtitle. My morbid curiosity about Ted Bundy - his crimes and the motivations behind them - made me buy this one. Bob Keppel, the detective who, as he says, "cut his teeth" on the Ted Bundy case, writes a very interesting book which, at times, gets bogged down in the details of a police investigation. The premise of this book is this: there is a serial killer preying on young women in the Seattle area. Sound familiar? That's what Keppel thought, too. And one day he gets a letter in the mail from a surprising penpal: Ted Bundy, writing from death row in Florida offering to provide some insight into the search for the killer he refers to as "The Riverman." Keppel, along with the lead detective on the Green River Killer case, Dave Reichert, decides to go to Florida to interview Bundy, hoping not only to get the promised information, but also some insights into Bundy's own crimes - the ones he refused to confess to until he had no other choice. The accounts of Keppel's and Reichert's interviews with Bundy are absolutely riveting - I couldn't put the book down despite the fact that I felt horrified, terrified, and more than a little creeped out at the same time. Turns out, Bundy's predictions about "The Riverman" were startlingly accurate. Know why he knew so much about the killer who was later discovered to be the unassuming truck painter Gary Ridgway? Because he had been there - he understood the thoughts and feelings of a man who preyed on young women. Bundy could describe why Ridgway chose the dump sites he did, why he chose the victims he did, how he could go undetected for so long. BUNDY WAS THE EXPERT, FIRST-HAND. The book focuses mostly on Bundy, actually. Two-thirds of the book involves the investigation into Bundy's crimes, the interviews with Bundy regarding the Green River Killer, and his last-minute confessions hours before his execution. The rest of the book is about the eventual arrest of Gary Ridgway in 2001, who had been murdering prostitutes without being caught since the 70s. Ridgway eventually confessed to murdering 48 women officially, though he claimed he killed over 60. What struck me the most about this book is the sheer lack of emotion displayed by both Bundy and Ridgway as they confessed to the brutal murders of young women. Any emotion they showed was either contrived for the benefit of the interviewers or was anger at themselves for making the mistakes that eventually got them caught. Remorse for the victims? No way. But I guess it takes a special kind of person to be a cold-blooded killer. Fascinating read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Angus McKeogh

    Wow. Repetitive. Long. Not great. Marginally interesting. Highly repetitive. Seems like a great concept until you realize Bundy essentially made the “appeal” to try this technique; but keep in mind he’s also a serial killer on death row. So he’s a liar with only his self-interest in mind. Did I say repetitive? Overall Bundy offers zero useful information on catching The Green River Killer, and he provides very little of insight into the mind of such a person. The author totters between admitting Wow. Repetitive. Long. Not great. Marginally interesting. Highly repetitive. Seems like a great concept until you realize Bundy essentially made the “appeal” to try this technique; but keep in mind he’s also a serial killer on death row. So he’s a liar with only his self-interest in mind. Did I say repetitive? Overall Bundy offers zero useful information on catching The Green River Killer, and he provides very little of insight into the mind of such a person. The author totters between admitting the information was useless and saying Bundy got a great deal right. Uh...it doesn’t work both ways. Bundy ultimately offers up a decent amount of information on one crime he committed that the police knew about anyway, and then throws out a useless plea at the end about “a girl at BYU in the 70s” before he’s executed. 90% of the book ends up being about Bundy. Bundy’s breakdown of The Riverman (as he calls him) is focused on “watching body dump sites” and necrophilia. He speaks in broad generalizations (akin to a cold reading from a psychic) and repeats himself over and over again. He makes a statement then retracts it saying, “But I’m just guessing here”. The impression given is he’s just in an ego competition with Gary Ridgway. Basically “I’m a better serial killer than he is”. The book does dispel the myth of the highly intelligent serial killer because both Bundy and Ridgway during interviews come across as idiots. At the end Ridgway is “analyzed” although it’s really just a missing reports list of his suspected murders and subsequent confessions. He’s killed so many woman so long ago he can’t remember all the details. Shocker! The author vacillates about the usefulness of the entire endeavor. Changes his mind and then flip flops again. He knocks the concept of profiling serial killers and then talks about how useful the FBI Behavioral Unit is in profiling serial killers and thereafter talks about how useless and potentially damaging to a case profiling serial killers can be. His chapters are repetitive; frequently he gives backstory then in a later chapter when the killer’s methodology is “revealed” nearly the whole previous chapter is reiterated word for word. And then when he “discusses the victims” you again get the story a third time. Did I mention it’s repetitive? Overall if you’re expecting enlightenment about the minds of Ridgway and Bundy you’ll be sorely disappointed. Not a great read by any means and far too long. And did I mention repetitive?

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jen Stelling

    One of the most thoughtful true crime books I have ever read. Compelling stor(ies) from Robert Keppel, who has held many positions in Washington State law enforcement and is now an academic. Keppel was involved with the development of VICAP and investigated or assisted with the investigations of Bundy's Wash State victims and with the years-long hunt for the Green River killer. Unlike some authors, Keppel is not awed by the monstrous people with whom has conversed. Interesting perspectives on th One of the most thoughtful true crime books I have ever read. Compelling stor(ies) from Robert Keppel, who has held many positions in Washington State law enforcement and is now an academic. Keppel was involved with the development of VICAP and investigated or assisted with the investigations of Bundy's Wash State victims and with the years-long hunt for the Green River killer. Unlike some authors, Keppel is not awed by the monstrous people with whom has conversed. Interesting perspectives on the difficulties of investigating related crimes across state boundaries and the strides that were made in the 1980s and 1990s towards reducing duplication of effort and facilitating information sharing.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    7/30/13 I feel a bit gypped. I'm on page 150 (out of 475 pages), and only the first 100 pages were about Ted Bundy. There's been nothing about the Green River Killer yet. The title should be more all-inclusive to describe the entirety of the content; more accurately, it should have been called "Bob Keppel Helps Others Hunt Serial Killers." This is not to say that it's a bad book, just that the title and cover are misleading. I just finished reading Ann Rule's The Stranger Beside Me: Ted Bundy Th 7/30/13 I feel a bit gypped. I'm on page 150 (out of 475 pages), and only the first 100 pages were about Ted Bundy. There's been nothing about the Green River Killer yet. The title should be more all-inclusive to describe the entirety of the content; more accurately, it should have been called "Bob Keppel Helps Others Hunt Serial Killers." This is not to say that it's a bad book, just that the title and cover are misleading. I just finished reading Ann Rule's The Stranger Beside Me: Ted Bundy The Shocking Inside Story, and was intrigued enough to feel hungry for more of the same. I also read The Search for the Green River Killer a couple of years ago, and was equally as fascinated. I thought this author would offer an awesome perspective that combined the two cases, but it's more of an autobiography of Keppel's contributions to various serial killer investigations. So far he's covered Ted Bundy, the Atlanta Child Killer, and the Michigan Child Murders. It's interesting enough, but a bit dry. 8/7/13 I'm now on page 342, and wanted to add an update to the above comments. I guess I spoke too soon :P On page 159, the author gets into the Green River murders, and on page 198 is where Ted Bundy begins "helping" with the investigation. It then becomes mostly Ted's thoughts and exact wording, as he speaks with the author and Dave Reichert (the investigator portrayed by Tom Cavanagh in the Lifetime movie) about the unknown killer's possible habits and motivations. Ted himself is very annoying, as he is exceptionally repetitive and rambling and egotistical. It's still interesting, though, to read a quoted conversation between a serial killer and two detectives who are discussing another serial killer. The book was published in 1995, at a time when the Green River Killer was still unidentified; Gary Ridgeway wasn't arrested until 2001 (though he was considered as a suspect well before that time). Will update again when I finish the book. 8/16/13 WHEW, I'm finally finished! I think I lost interest somewhere along the way, but was determined to read the whole thing. My main takeaway from the book is that Ted Bundy is very talented at speaking a whole lot of words while saying a whole lot of nothing. He rambles on and on and on, never quite answering questions directly or offering any significant information. He stroked his own ego by "helping" Bob Keppel understand the inner workings of the Green River Killer (which probably did zilch in helping them actually catch the guy many years later), and he greatly enjoyed immersing himself in the crimes of another killer like himself. Like I said above, I found him annoying. Keppel, meanwhile, exhibited a bit of arrogance himself while detailing what he thought other investigators did wrong in various cases. Most of it bordered on boring, but there was some interesting stuff thrown into the mix, so not a total waste. I think that readers who are fascinated by Ted Bundy, who already know a lot about him and want to learn and experience something extra and different, will enjoy this. But for other readers, I would definitely recommend starting with Ann Rule's book, as it describes his killing period from start to finish. This one really doesn't do that, nor does it give much information on the Green River Killer.

  8. 5 out of 5

    George Mantzoutsos

    Probably the best true crime book I’ve ever read from a purely practical and procedural breakdown of the methodology used to track and investigate serial killers from the late 70s to 2003. Very in depth look at the Ted Bundy and Gary Ridgeway cases and the information used in the Bundy Case that led to revelations in the Ridgeway case. Fascinating stuff.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jen Bailey Bergen

    While a bit repetitive at times, this book is so much more than "just" a record of the hunt for Gary Rigeway (aka "The Green River Killer"). Bob Keppel is a giant in his field, and much has been made of his contribution to Dave Reichert's "Riverman" case. That is, of course, what this book is about. True crime junkies already know all about Keppel's multi-year conversations with Bundy; in these pages we delve super deep into Bundy's madness as Keppel relates, at times, straight transcripts of th While a bit repetitive at times, this book is so much more than "just" a record of the hunt for Gary Rigeway (aka "The Green River Killer"). Bob Keppel is a giant in his field, and much has been made of his contribution to Dave Reichert's "Riverman" case. That is, of course, what this book is about. True crime junkies already know all about Keppel's multi-year conversations with Bundy; in these pages we delve super deep into Bundy's madness as Keppel relates, at times, straight transcripts of these discussions. This book is also something of an autobiography of Bob Keppel's career, too. Catching the Bundy case in Washington state and the inventions borne out of that necessity (such as streamlined cross-referenced tip sheets), consulting on the Atlanta Child Murders/Wayne Williams cases, contributing to the creation of VICAP and HITS, and so on. The George Russell (Seattle) and Michigan Child murders are covered, as well. There is much more information in this book than I expected, and it is clearly not a cold, clinical treatment of a horrible subject. At times Keppel's frustration comes through very clearly (referring to Bundy as a "chickenshit", for example), and his frustrations were not just about the murderers he worked so hard to catch. Keppel goes to great lengths to explain the organizational difficulties presented to homicide investigators in the dawn of the information age, as well as the political nightmares involved with funding task forces and his fight to keep the VICAP system out of the FBI's hands, eventually rebuilding with a northwestern system called HITS. To sum up: If you're a true crime fan, you will have a general knowledge of the ways in which the two main cases presented in this book(Bundy and Rigeway) intertwined throughout the eighties. This book gives the specifics.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Not exactly what I expected from the title of the book but it was still good. The majority of the book talks about Bundy as a serial killer, his victims & his interviews with Detective Keppel. If you know about Bundy already, this was a big recap of him as a killer, what he did, how/what he thought, how he "got" his victims & the victims themselves. He takes you into the mind of a serial killer during his interviews while sitting on death row in Fl. It was creepy reading what came out of Bundy's Not exactly what I expected from the title of the book but it was still good. The majority of the book talks about Bundy as a serial killer, his victims & his interviews with Detective Keppel. If you know about Bundy already, this was a big recap of him as a killer, what he did, how/what he thought, how he "got" his victims & the victims themselves. He takes you into the mind of a serial killer during his interviews while sitting on death row in Fl. It was creepy reading what came out of Bundy's mouth & how accurate he was about what said in regards to the "Riverman". Detective Keppel kept my attention thought the book. It was interesting to read how certain things came about because of this case in the way police "view/profile" serial killers & how they find them now. Although you do not actually "get" to Ridgway until pg 439, you are informed of the murders. I thought this way going to be more in depth about Ridgway & his spree, i.e. who is victims were, when/where/how they each happened, how they tracked him, arrested him, his confessions, etc. Although all this was present, I just didn't realize that it was such a smaller part of the book. If you read true crime, you know about Bundy... I don't think the book needed to include so much of his background in order to talk about or explain Ridgway. It made it seem like a book about Bundy, not Ridgway as the title "The Riverman" suggests. But this is just mho.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ted

    Strange book. It's really about Bundy, not the Green River Killer. And the author also includes all kinds of extraneous material, such as a chapter on the Wayne Williams case. In other words, the book is poorly edited. The interviews with Bundy were somewhat interesting. However, the author failed to deliver on Bundy's confession. After hyping the confession for hundreds of pages, we just get a few scanty details in a rushed interview a few days before Bundy's execution. I would only read this if Strange book. It's really about Bundy, not the Green River Killer. And the author also includes all kinds of extraneous material, such as a chapter on the Wayne Williams case. In other words, the book is poorly edited. The interviews with Bundy were somewhat interesting. However, the author failed to deliver on Bundy's confession. After hyping the confession for hundreds of pages, we just get a few scanty details in a rushed interview a few days before Bundy's execution. I would only read this if you just can't get enough of Bundy.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Katherine Addison

    This book makes a fascinating counterpoint to Ann Rule's bookends, The Stranger Beside Me: Ted Bundy The Shocking Inside Story and Green River, Running Red: The Real Story of the Green River Killer--America's Deadliest Serial Murderer. It charts Keppel's path from the investigation of Ted Bundy's murders (which I've had to tag "the ted murders" instead of by geographical location as I usually do, since Bundy ranged from Washington State to Florida) to the investigation of the Green River murders This book makes a fascinating counterpoint to Ann Rule's bookends, The Stranger Beside Me: Ted Bundy The Shocking Inside Story and Green River, Running Red: The Real Story of the Green River Killer--America's Deadliest Serial Murderer. It charts Keppel's path from the investigation of Ted Bundy's murders (which I've had to tag "the ted murders" instead of by geographical location as I usually do, since Bundy ranged from Washington State to Florida) to the investigation of the Green River murders . . . to the bizarre suggestion by Ted Bundy that he could be an invaluable resource in efforts to find the Green River Killer. And to the apprehension in 2003, more than ten years after Bundy failed in his efforts to beat the electric chair, of Gary Ridgway, and the ways in which Bundy's predictions do and don't match up with reality. Keppel recognizes easily that Bundy is projecting himself onto the GRK, at the same time that he's driven mad with jealousy that somebody else is hunting on his territory. The simplest evidence of this is the way that Bundy keeps insisting that the GRK must be a Tacoma native, as Bundy was himself. Bundy keeps trying to swap himself in when he talks about the GRK (arguably, the only way that a person utterly lacking in empathy ever could proceed under those circumstances), and it's fascinating when he's right and equally fascinating when he's wrong, especially because the point on which Bundy was most consistently wrong was his assessment of the GRK's intelligence. Bundy was very smart (though never as smart as he thought he was) and he prided himself hubristically on his intelligence, so it's not surprising that he attributed the same intelligence to the GRK. But the interesting thing is that Ridgway isn't as smart as Bundy. In her book, Rule argues that the reason he went uncaught for so long was that he was such a loser, nobody could take him seriously as a serial killer. I wouldn't go quite that far (I think her own loathing of him may have colored her assessment, FOR WHICH I DO NOT BLAME HER), but I think Ridgway did survive uncaught as long as he did because he didn't have Bundy's prideful self-conception of himself as the most intelligent guy in the room. He was cunning, but he never tried to get "smart." And, horrible and counter-intuitive as it is to put it this way, he was a much more stable personality than Bundy. Bundy fell the fuck apart once he was on the run; his murders in Florida just became wilder and wilder and more unlike the careful, carefully thought out attacks he made on his victims in Washington State, and I think the very intelligence he prided himself on, that weird semi-accurate self-awareness that he shows in his interviews with Keppel--because he can never see himself entirely accurately, can never see the pits he's digging for himself to fall into --is part of what unbalanced him and made him need more and more and more, more murder and more violence and more of what he was able to recognize was depravity. (It's interesting that his last murder was a child, and his probable first murder--the one he refused almost hysterically to confess to--was also a child.) Whereas Ridgway, without that relentless over-clocking, was able to murder and walk away and murder again and eventually back off almost entirely. He never stopped killing between 1984 and 2001, but he slowed way, way down. If serial killers are addicted to murder, as Keppel and Bundy and Ridgway all suggest, in remarkably different phrasings, Ridgway was able to control his addiction; Bundy was not. I've been struggling with how to describe this book in comparison with Rule. They're very different; one way to put it would be that Keppel writes like a cop and Rule doesn't, except that Rule was a cop, so however she writes is how a cop writes. A stereotyping way would be that Keppel writes like a man and Rule writes like a woman. Keppel tells Bundy, as part of the endless intricate pas de deux that the two of them dance, that he's not interested in the "why"--why Bundy was a serial killer--and while that's not actually true, since Keppel is intensely interested in why serial killers do what they do, the hunt, the kill, the afterparty--which, jeez, is a horrible metaphor, but both Bundy and Ridgway revisited their victims' corpses, partly for reasons of necrophilia (Ridgway admits to this without much apparent agonizing, but Bundy tied himself up in thirteen different kinds of hell-drenched knots over it: again, intelligence and self-awareness are not necessarily your friend if you're going to go in for this sort of thing) and partly for reasons of possession. They were both far more closely attuned to the places they left their victims' bodies than they were to their victims themselves. Which only makes sense; they only knew their victims for a matter of hours at the outside, but their relationships with those places stretched out over years. In 2003, Ridgway couldn't identify most of his victims from photographs, but he could lead detectives to exactly where he put them, and this despite the fact that the victims hadn't changed in the last 20 years and the land most certainly had. Keppel says that no one ever had any luck searching for Bundy's unfound victims, even when Bundy had described the location very precisely, and I wonder if it's because Bundy was lying, as he very well may have been, or if the land had changed in ways that the searchers couldn't adjust for but Bundy himself would have been able to. Moot point. Ridgway, with no investment in his own intelligence, took the plea bargain; Bundy, trying to prove he was the smartest man in the room, kept holding back the information until there was no leverage left in it. Okay. Long tangent. What I was saying is, Keppel's interested in why, but he's interested in the why of serial killers as a class. He's not interested in Theodore Robert Bundy or Gary Leon Ridgway. And while he's outraged and grieved by the murders of these forty-eight plus young women, he doesn't have any interest in the sort of biographical detective work that Rule does. He's content with name, age, race, time and place last seen, when determinable, and the umbrella category of "working in prostitution." Other details are haphazard and mostly chosen because the irony makes them immediately memorable: Cheryl Wims, who was murdered on her 18th birthday; Cindy Smith, who'd moved back from California the day she disappeared in order to turn her life around; et cetera. And this is 100% okay because he's not writing the same kind of book Rule is. Rule's writing the story of the Green River murders, and that must include the stories of the victims. Keppel is writing about how he learned about catching serial killers through his work on the Ted murders and the Green River murders, and through his extraordinary interviews with Ted Bundy, as Bundy tried to teach him how to ask questions that would enable Bundy to answer him. (This is what The Silence of the Lambs looks like in real life. No Anthony Hopkins, no pretty FBI rookie. A middle-aged cop and Ted Bundy, whose manipulations were pathetic and terrifying at the same time and who wasn't, at the end, holding all four aces the way he thought he was. Hannibal Lecter is never pathetic, even in captivity, and there's part of me that says that makes him a horrifyingly irresponsible romanticization of men like Bundy and Ridgway.) Very different perspective from Rule, but equally an excellent book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Hollyn

    I think it would have been possible for this book to be 100 pages shorter. It was definitely an interesting read. Very interesting. I learned new things. I feel that this was a bit of a information overload. Many times I found the author repeating the same sentence over and over again. The first portion of the book was a recap on Ted Bundy's crimes that spanned through Washington to Florida. Different cases were also described in extent in portions of the book. I walked away feeling a bit depres I think it would have been possible for this book to be 100 pages shorter. It was definitely an interesting read. Very interesting. I learned new things. I feel that this was a bit of a information overload. Many times I found the author repeating the same sentence over and over again. The first portion of the book was a recap on Ted Bundy's crimes that spanned through Washington to Florida. Different cases were also described in extent in portions of the book. I walked away feeling a bit depressed. Possibly because of the contents of Ted's final interview with Bob Keppel or just the glaring finality of Ted's ordeal, it was almost pathetic. I found Keppel's contempt for Ted to be disheartening and increasingly annoying. His dislike for the FBI was also obvious. During sections of the chapters in which the crimes of Wayne B. Williams is discussed, Keppel mentions the FBI to be more of a nuisance than assistance. After reading MindHunter by John Douglas, I find Bob Keppel's side of things to be less professional. After the Riverman discussions with Ted had ceased, the author decided to throw in a few random chapters about the VICAP and HITS programs. I found this to be sensationally boring, as these things had been discussed previously in the book, and essentially didn't have anything to do with the case at hand. These chapters led to the stories of other crimes that were helped along with these VICAP and HITS programs. After this abrupt interjection, the story continued along with Bundy's interviews. I found this to be an unnecessary break. Basically, this book, unlike Ted Bundy, was not organized.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Blagica

    its fair to mention that this book was recommended to me by a friend and I am grateful that is how much i enjoyed it. I didn't enjoy it because the subject matter was easy breezy, I enjoyed it because the way it was written i couldn't put it down. Every now and again, a true crime book appears that delivers even more than it promises, and Robert Keppel's remarkable book belongs in that category. Before I praise it too highly, I should state that despite the title, this book is most definitely not its fair to mention that this book was recommended to me by a friend and I am grateful that is how much i enjoyed it. I didn't enjoy it because the subject matter was easy breezy, I enjoyed it because the way it was written i couldn't put it down. Every now and again, a true crime book appears that delivers even more than it promises, and Robert Keppel's remarkable book belongs in that category. Before I praise it too highly, I should state that despite the title, this book is most definitely not a retelling of Ted Bundy's career as a murderer. Keppel was a detective in King County, Washington in 1974 when Bundy first came to the attention of law enforcement. Accordingly, Keppel focuses on some of Bundy's earliest known murders: the Lake Sammamish victims and the young women who ended up at body dump sites near Issaquah and on Taylor Mountain. But Keppel gives very little attention to Bundy's crimes in other western states; Bundy's escape from jail in Colorado; or his final crime spree in Florida. So for those of us who know little or nothing about Bundy's monstrous murders, this book almost serves to confuse rather than enlighten. But this criticism is tempered by the wealth of information that Keppel does give us.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Paul Gaya Ochieng Simeon Juma

    Three stars, that was generous. I had very high expectations with this book. I was very excited when I bought it and I wanted to keep it first so that I can admire it first before I started reading it. Then I started reading it and was dissapointed. Very dissapointed. There are about four different true crime stories inside the book. With this many number of stories you dont expect any in depth write up into the investigations and court trial. Another thing, the title is deceptive, this book is Three stars, that was generous. I had very high expectations with this book. I was very excited when I bought it and I wanted to keep it first so that I can admire it first before I started reading it. Then I started reading it and was dissapointed. Very dissapointed. There are about four different true crime stories inside the book. With this many number of stories you dont expect any in depth write up into the investigations and court trial. Another thing, the title is deceptive, this book is not about the riverman but about what ted bundy said about Gary Ridgeway's crimes. Its about supercops who solved and arrested ted bundy, Ridgeway and other serial killers. I really did not enjoy this book as I did Ann Rule's trie crime novels. Ted Bundy never hunted for the Green river killer. He just gave his opinions some which turned out to be way off the map. Anyway, I still recommend the book to all the fans of true crime novels.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Reggie Martell

    Keppel does what Bundy did: slowly dole out information adjacent to what you want, in hopes of stringing you along as long as possible. In the end neither Bundy nor Keppel come up with the goods, and everyone comes away disappointed. The bummer is that within this heap there hides the makings of a great cook, but the authors were nowhere near finding it.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Atkinson

    the hunt for the green river killer with help from ted bundy and the story of the crimes of bundy and how he thinks they would do if they want to catch the riverman and the final confession of ted bundy in the fight to save his life longer from the electric chair

  18. 4 out of 5

    Traci

    Highly recommended for anyone who has ever wondered how a serial killer thinks.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Marcella Wigg

    I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, the premise of the book and content related to that premise is absolutely fascinating: what insights can one serial killer provide about another? As he sat on death row in Florida, Ted Bundy fashioned himself into an amateur profiler as a means to spare his life by making himself valuable for something. When the Green River Killer began to make headlines in his home state of Washington, Bundy wrote to the police and offered to provide his a I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, the premise of the book and content related to that premise is absolutely fascinating: what insights can one serial killer provide about another? As he sat on death row in Florida, Ted Bundy fashioned himself into an amateur profiler as a means to spare his life by making himself valuable for something. When the Green River Killer began to make headlines in his home state of Washington, Bundy wrote to the police and offered to provide his analysis of the killer and how he could be captured. Interested in Bundy's potential insights but also in learning more about his thought processes than he let on, Keppel visited Bundy multiple times, interviewing him about what he thought the Green River Killer was like and learning about his own deviance in the process. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Bundy could basically only project himself onto the Green River Killer case, and some of his claims for that case were based more on his own behavior and motives than the reality of the situation. Bundy viewed himself as superior to the Green River Killer and enjoyed looking at crime scene photos. But he and Ridgway were similar enough that he did offer some insights into the Green River case that police had not previously deduced. All of this is fascinating psychology to read. But the presentation seriously reduces the quality of the book. Long portions of the book, including the full list of Ridgway's victims and the circumstances in which they were found, is presented very dryly, like it would be in the indictment. Some of Bundy's interviews read like transcripts. One positive aspect about Ann Rule's books on the Green River and Ted Killer cases is that she focuses on the victims, too, and this is not the book for that. However, I did come away with a lot of insights on these Washington state cases that happened not too far from me. Perhaps the most shocking aspect of the book was just how much evidence police had on Ridgway by the end of the 80s. Multiple people had identified him, his truck, and one even tracked down his home address to the Green River Task Force. One woman reported in 1984 that he had assaulted her by choking in 1982, and she thought he had every intention to kill her. His ex-wife identified multiple locations the two had visited together during their marriage and these all matched Green River dump sites. He had also choked her and had a history of violence, including an unprovoked stabbing of a six year old when he was a teenager, apparently just for fun. Yet he seemed to pass a polygraph and had no trophies in his home, so he wasn't arrested until a DNA link was made in 2001. It's mind-blowing the amount of circumstantial evidence there was against Ridgway in this case twenty years before his arrest.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    The title of this book might be the very definition of clickbait. The first third is not about the Green River Killer at all. It is mainly a very detailed description about the hunt for Ted Bundy and The Atlanta Child Murders (and some other cases) where Keppel goes into meticulous detail about technical details like filing systems. It's clearly sour grapes for Keppel that Ted got caught by accident by a Utah state trooper in an unrelated incident, because the chapter where Keppel explains that The title of this book might be the very definition of clickbait. The first third is not about the Green River Killer at all. It is mainly a very detailed description about the hunt for Ted Bundy and The Atlanta Child Murders (and some other cases) where Keppel goes into meticulous detail about technical details like filing systems. It's clearly sour grapes for Keppel that Ted got caught by accident by a Utah state trooper in an unrelated incident, because the chapter where Keppel explains that (and how) he would have caught Bundy anyway is downright odd. "I would do X, and then I would do Y which would lead to Z, and voila, Ted would be caught!" Hindsight is 20/20, I guess. It's clear that Keppel doesn't think too highly of the FBI, and he certainly doesn't put much value into profiling. There are several examples, but this section is a good illustration: Also in March 1980, according to the official chronology of the case provided by our hosts, "the Bureau of Police Services personnel requested and received the assistance of the FBI's Behavioral Sciences Unit (BSU) in Quantico, Virginia, in the analysis of all pertinent data related to the cases." We couldn't wait to hear what gems of wisdom would come from the BSU's agents, most of whom were only self-proclaimed experts in murder investigations and had never investigated one lead in an actual murder case. The FBI were the kings of follow-up but couldn't solve a crime in progress. Most local homicide detectives knew this. It was no surprise, therefore, that there were few friends of the FBI in this room. The profile of the probable killer provided by the BSU mirrored the wishes of the community, that is, the killer was white. Almost to a person, the frowns came across our faces. Had they told the BSU something that they hadn't told us yet? The rest of the book is chiefly a verbatim transcript of Keppel's conversations with Ted Bundy in jail with surprisingly little analysis or commentary. What I thought would be the main draw of the book turned out to be the least interesting. It's clear (and should have been also at the time) that Ted Bundy was full of shit and it's unclear what, if anything, he had to say of value, especially in the Green River Case. Keppel thinks very highly of himself, and the book is chock-full of false modesty and "gee whiz, I can't believe little old me got invited to this conference!" passages. Which sets him apart from the next book I read, Whoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty Years Tracking Serial Killers for the FBI by Robert Ressler, a man with zero modesty.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Evan Kirby

    An almost overbearing piece of work that sheds an incredible amount of light on the science and processes behind hunting down serial killers with the great gimmick of funneling the hunt for the Green River Killer through the thoughts of Ted Bundy. I say this all the while knowing that Thomas Harris cribbed this exact idea, but the whole concept of a law enforcement officer using the insights of a serial killer that he caught to try and catch a new one is the most movie-ready thing ever and almos An almost overbearing piece of work that sheds an incredible amount of light on the science and processes behind hunting down serial killers with the great gimmick of funneling the hunt for the Green River Killer through the thoughts of Ted Bundy. I say this all the while knowing that Thomas Harris cribbed this exact idea, but the whole concept of a law enforcement officer using the insights of a serial killer that he caught to try and catch a new one is the most movie-ready thing ever and almost sounds too good to be true. It provides a good balance with Keppel detailing how Bundy was caught, his interviews with him and then transferring all that to the Green River Killer case in the latter part of the book. The book is probably a bit too long, but it's just jam-packed with incredibly detailed revelations from each murder. There is a chapter where he just goes through each woman killed by the Green River Killer and every detail around her disappearance/murder, and there's a lot of these, they just keep going. It simultaneously numbs you to the fact of the sheer number of people that got murdered that at a point you hardly even process it, it's just another number, while on the other hand, it goes so heavy on all of it and ALL of the murders that it almost becomes too much and pretty much guarantees you're gonna read something light and fluffy right after this to get it off your mind.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    Not only was this a dive into the psychology and motivation of the Green River Killer, but we also get another look into the grisly career of Ted Bundy, written by the guy who caught him -- Robert Keppel. A bit on the repetitive side, as Ted's favorite topic was Ted, Keppel relives his career on the hunt for one of the most infamous serial killers in the US and how he elicited shocking confessions from Bundy on Death Row in addition to consulting on cases like the Green River Killer, the Atlanta Not only was this a dive into the psychology and motivation of the Green River Killer, but we also get another look into the grisly career of Ted Bundy, written by the guy who caught him -- Robert Keppel. A bit on the repetitive side, as Ted's favorite topic was Ted, Keppel relives his career on the hunt for one of the most infamous serial killers in the US and how he elicited shocking confessions from Bundy on Death Row in addition to consulting on cases like the Green River Killer, the Atlanta Child Killer and more notable cases. One of the most poignant aspects was Ted thinking he was relevant, that he could help catch the Riverman. While there were suspects in mind already, Ted didn't need to know, Keppel was able to gain important insight into those who are like Ted -- cold, calculating killers who will do anything to keep killing and not get caught.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jacob

    Robert Keppel’s book is utterly fascinating and full of insights. I highly recommend this to anyone who likes the True Crime genre. Particularly, the interviews with Ted Bundy are entrancing and his recounting of other famous crimes not even connected to the Green River killer were terrific. The only reason that this book does not get five stars is that I felt that sometimes the book was a bit less organized than I would have liked, and that some of the portions were disproportionately lengthy a Robert Keppel’s book is utterly fascinating and full of insights. I highly recommend this to anyone who likes the True Crime genre. Particularly, the interviews with Ted Bundy are entrancing and his recounting of other famous crimes not even connected to the Green River killer were terrific. The only reason that this book does not get five stars is that I felt that sometimes the book was a bit less organized than I would have liked, and that some of the portions were disproportionately lengthy and just hammering the same theme. However, by and large, this book is a very interesting glimpse into the mind of a killer and a great overview of investigation tactics and the formation of ViCAP. Don’t hesitate to read it.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mandi Bean

    My interest in Ted Bundy was generated by the new movie starring Zac Efron, "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile." So I read THE STRANGER BESIDE ME by Anne Rule and thought it was wonderfully written with a human lens that I didn't fully appreciate until I finished Robert D. Keppel, Ph.D.'s THE RIVERMAN: TED BUNDY AND I HUNT FOR THE GREEN RIVER KILLER. Keppel's approach is cold, focused on investigative procedures and his contributions to progressing serial murder investigations. The link My interest in Ted Bundy was generated by the new movie starring Zac Efron, "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile." So I read THE STRANGER BESIDE ME by Anne Rule and thought it was wonderfully written with a human lens that I didn't fully appreciate until I finished Robert D. Keppel, Ph.D.'s THE RIVERMAN: TED BUNDY AND I HUNT FOR THE GREEN RIVER KILLER. Keppel's approach is cold, focused on investigative procedures and his contributions to progressing serial murder investigations. The links to Bundy seem tenuous at best, like Keppel knew he could earn an audience by exploting his connection to Bundy. That's not to say the book wasn't informative, but maintaining interest proved difficult as I felt a bait-and-switch had taken place.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Genevieve

    I read at most first 200 pages of the book and DNF. From skimming the rest of the book, it is clear that this book includes a lot of insight on Ridgway but, like most reviews note, this is actually an autobiography detailing Keppel's professional career with Bundy being a huge part of the book. Before I got to this book, I had already read a book on Bundy and Rigdway. I was just looking for a different perspective on Ridgway. But because this book started with rich details on Bundy, instead of R I read at most first 200 pages of the book and DNF. From skimming the rest of the book, it is clear that this book includes a lot of insight on Ridgway but, like most reviews note, this is actually an autobiography detailing Keppel's professional career with Bundy being a huge part of the book. Before I got to this book, I had already read a book on Bundy and Rigdway. I was just looking for a different perspective on Ridgway. But because this book started with rich details on Bundy, instead of Ridgway, I felt sort of cheated by the misleading book title and eventually lost patience.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Salma

    This book is about a serial killer known as the riverman or the green river killer, but it's much more than just a telling of a story, a life or victims. It's a unique book because the author is the detective assigned to the case. It deals with police procedures and the life of police officers on the job. It also speaks greatly about the development of this case in satisfying details. Also it's unique because of Bundy's association and help in catching Gary Ridgway. A must read for true crime ad This book is about a serial killer known as the riverman or the green river killer, but it's much more than just a telling of a story, a life or victims. It's a unique book because the author is the detective assigned to the case. It deals with police procedures and the life of police officers on the job. It also speaks greatly about the development of this case in satisfying details. Also it's unique because of Bundy's association and help in catching Gary Ridgway. A must read for true crime addicts. I give this book A 4.75 star rating.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Emese K.

    It was very informative. However there were repetitions, certain parts were repeated and I did not feel it was done for emphasis, but maybe due to poor editing. I am not sure. The psychological background and descriptions were intriguing. Everyone who is interested in criminal psychology, serial killers or investigating tactics of grand-scale cases would find a lot of interesting details in this book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    While this book is titled the river man, there is more information on Ted Bundy as a serial killer rather than the riverMan himself. I did enjoy this book though as it had in depth information, detail and gave you the gut wrenching feeling when finding out about people who committed these crimes. Due to this, it is a hard book to read psychologically! If you want to read a book solely on the river man himself, I do not suggest this book for the reason I first stated.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Pilos

    This book gave me a shake, it was like seeing through the eyes of a serial killer. It also gives out several curiosities and details over police investigations and gives some historical notions on how some modern technologies were born and developed. Really interesting even though it was repetitive at times

  30. 5 out of 5

    Colin Gallagher

    Decent. The author obviously is biased against Bundy and it carries through in the prose. He's worthy of disdain but it's distracting nonetheless. The revelations aren't that Earth-shattering and the book gets very repetitive about 2/3 of the way through. It's a fine read, but I found "The stranger beside me" to be the better read.

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