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on 25 April 2010
I searched out this book after watching a surprisingly good TV movie based on it - with a great performance from Carey Elwes as Ted Bundy - and was not disappointed.
Robert Keppel is perhaps the most experienced 'hunter' of serial killers around, starting with the Ted Bundy case of course, and he combines the street cop's experience with the scholarly overview of the associate professor of criminal justice that he later became.
I hadn't realised that the 'Silence of the Lambs' scenario, whereby a jailed serial killer is consulted by law enforcement about an on-going serial case was based on fact, but that's what Robert Keppel did...he took up Ted Bundy's offer to give his unique insight into the mind of the Green River Killer, or 'Riverman' - the seemingly unstoppable killer of perhaps 60 women in a murderous career that spanned two decades.
But what is equally fascinating is the hidden duel between Keppel and Bundy during their meetings : Keppel wants to get Bundy's help with the ongoing case, but also to try to see what he can make Bundy let slip about the unsolved aspects of Bundy's own killing spree, including the unknown murders that he suspects Bundy committed.
And Bundy also has his motives : he is 'grooming' Keppel to be a suitably understanding recipient and transmitter of his version of his story - and then later he wants to use his own usefulness as a consultant to save him from execution.
The book not only covers the Ted Bundy and Green River cases, but also looks at others like the Michigan child murders. In fact it's a fairly comprehensive overview of how serial killing investigation has developed from the earliest days, and Keppel doesn't hide the mistakes and narrow thinking that at times needlessly let killers continue for years. (He is fairly scathing about the FBI and the usefulness of profiling too.)
There are 8 pages of photos, all from the Ted Bundy murders - including an incredible one taken by a private citizen. The snap is of police confronting rowdy bikers at a state park... but this was on the day the killer abducted two girls from that park and murdered them - and without realising it the photographer has also captured an image of Ted Bundy in his infamous VW Beetle!
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on 20 September 2007
I could not put this book down.
I am tired of books giving the usual outline of a case and those involved, with a couple of sentences about the supposed reason for the crime, usually couched in terms we find relatively comfortable and neat.
This is not an easy book to read but worthwhile for anyone who wishes to delve deeper into crime scenes, profiling,motives,true description of the murder, and what the police and others did, both good and bad moves to catch the killer. In addition is some rivetting insight into serial killers minds, particularly Ted Bundy. It is also an honest book in what Keppel doesn't know but it gets us closer than most other books I've read. I believe there is an updated book by Keppel in 2004 once the Green River killer Gary Ridgway was caught, which I haven't read. However this book can stand alone despite this.
There is also a lot of info on the web on Garry Ridgway which I have duplicated and added to my book for completeness.
As I say not a nighttime read for the squeamish unless like me you can't put it down!
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on 12 July 2010
Great book especially for the interview sections with Ted Bundy. If you have an interest in the warped minds of serial killers - read it. If you have an interest in how police procedures etc have evolved - read it.
Additionally, it's worth comparing the characters of Gary Ridgeway with Ted Bundy which isn't done in this book.
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on 24 March 2017
Good book
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on 24 March 2015
Just an intriguing book especially if you are interested in profiling and you see how manipulative Bundy was and liked to believe that he was on a different plane of intellect to the FBI Officers. I recommend this book to all who have an interest in Criminal Profiling
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on 5 June 2013
Having a facination with the ordinariness of Gary Ridgeway, I purchased this book with high expectations, hoping to gain an insight into how he avoided detection for so long.
Instead I ploughed through the ego of Robert Keppel & his homage to Ted Bundy, with frequent references to other serial killers & their victims.
Whilst I admire the work of good profilers & the contribution their insight has made into the apprehension of many evil predators and the need to interview criminals & learn from their actions, I bought a book titled The Riverman (Bundy's name for Ridgeway), not titled 'Robert. D. Keppel - Superhero'.
Usually I race through books unable to put them down until the final word, must admit I still have a few pages left to read - it's like homework - read x number of pages & then you can do something you enjoy.
Having read a number of factual books & seen a number of programmes about the Green River Killer, I hoped this would be a good read, bearing in mind Keppel's experience. The added bonus of one serial killer giving a 'look behind the curtain' at the actions of another was exciting.... A good book for insomniacs or Keppel fans
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on 31 October 2011
The Riverman was the 2nd novel by the heroic Robert Keppel.
After many years of hell and finally capturing Bundy,Keppel
is on the tail of a man murdering prositutes and disposing
of the corpses.With no leadsd,Ted Bundy contacts authorities
offering a profile into `The Riverman's mind..`

I think people who are looking for info on The riverman
in depth will be disappointed as this novel focuses more
on Bundy.The accounts Ted's of his confessions were chilling
but the book still leaves much closure.Any avid Ted enthusiasts
must read...
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on 28 November 2008
This is a fantastic book, I have read many books on Bundy ranging from his own wors, to those of associates to those of folks comoletley uninvolved. This book intertwines several stories on several serial killers and whilst the focus is on the Green River Killer, Gary Ridgeway, I found it actually had more relevance to Bundy himself and his persona eventually extracting a confession from him prior to his execution. Keppell is an excellent writer who due to his job and the investigations he has been involved in a person not to be ignored, at times he is patronising in his underestimation of the readers perspective and awareness of events, but nonetheless a great writer with so much experience it's hard to put it down. You almost feel as if you are there in the room with Bundy, anticipating his feelings and ideas, you really feel his ego and grandiosity and while he got a "kick" from certain aspects of relaying the tale, nothing enamoured me more to this story than the fact that Keppell and co were always one step ahead of Bundy, he had an ego, and they fed it but BUT only to get the information THEY wanted, so I guess once again Ted lost. The film "silence of the lambs" was based on this book and the transcripts, it's easy to relate to the story. Bundy was an intelligent man forensically aware and also aware of the wrong doings and issues relating to serial killers, he could easily slip into 3rd person and discuss what we all despise, whilst he doesnt relate that to himself directly it's obvious at times he feels inadequate at the investigators prior knowledge of his habits (necrophilia to name but one - one of his most shameful acts (in his eyes). Of all the books I have read on Bundy this is the most thorough, revealing and interesting and I would suggest that anybody interested in Forensic Psychology/criminology or just for somebody who likes a good meaty story its a good read and one book I wont be passing on too soon.
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on 24 June 2013
It seems that the authors of this book couldn't make up their mind what they were going to write about: Ted Bundy, the Green River Murderer, serial killers, police procedures, Robert Keppel's greatest successes ... the list goes on. And, as such, it is not well structured. It bounces around from subject to subject, from one writing style to another, and from one era to another.

Some parts could have been written more dispassionately. In some of the conversations with Bundy, for example, bile drips from the page, and I very much doubt that Keppel would have remembered the looks in Bundy's eyes or the movements of his head at various points in interviews which was only recorded on audio-cassette when he wrote about them many years after the events; and he certainly never knew what Bundy was thinking. This has all been added to give spice where it shouldn't be required. There is also a tendency to add sweeping generalisations, especially in his kitchen-sink psychological assessments, such as "Ted didn't feel any emotion toward any woman", which are just so much tosh.

There's a lot of interest contained within this book. It's a pity it's not better written and structured.
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VINE VOICETOP 500 REVIEWERon 15 April 2012
Robert Keppel is or was a police detective. He is not an experienced author and the book may have been written by a ghost writer.

I would expect a book title either to be completely descriptive of its content, allude to it in some way, or perhaps be a quotation made by some pertinent participant. This book is none of those.

It is a matter of record that Ted Bundy offered to assist and actually did assist the investigation into the Green River killings. It is also a matter of record that Bundy was able to provide to police a significant insight into the probable activities of the killer, his motivations, his activities in the immediate minutes or hours after a killing, and also his activities in the days and perhaps weeks beyond. Bundy never explained his insight and there has never been any proven evidence to show that Bundy and Ridgway (the Riverman of the title) ever met, cooperated, had a discussion or were otherwise in contact with each other.

The book title presupposes that the content would concentrate on the prison interviews with Bundy, perhaps include a transcript of them or relevant portions and then to explain how Bundy's comments enabled some aspects of the investigation to guide Police to identify and capture Ridgway. To some minor extent, it does but that portion is hidden within the greater, and largely unrelated, bulk.

The book expends a substantial proportion of its pages on Bundy's crimes. There is no explanation for their inclusion or any connection made to the activities of Ridgway or to his identification. Ridgway's own activities occupy rather few of its pages but he is the main subject of the book; it is his face on the cover. It is clear that Bundy and Ridgway were very different people. Bundy was charismatic, intelligent and conniving and at ease with women. Ridgway is none of those things but lacking in any real personality, rather introvert and some may say rather odd.

Although the book provides much information about both killers and their respective crimes, it fails to deliver what it appears to offer. In that respect, the title misleads the reader.
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