RIVER by Roderick Thorp


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 Thorp's latest blockbuster (Rainbow Drive, 1986, etc.) provides a fictional solution to the Green River murders that raged through the Pacific Northwest in the 1980's--and an explanation of why there was never any real-life solution to the 50-plus killings. Standing on the spot where one of the first prostitutes the killer favors is discovered, Det. Phil Boudreau (Seattle Vice) lucks into an unbelievably good hunch: The killer is a crazy woman-hater named Garrett Richard Lockman, a police buff who's already been convicted of conspiracy and theft. It doesn't do Boudreau any good to leap light-years ahead of his colleagues in the investigation, though, because of several complications that will string the case out for nearly ten years. Boudreau himself, who identifies this first known victim at the scene and who seems to have links to every streetwalker in Seattle, can't help becoming a suspect himself--especially after Betty Antonelli, a young student who briskly added him to her collection of police conquests, is found dead. More damagingly, Lockman turns out to be an informant for the county cops, who'll do anything to protect him from the local cops and the FBI. And Lockman isn't the only Green River killer: He kills to impress a series of ``male girlfriends,'' the first of whom begins a killing spree while Lockman's on an exasperatingly well-documented vacation. Obsessively determined to bring in Lockman (``one of the most evil human beings ever to draw breath in this country'') any way he can, Boudreau finds himself thwarted not only by his brothers in blue, but by the knowledge of forensic procedure and interrogation techniques that keeps letting Lockman slip away- -until a series of breaks allows Boudreau's task force to mete out summary justice in a suitably brutal way. Dark, windy, and thoroughly nasty, finally gathering the momentum of a train filled with a grotesque and horrific cargo. (First printing of 75,000)

Pub Date: July 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-449-90704-X
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Ballantine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1995