American Predator
A gripping tour de force of investigative journalism that takes us deep into the investigation behind one of the most frightening and enigmatic serial killers in modern American history, and into the ranks of a singular American police force: the Alaska PDMost of us have never heard of Israel Keyes. But he is one of the most ambitious, meticulous serial killers of modern time. The FBI considered his behavior unprecedented. Described by a prosecutor as "a force of pure evil," he was a predator who struck all over the United States. He buried "kill kits"--cash, weapons, and body-disposal tools--in remote locations across the country and over the course of fourteen years, would fly to a city, rent a car, and drive thousands of miles in order to use his kits. He would break into a stranger's house, abduct his victims in broad daylight, and kill and dispose of them in mere hours. And then he would return home, resuming life as a quiet, reliable construction worker devoted to his only daughter.When journalist Maureen Callahan first heard about Israel Keyes in 2012, she was captivated by how a killer of this magnitude could go undetected by law enforcement for over a decade. And so began a project that consumed her for the next several years--uncovering the true story behind how the FBI ultimately caught Israel Keyes, and trying to understand what it means for a killer like Keyes to exist. A killer who left a path of monstrous, randomly committed crimes in his wake--many of which remain unsolved to this day.American Predator is the ambitious culmination of years of on-the-ground interviews with key figures in law enforcement and in Keyes's life, and research uncovered from classified FBI files. Callahan takes us on a journey into the chilling, nightmarish mind of a relentless killer, and the limitations of traditional law enforcement, in one of America's most isolated environments--Alaska--when faced with a killer who defies all expectation and categorization.

American Predator Details

TitleAmerican Predator
Author
ReleaseJul 2nd, 2019
PublisherViking
ISBN-139780525428640
Rating
GenreCrime, True Crime, Nonfiction, Mystery, History

American Predator Review

  • JanB
    January 1, 1970
    Billed as the most terrifying serial killer you’ve never heard of, I first heard of Israel Keyes on the podcast Crime Junkie. The why, where, and how he was caught, and the hours of interrogation by investigators, make up the bulk of this fascinating book.Despite multiple blunders by the police, Keyes was arrested for the kidnapping of a teenage girl as the result of a fortuitous traffic stop. Unfortunately, she had been murdered and they soon discovered they had a serial murderer on their hands Billed as the most terrifying serial killer you’ve never heard of, I first heard of Israel Keyes on the podcast Crime Junkie. The why, where, and how he was caught, and the hours of interrogation by investigators, make up the bulk of this fascinating book.Despite multiple blunders by the police, Keyes was arrested for the kidnapping of a teenage girl as the result of a fortuitous traffic stop. Unfortunately, she had been murdered and they soon discovered they had a serial murderer on their hands whose victims numbered in the double digits. Details emerged that made him an aberration among serial killers. Although he’d been killing for decades, he didn’t fit the MO of a typical serial murderer, nor did he have a ‘type”. He avoided detection through meticulous planning and traveling off the grid. Meanwhile, Keyes maintained a ‘normal’ family and work life, which is the most frightening fact of all. Truly the stuff of nightmares. His personal life and background were explored for clues to his psychological make-up.Unfortunately, many of his secrets died with him and some case files are still closed to the public. But the hope is the hours of investigation and interviews will help police and profilers understand and apprehend these killers.This is narrative non-fiction at its best and was another fantastic buddy read with my friend Marialyce, which inspired a great discussion. We both highly recommend this book as one of the better books in the genre. For our duo review of this and other books please visit https://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpres...
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  • Brandon
    January 1, 1970
    American Predator is the story of Alaskan serial killer Israel Keyes, his crimes and how he was captured.I was chatting with a friend when the subject of what I was currently reading came up. I mentioned this book and I began thinking about why I’m always drawn to true crime – specifically serial killers/mass murderers. I certainly don’t admire them nor do I particularly care why they do what they do. Then I realized that I like to see how they inevitably slip up; what is the tiny mistake they m American Predator is the story of Alaskan serial killer Israel Keyes, his crimes and how he was captured.I was chatting with a friend when the subject of what I was currently reading came up. I mentioned this book and I began thinking about why I’m always drawn to true crime – specifically serial killers/mass murderers. I certainly don’t admire them nor do I particularly care why they do what they do. Then I realized that I like to see how they inevitably slip up; what is the tiny mistake they make that lands them in prison. American Predator is one of those books that spotlights just such a mistake. In fact, it was a whole baker’s dozen of mistakes.I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.In late 2012, writer Maureen Callahan penned an article for the NY Post about a recently deceased killer who for years, managed to fly under the radar of authorities, travelling across the United States taking the lives of complete strangers. Shortly after the story’s publication, Maureen felt there was a deeper story that needed to be told. After years of investigative research, Callahan produces a comprehensive look at Israel Keyes.The book begins with what would be the downfall of Keyes, the kidnapping of Samantha Koenig – a young woman in Anchorage, Alaska. What follows is an unbelievable series of errors on the part of Keyes that somehow goes undetected by authorities – it was almost like Keyes was hoping to be caught. Once in police custody following a traffic stop in Texas, a series of interrogations and negotiations with Keyes will uncover his web of death cast over the entirety of the United States.Pieced together through hundreds of hours of interviews with those who worked the case as well as those close to Keyes himself, author Maureen Callahan tells the story of a meticulous murderer who somehow managed to go undetected for years. As for how Keyes is portrayed, he comes off as a man doing an impression of a serial killer. I don’t mean to make light of the seriousness of his crimes, but he comes across as such a.. loser. He sits there and quotes lines from Hannibal Lecter movies, idolises Ted Bundy and rubs himself through his pants while giving cryptic clues to a team of investigators desperate to uncover his many murders. I’m not saying I’d prefer some sort of “honorable” slaughterer because such a thing doesn’t exist – it just seems fascinating to me how he managed to be so successful while coming off as such a total amateur.Subject’s character aside, I thought Callahan did a great job producing a compelling account of a modern day murderer and his ability to operate so smoothly in a post 9/11 world. American Predator is a solid read that should satisfy true crime aficionados looking for insight into a relatively unknown subject.Expected release date: July 2, 2019
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    American Predator is by far one of the best true crime books I've read. It has a fascinating format - it starts with Israel Keyes' final victim and works backward. It sounds like this could get sloppy, but Maureen Callahan weaves it together so well. I sometimes have trouble reading true crime because of how dry it can be, but this book was addicting as hell (and not dry at all). The author tells a story, and doesn't just shout facts at you. I loved it, and I highly recommend picking up this boo American Predator is by far one of the best true crime books I've read. It has a fascinating format - it starts with Israel Keyes' final victim and works backward. It sounds like this could get sloppy, but Maureen Callahan weaves it together so well. I sometimes have trouble reading true crime because of how dry it can be, but this book was addicting as hell (and not dry at all). The author tells a story, and doesn't just shout facts at you. I loved it, and I highly recommend picking up this book if you need a new true crime book.
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  • Marialyce
    January 1, 1970
    When choosing a book to read, Jan and I share curiosity into the psyche of people, especially those who seem to defy what it means to be human, to be empathetic, to be a functioning member of society. For those who go against everything we think is normal human behavior, the psychopath, we look to find the motivations. Like the author, Maureen Callahan, we want to know they why, the how could this have happened, and most importantly can we ever know people we think we do? We chose American Preda When choosing a book to read, Jan and I share curiosity into the psyche of people, especially those who seem to defy what it means to be human, to be empathetic, to be a functioning member of society. For those who go against everything we think is normal human behavior, the psychopath, we look to find the motivations. Like the author, Maureen Callahan, we want to know they why, the how could this have happened, and most importantly can we ever know people we think we do? We chose American Predator as a book to share. "Open your trembling flower, or your petals I'll crush," I, for one, had never heard of Israel Keyes and yet reading this true crime book, I came away wondering why? He was able to commit crimes in a manner that was brazen and yet as he traveled seeking victims, no one seemed to connect him to any crimes. He was a long term planner, depositing things such as duct tape, guns, shovels, and rope buried in various parts of the country waiting to be dug up and used when he needed it. Keyes was a patient man and his thrill came not only in the death of his victims but also in the planning of their deaths. His victims seemed to be random, bad time bad place, and he would grab his victims in a cool calculated manner rape and kill the people at times dismembering them and walk away. Where will you go, you clever little worm, if you bleed your host dry?His success if you want to call it that was achieved through traveling and it was his trek through state after state that perhaps was the key to his depravity. There was many connections that the FBI was able to make, but unfortunately, they could never prove for Keyes played a cat and mouse game with the authorities pursuing his self worth in that he considered himself smarter than all others."You may have been free, you loved living your lie, fate had its own scheme crushed like a bug you still die."He was ultimately caught when it was found that he killed, raped, and dismembered a girl working at a coffee stand in Alaska. He confessed readily but then lead the authorities on a chase to find other victims of this psychopath. Unfortunately, Keyes committed suicide before revealing the location and names of what is believed to be his countless other victims. Absolutely, this was a bone chilling story that makes one really realize that you really don't know who it is that stands next to you."Land of the free, land of the lie, land of the scheme, Americanize."Thank you to Maureen Callahan, Viking Books and Edelweiss for a copy of this most frightening book.To see our duo reviews and some additional information you can go here: http://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpress...
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    True crime has been a guilty pleasure of mine for at least 30 years…I remember working in a public library and happily discovering the 364.1523 shelves (where even today I still browse, although TBH public library budgets often prevent a lot of trashy ephemeral reading material from making it to the shelves). These days, true crime has become a pop culture THING, and there’s no shortage of readily available books, movies, and podcasts dedicated to what used to be very much a niche market. I was True crime has been a guilty pleasure of mine for at least 30 years…I remember working in a public library and happily discovering the 364.1523 shelves (where even today I still browse, although TBH public library budgets often prevent a lot of trashy ephemeral reading material from making it to the shelves). These days, true crime has become a pop culture THING, and there’s no shortage of readily available books, movies, and podcasts dedicated to what used to be very much a niche market. I was very happy to receive an ARC of American Predator by Maureen Callahan from Penguin Group/Viking and NetGalley in exchange for this honest review.The blurb for this book says most of us “…have never heard of Israel Keyes. But he is one of the most ambitious, meticulous serial killers of modern time.” Possibly coincidence, but I felt like I was WAY more familiar with the crimes this unspeakably evil man committed than I might like, because very recently I had listened to two podcasts covering Keyes and his exploits: Generation Why and Crime Junkie. (I totally recommend Crime Junkie. Host Ashley Flowers does actual research, has an excellent presentation style, and adds relevant material including photos on her website). – and, knowing this book was likely to invade my dreams (which it did), I dove right in. (BTW, I don’t reveal spoilers for fiction – but true crime info is already out there, so there may be some facts revealed here. )Keyes lived (and died) in Alaska, where the book’s opening disappearance of teenage barista Samantha Koenig from her night shift work at a coffee kiosk sets off a hunt for her abductor that results in Keyes’ capture in Texas. Callahan writes well, and I loved her description of the Alaskan setting: “Never does this place feel so literally on the edge of the Earth, seesawing between the temporal world and some black chasm of the unknown phenomena, as the six months it sinks into near-total darkness. The isolation alone means anything goes. It is a rough place to be a woman.”The book has extensive detail about the investigation and interrogation of Keyes, and reveals the incredibly serendipitous nature of his arrest. What set him apart from many criminals was his incredible planning, including scouting out locations for future crimes and burying a “kit” including things like weapons, duct tape, cable ties, gloves, etc. which he could return (sometimes years later) and dig up to have ready to go. This allowed him to fly in to a town previously scouted, commit his crimes and vanish without a trace.Although there were a few awkward sentences (“Keyes was wrong to think a burner phone can’t be tracked but right about that.” – About WHAT?), the writing is good. This isn’t some quickie exploitative TC book, dashed off to cash in on a currently popular topic. Ms. Callahan’s years of experience as a writer and editor for the New York Post with a focus on popular culture is perhaps part of why she can cover a grisly topic and present it in a way that will likely appeal to a general audience.The story is unsettling, partly because there were so many ways the agencies fighting over who got credit and who got to take the lead on investigating/prosecuting totally screwed things up. It’s kind of a miracle he was in jail, and that he confessed to several crimes…but it seems there were countless other incidents he was involved in, and we will never know the extent of his crimes. It’s also unsettling to think he lived with his daughter and girlfriend, committed grisly murder literally in his own backyard, and his friends, family and neighbors had NO CLUE that he was basically two people. His MO included the burial of his “kill kits” noted above (cash, weapons, and body-disposal tools) in remote locations across the country. Seriously, how creepy is it that over the span of fourteen years, he would repeatedly fly to a random city, rent a car, and drive thousands of miles in order to use those kits? He would break into the house of a complete stranger, sometimes abducting victims in broad daylight, kill and dispose of them in a few hours, then calmly return home and resume his “other persona” as a reliable construction worker who was lovingly devoted to his young daughter. (As Ashley Flowers’ co-host Brit would say, “Full. Body. Chills.”To this day, so much of his activity remains a total mystery. Pretty much all we know of his exploits is what he chose to reveal during his interrogation, and that only happened due to a fluke traffic stop in Texas. It’s also odd that “…forty-five thousand pages of case files remain unreleased by the Department of Justice,” and that the circumstances of his death are so clouded in mystery (where did he get razor blades, and why did the guards not notice the blood flowing out of his cell the night he died?). For true crime fans in general and anyone interested in Israel Keyes in particular, five stars.
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  • Cassie-Traveling Sister-
    January 1, 1970
    True crime is a topic that has always interested me. What goes on in someone’s mind that causes them to perform such brutal crimes? American Predator was exactly the book for me and I found myself wondering how is it that I have never heard of the serial killer Israel Keyes? Israel Keyes a seemingly normal guy living in anchorage Alaska who was a construction worker and no one suspected him being pure evil! How did this man get away with murder well let me explain! This man would fly to a city r True crime is a topic that has always interested me. What goes on in someone’s mind that causes them to perform such brutal crimes? American Predator was exactly the book for me and I found myself wondering how is it that I have never heard of the serial killer Israel Keyes? Israel Keyes a seemingly normal guy living in anchorage Alaska who was a construction worker and no one suspected him being pure evil! How did this man get away with murder well let me explain! This man would fly to a city rent a car and drive thousands of miles to bury his kill kits this is what set him apart from other killers. He did a ton of advance planning. His kill kits included weapons, duct tape, cable ties gloves and so much more. When he buries these kill kits sometimes he wouldn’t return for them for years, he would dig them up and have his way with whomever. What scares me is that most of his victims will never be found due to Israel never leaving evidence. The book begins with the disappearance of Samantha from a coffee kiosk. My heart was breaking for her father who told the police she would never just take off. This man was a creepy mastermind with his kill kits buried all over the country, and his crimes which didn’t matter who the victim were , as long as his little plan in his head worked out. The author did an amazing job taking you on the journey of finally capturing this murder. This did not feel like a true crime book but a thriller. It just shows you sometimes you never know the person next you and real life can be scarier than fiction .
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  • Jeanette
    January 1, 1970
    This is a most difficult read. For me, the first 50 to 70 pages was so dense with titles and layers of policing and Anchorage Alaska "knowns" that I found myself rereading. At times, entire sections of at least 2 pages. Many moving parts, and in a place where nearly all are at times "independent", wily, and unstructured enough to only tell the parts of the story or the eye witness notice that they WANT to tell. Not what they "need" to tell in order to do their jobs, and quickly enough to get a p This is a most difficult read. For me, the first 50 to 70 pages was so dense with titles and layers of policing and Anchorage Alaska "knowns" that I found myself rereading. At times, entire sections of at least 2 pages. Many moving parts, and in a place where nearly all are at times "independent", wily, and unstructured enough to only tell the parts of the story or the eye witness notice that they WANT to tell. Not what they "need" to tell in order to do their jobs, and quickly enough to get a positive result. It's (Anchorage)population being what it is- and most of the people not born there- the cultural nuances are at points difficult. Not only for investigation, but for "awareness" of habits. It's not "lower 48" hierarchy for "authority" in the same sense either, IMHO. That's something you need to consider when you ponder the book as a whole too. Because many pages are given to policing levels of, at times, huge disagreement for both procedure and later in inquiry. At one point having skirted a huge botch of access to obtaining confessional body locations etc. For some reason beyond my comprehension they had to have a Federal White Collar Crime worker with high power stats head up the "asking" because Israel used a victim's debit card. As if that was the crime information needed IMMEDIATELY? Because he has a higher national "pecking" order, although untrained for the arena he's in? But this book, and in numerous points (more than others I have read with twice the length in doing so), gives a critical "cover all" to the reality of/for this kind of random access roaming serial killer pattern, habit, existence. The how, the why, the when, and how it progresses. If it is born or bred- there's some excellent tangent study of acquired research here, as well. No definitive answers but the correct questions, for sure. Most non-fiction in this genre of this caliber spends 1/2 the book on trials, after fact states etc. Not here, this is cored on the search. And there are no photographs. I'm wondering if there is an "Alaskan law" glitch there too!This one has a most interesting and I think, better form than most dire strait tales as this man's atrocities. It starts with one missing 18 year old from Anchorage and proceeds to where that leads. And then mid-book the biography of Israel is told and most of it is comes from his own mouth. Not all. There are some ex-wife, girl friend, mother, neighbor, intended but escaped victims in there too. He absolutely was, as he states, two people. And for 14 years, at least, not a one of them knew about the man with the kit. Or recognized in Israel any semblance of such.You'll need a thick skin and strong stomach for parts of this. And I won't tell you the ending. Where, how, when. None of it.It's absolutely a reality that a human who does not break the standard laws (finance, drug or liquor, or theft, or property or assault of any kind) and does not earn a crime sheet/ record- that same human can travel and if extremely smart and careful commit horrendous and horrific murder with near perfect invisibility. Even in this DNA, forensics minutia era. Cell phones, tracking, tech paths- all can be under the radar if not local or connected to a "known" name.Israel Keyes
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  • Bonnie Brody
    January 1, 1970
    I finished this book last night and remained in a state of terror for a few hours. I made sure all my doors were locked, my security alarm was on, and the outside lights to the house were off. True crime books occasionally interest me but I was very anxious to read this one because I'd lived in Alaska for over 40 years and had never heard of Israel Keyes. How could this be possible, given the extent and magnitude of his crimes? Maureen Callahan does an excellent job of analyzing this case, from I finished this book last night and remained in a state of terror for a few hours. I made sure all my doors were locked, my security alarm was on, and the outside lights to the house were off. True crime books occasionally interest me but I was very anxious to read this one because I'd lived in Alaska for over 40 years and had never heard of Israel Keyes. How could this be possible, given the extent and magnitude of his crimes? Maureen Callahan does an excellent job of analyzing this case, from the 2012 Anchorage kidnapping of Samantha Koenig, at which time the FBI, Department of Justice, and Anchorage Police Department first became aware of Keyes' existence, through the multiple years, locations and crimes that Keyes was involved with. She explores the politics of the case and the fight for control of Keyes' interviews. She has a good handle on Alaskan in-fighting: cover your ass, leave no paperwork, and don't let the left hand know what the right hand is doing. Basically, she understands the power structure in Alaska and how that led to multiple mess-ups and mis-steps as the investigation progressed from the belief that Keyes was responsible for one kidnapping and murder to the realization that he had preyed on, and killed, others throughout the United States over multiple years. Keyes was a serial killer, the likes of which Alaska had never had before.Israel Keyes had been kidnapping and killing for decades before he was caught in Texas for the kidnapping and murder of Samantha Koenig. Not a lot is known about his personal history but he exhibited two well-established early indicators of psychopathy: sadism toward animals and arson. He came from a family that lived off the grid and, for at least a while, were part of a white supremacy cult in Idaho. He was one of 9 siblings and expected to help his father and mother with their work. There was no television, internet, magazines, or indicators of the modern world in his home when Keyes was growing up. He was home-schooled by his mother and his parents were nomadic religious hippies who would join various cults and then move the family from location to location. Each child in the Keyes family was born at home with no birth certificate ever attained. Israel's parents didn't believe in doctors or hospitals so all ailments, big or small, were dealt with homeopathically at home.The FBI and the Anchorage Police Department became aware, shortly after picking Keyes up and interviewing him, that he was a serial killer, and a very meticulous one who left no evidence behind. He admitted to killing people at multiple locations around the U.S. Issues such as whether serial killers are born that way or made into monsters, are explored. While no exact proof of what creates them is provided, it is agreed that they are evil. Not all psychopaths are serial killers but all serial killers are psychopaths. Keyes loved hurting people and animals from an early age and derived sexual pleasure from going to more extremes with each kill.The author, Maureen Callahan, has done a meticulous job exploring the case of Israel Keyes, and of acknowledging that some of the evidence against him has yet to be released. Why this is, is unknown. I had to have a strong stomach to read this book but I give Ms. Callahan credit. Despite there being multiple people involved with this case, she was able to create individual personalities and unique characters for each one. Perhaps Keyes is the protagonist of this book but Alaska, 'The Last Frontier', has its own place on the walkway of stars and I believe that Ms. Callahan has captured the spirit of individualism, libertarianism, and uniqueness of Alaska's spirit and people.
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  • Karen Wright
    January 1, 1970
    This book does nothing but show how a serial killer is glorified in what he did, by highlighting his crimes and letting us know how his sick mind worked. The book is confusing from the start as it begins at the end. Then the author digs up old transcripts with the killer's own words and demonstrates how he manipulated law enforcement over and over again. It also shines a light on the ineptness of the FBI and law enforcement in handling cases like these because some of the individuals want the gl This book does nothing but show how a serial killer is glorified in what he did, by highlighting his crimes and letting us know how his sick mind worked. The book is confusing from the start as it begins at the end. Then the author digs up old transcripts with the killer's own words and demonstrates how he manipulated law enforcement over and over again. It also shines a light on the ineptness of the FBI and law enforcement in handling cases like these because some of the individuals want the glory for handling the case and perhaps being the one to solve it. The more I read, the angrier I became at myself that I was reading about this worthless human being whose sorry life is documented and showcased in a book. He got just what he wanted -- attention and his 15 minutes of fame. This book was solidly annoying. My cousin was killed by serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin, who is suspected of at least 13 killings. Maybe this has jaded my ability to be objective in my assessment. He was another creep who got away with murder and wasn't charged for most of the heartache he created as he terrorized the nation.
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  • Glenda
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsBundy and Bianchi really can't hold a candle to this one.American Predator looks into the crimes of a somewhat unknown modern-day serial killer named Israel Keyes. The author draws on interviews and legal recordings to paint a picture of a true sociopath. While there is not the drawn out background and legalese-type writing that authors like Ann Rule are known for, I give kudos to author Maureen Callahan for writing an honest narrative with the information she was given (and letting us 4.5 starsBundy and Bianchi really can't hold a candle to this one.American Predator looks into the crimes of a somewhat unknown modern-day serial killer named Israel Keyes. The author draws on interviews and legal recordings to paint a picture of a true sociopath. While there is not the drawn out background and legalese-type writing that authors like Ann Rule are known for, I give kudos to author Maureen Callahan for writing an honest narrative with the information she was given (and letting us know what info she was not given, which I find very interesting). I remember hearing about Israel Keyes after his death. There seemed to be have been several people in my small mountain town who "knew" him or remembered some creepy dude who fit the description. Was it really him? Who knows. It wouldn't surprise me if he was involved in the deaths of a mom and daughter on a hiking trail in the Cascades, nor would it surprise me if he was hanging out at my favorite dive bar outside Mt Rainier. What I appreciated about this book is that there was no speculation, unlike local lore. The author did her due diligence and wrote an interesting and informative story. I just wish she could have had access to more documents to make this a truly awesome read. A huge thank you to Viking for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Chandra Claypool (wherethereadergrows)
    January 1, 1970
    I used to scour the internet to read about all the killers out there. Kids, women, partners, serial... it didn't matter - if it was true crime, I was reading about it. I can't imagine the hours I put into all of this. FASCINATING. There's no looking past the fact that these people are diabolical and mostly geniuses. Put into this, the wrong law enforcement person put in charge of interviewing them and all kinds of things can go haywire. As manipulative as these killers are, they surely know thei I used to scour the internet to read about all the killers out there. Kids, women, partners, serial... it didn't matter - if it was true crime, I was reading about it. I can't imagine the hours I put into all of this. FASCINATING. There's no looking past the fact that these people are diabolical and mostly geniuses. Put into this, the wrong law enforcement person put in charge of interviewing them and all kinds of things can go haywire. As manipulative as these killers are, they surely know their way around their words and feeding off the body language and words of the people surrounding them.How did I never hear of Israel Keyes?! I'm baffled that I hadn't heard of him until now. Reading about what he did to his victims was crazy. Pure, absolute bat shit. This book definitely doesn't read as "dry" as some true crime books can. Although it did lull in some areas for me, the story behind Keyes and his random victims was still as utterly fascinating as others I have read... if not more. I even looked up pictures on the internet and WOAH. You guys - if you get the chance, and true crime speaks to you, then definitely make sure to do this before, during or after this read. Or all three!A definite must read for true crime lovers.
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  • Karen Abbott
    January 1, 1970
    Impeccably researched, gripping, chilling--I couldn't put it down (and didn't sleep for days!)
  • Shannon Kirk
    January 1, 1970
    Just go get this book and read it. I have read a lot of true crime novels and I honestly can say, this one is the most meticulously constructed and gripping. Read in one day and skipped meals, that gripping. That well done. Last year I raved and raved about John Carreyrou’s amazing Bad Blood. And this year I am going to rave and rave and rave about American Predator. Just read it. Trust me.
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  • Steve Tannuzzo
    January 1, 1970
    How can a serial killer operate for years without law enforcement tracking him down? If you're Israel Keyes, you plan your murders well in advance. You bury "murder kits" around the country to use when you finally decide it's time. You fly to one location and then drive out of state to kill. You take cruises to throw police off the scent. This is probably the best true crime book I've read since I'll Be Gone in the Dark. Author/journalist Maureen Callahan avoids the goriest details (though not a How can a serial killer operate for years without law enforcement tracking him down? If you're Israel Keyes, you plan your murders well in advance. You bury "murder kits" around the country to use when you finally decide it's time. You fly to one location and then drive out of state to kill. You take cruises to throw police off the scent. This is probably the best true crime book I've read since I'll Be Gone in the Dark. Author/journalist Maureen Callahan avoids the goriest details (though not all, given the subject matter) by focusing on Keyes' background and meticulous methods. American Predator is a fascinating, dark and compelling read for true crime enthusiasts.
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  • Shira Selkovits
    January 1, 1970
    One of the best true crime novels I’ve ever read. Israel Keyes is an absolute mad man and yet he’s sane. His completely random and unrelated acts of evil are incredibly terrifying and had me sleeping with the lights on while reading. This is right up there with I’ll Be Gone in the Dark as far as true crime goes, definitely do not miss if you like this genre. Definitely some horrific triggers in here: rape, murder, dismemberment, etc.
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  • Kal ★ Reader Voracious
    January 1, 1970
    I devoured this book in one disturbing sitting. The writing is gripping and captivating, drawing me in from the author’s note at the beginning of the book. I don’t read a lot of true crime, but I grew up watching Unsolved Mysteries, CSI, and Criminal Minds, so when my friend Jess @ Fiction No Chaser screamed to me about this one, I had to read it myself! “The subject of this book was unlike anything the FBI had ever encountered. He was a new kind of monster, likely responsible for the greatest I devoured this book in one disturbing sitting. The writing is gripping and captivating, drawing me in from the author’s note at the beginning of the book. I don’t read a lot of true crime, but I grew up watching Unsolved Mysteries, CSI, and Criminal Minds, so when my friend Jess @ Fiction No Chaser screamed to me about this one, I had to read it myself! “The subject of this book was unlike anything the FBI had ever encountered. He was a new kind of monster, likely responsible for the greatest string of unsolved disappearances and murders in modern history. And you have probably never heard of him.” At the risk of sounding morbid, I know a lot about serial killers and was surprised that I had never heard of this guy. The book is very well researched and is based on hundreds of hours of interviews with the investigators involved. I don’t read a lot of true crime so I am not sure if this is typical of the genre, but American Predator reads like an episode of Criminal Minds – it is an incredibly engaging read.The book begins with Israel Keyes’ last crime, Samantha’s disappearance from the coffee hut that she worked in (with people around!) and follows the search for her and who was responsible. From the friction between local police and the FBI to a grandstanding prosecutor, it was really heartbreaking to read about the various missteps in the investigation. “Payne always likened the first meeting with a suspect to telling an author his own story. And, of course, only the author knows how that story ends.” The second half of the book follows the countless interviews that investigators conducted with Keyes as it became clear that this wasn’t his first crime. The descriptions of his crimes are very detailed. Massive content warnings for rape, murder, and dismemberment.If you are a fan of true crime, American Predator is a must-read. I knew I was reading nonfiction, but it almost feels like a thriller when reading it. Callahan’s writing is beautiful, descriptive, and past-paced, sucking you in until the last page is turned.CONTENT WARNINGS: dismemberment, murder, rapeeARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review. Quotations are taken from an uncorrected proof and subject to change upon final publication.Blog | Twitter | Pinterest
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  • Samantha
    January 1, 1970
    This book really makes you consider people. This dude, just out there murdering and no one had any idea. He was an intelligent killer, he knew the best ways to manipulate weaknesses in law enforcement, and I've never heard of him...I guess what always pulls me in with serial killers, is just the lack of empathy. The complete disregard for another human. The feeling I have is, BUT HOW COULD YOU?!? I couldn't imagine feeling that way, and the horror that this is something that happens, that serial This book really makes you consider people. This dude, just out there murdering and no one had any idea. He was an intelligent killer, he knew the best ways to manipulate weaknesses in law enforcement, and I've never heard of him...I guess what always pulls me in with serial killers, is just the lack of empathy. The complete disregard for another human. The feeling I have is, BUT HOW COULD YOU?!? I couldn't imagine feeling that way, and the horror that this is something that happens, that serial killers really exist in society.... It just makes you truly consider who you can trust. *shivers* I definitely have a case of the heebie jeebies
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  • Andy Klein
    January 1, 1970
    At times interesting and often disturbing, the book, in the end, was a disappointment. It had very little to do with the hunt for Keyes, and had much more to do with snippets of interviews of the man when in custody. I also found the hit job on the AUSA Kevin Feldis to be uncalled for. It’s obvious that he did not consent to he interviewed, so the author painted him in a terrible light based on interviews she did with the lead investigators who were miffed that he involved himself in the interro At times interesting and often disturbing, the book, in the end, was a disappointment. It had very little to do with the hunt for Keyes, and had much more to do with snippets of interviews of the man when in custody. I also found the hit job on the AUSA Kevin Feldis to be uncalled for. It’s obvious that he did not consent to he interviewed, so the author painted him in a terrible light based on interviews she did with the lead investigators who were miffed that he involved himself in the interrogations. Shockingly, the author succeeded in making a prosecutor seem less likable than a monstrous murderer. And, by the way, for all of his alleged ineptitude, Feldis got all of the key details of the AK crime from Keyes during his first interview, whereas the crack interrogators got details on one or two additional murders from Keyes over the next 6 months of interrogations.
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  • Laura (crofteereader)
    January 1, 1970
    I loved the structure of this book: we start with a mystery, a missing girl, and uncover so much more, reaching back decades into a life of depravity. It follows with the chronology of the investigation but also with the way Keyes himself recounted his crimes.However, once we moved on from that final victim, the pacing lost steam. The investigators were all getting in each other's way, not to mention the killer himself. While that's true to the facts, it made the book flow less as the progress o I loved the structure of this book: we start with a mystery, a missing girl, and uncover so much more, reaching back decades into a life of depravity. It follows with the chronology of the investigation but also with the way Keyes himself recounted his crimes.However, once we moved on from that final victim, the pacing lost steam. The investigators were all getting in each other's way, not to mention the killer himself. While that's true to the facts, it made the book flow less as the progress of the investigation sputtered to a halt. The eerie details fell away in favor of steamrolling to the end.As someone who doesn't listen to true crime podcasts or watch documentaries (at least not often), this case was completely new to me and that alone was enough to really draw me in.
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  • Jeff McIntosh
    January 1, 1970
    Unsettling, to say the least. Using the Organized/Disorganized model of serial murder proposed by some researchers, clearly Keyes would fit the "organized" serial killer, who frequently meticulously planned his crimes in advance, often burying caches of weapons, zip ties, everything he'd need to commit rapes, arson, and murder. And never left any evidence..... He has been credited with 11 murders, and suspected of more...which, unfortunately, will never be known, as he committed suicide before Unsettling, to say the least. Using the Organized/Disorganized model of serial murder proposed by some researchers, clearly Keyes would fit the "organized" serial killer, who frequently meticulously planned his crimes in advance, often burying caches of weapons, zip ties, everything he'd need to commit rapes, arson, and murder. And never left any evidence..... He has been credited with 11 murders, and suspected of more...which, unfortunately, will never be known, as he committed suicide before being brought to trial.... But an excellent book.Jeff McIntosh
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  • Savannah
    January 1, 1970
    You know it's an effective true crime book when you think about taking every self defense class ever as well as begin lifting weights. This was super interesting from start to finish and the subject of the book is really and truly "a new kind of monster" that you've probably never heard of.
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  • Shanna Davis
    January 1, 1970
    Terrifying, propulsive, eerie....this book has everything a true crime reader could want. The ease of the writing style unfolds the horrific details of both the killer & law enforcement's handling of the case, keeping the reader enthralled. I'm still chilled.
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  • Jill Meyer
    January 1, 1970
    It's not easy to write a good true crime book. My criteria for judging the genre is 5 stars for a book like "In Cold Blood" by Truman Capote, "The Executioner's Song" by Norman Mailer, and anything written by Thomas Thompson. Four stars for anything by Ann Rule. It's very rare to find a book worthy of five stars, though I have found several over the years. Four stars is a little bit easier to find, and a good example might be Maureen Callahan's new book, "American Predator".Callahan's serial kil It's not easy to write a good true crime book. My criteria for judging the genre is 5 stars for a book like "In Cold Blood" by Truman Capote, "The Executioner's Song" by Norman Mailer, and anything written by Thomas Thompson. Four stars for anything by Ann Rule. It's very rare to find a book worthy of five stars, though I have found several over the years. Four stars is a little bit easier to find, and a good example might be Maureen Callahan's new book, "American Predator".Callahan's serial killer, Israel Keyes, is a scary guy and the epitome of a "stranger-killer". I don't think he killed anyone he knew, though he didn't confess to all his killings. So perhaps his father's death, which was suspicious, could be added to his "total". In any case, Keyes murdered 11 people - that we know - before his capture and imprisonment for his last killing of a teenager in Anchorage, Alaska. Maureen Callahan takes a good look at both victims and killer. Keyes fits the profile of serial killer, starting early and with small animals. He finished up with people as his prey.The author intersperses Keyes' life story in between chapters on his killings. Born truly "off-the-grid", the second child of a litter of 10 children, he was raised in the wilds of Idaho and other western states til he was a teenager. He never attended school and had no birth certificate. At a certain level, he didn't exist. He was self-taught and was actually quite well-spoken, at least in the sparing he did with law enforcement officials.And the cops and FBI are also defined as they caught Israel Keyes and then got his story. There were a couple of inept questioners - unfortunately high enough up in the hierarchy to affect the investigation. But LE did get enough of his story to make Israel Keyes a definite serial killer with an ingenious MO he employed through out his crime spree. Altogether, Maureen Callahan has written a solid four star true crime book.
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  • Susannah
    January 1, 1970
    Compelling, unputdownable, FRIGHTENING!
  • D
    January 1, 1970
    I just hope this book gets federal prosecutor and complete moron Kevin Feldis fired.
  • truedeceiver
    January 1, 1970
    Wowsers. This is a true true crime book. I couldn't put it down. It's terrifying and so upsetting.
  • Jaclyn
    January 1, 1970
    4 Starts. ~ Thank you to the publishers, Viking, for this ARC in exchange for my honest review. ~ Available Now!American Predator is a satisfying page-turner for any true crime fan. The story opens with the kidnapping of Samantha Koenig in Anchorage Alaska. This kidnapping turns out to be the downfall of Israel Keyes, a modern serial killer who managed to work under the radar despite traveling across country to commit his crimes. In this work, Maureen Callahan pieces together hours and hours of 4 Starts. ~ Thank you to the publishers, Viking, for this ARC in exchange for my honest review. ~ Available Now!American Predator is a satisfying page-turner for any true crime fan. The story opens with the kidnapping of Samantha Koenig in Anchorage Alaska. This kidnapping turns out to be the downfall of Israel Keyes, a modern serial killer who managed to work under the radar despite traveling across country to commit his crimes. In this work, Maureen Callahan pieces together hours and hours of interviews with Keyes, those that worked the case, and those that were close to Keyes (well as close as you can be to someone who is self-described as being two different people). The first 130+ pages (Parts I & II) explore the identification, capture, and first interrogations of Israel Keyes in connection with Samantha Koenig. To be honest, I spent the first third of the read, looking at the back cover to confirm what I was reading: "I thought this was about a serial killer?" Then in the second half of the book, and just as the terrifying realization must have occurred to the investigators, the depth of horror slowly reveals itself. Keyes begins to reveal bits of his horrendous crimes that span over years, states (maybe countries), and involve murder "kits" buried years before the crime took place. This story is masterfully written putting the reader in the seat of the investigators. It is a heartbreaking read. It keeps you thinking. How did someone who was so meticulous, traveling across country to commit horrendous random murders and leaving next to no DNA, end up caught over a crime in his home city with multiple mistakes? Did he want to get caught? What if that mistake didn't happen? What bigger plan was Keyes cooking up? I highly recommend this read.
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  • Zainab
    January 1, 1970
    Maureen Callahan is an award winning investigative journalist so this book has lots of facts and data and very less emphasis on sensationalism. I welcomed her approach.This book is about a very meticulous serial killer who is the scariest one I have ever known about. And I am fascinated by serial killers and have read quite a lot. He is scariest because he was not only physically strong, but had a background of working in army. He knew weapons so well that he even made his own variations of them Maureen Callahan is an award winning investigative journalist so this book has lots of facts and data and very less emphasis on sensationalism. I welcomed her approach.This book is about a very meticulous serial killer who is the scariest one I have ever known about. And I am fascinated by serial killers and have read quite a lot. He is scariest because he was not only physically strong, but had a background of working in army. He knew weapons so well that he even made his own variations of them that he felt so proud of. He had kept his weapons and other tools in little stashes all over the country and would go, visit these states on whim, and kill whoever he fancied killing. Old couples, young couples, old men, young women, there was no type. No one was safe. This is why he was scariest.He was termed meticulous because he always kept himself safe: leaving no DNA, often burning crime scenes, dumping bodies in different states, leaving no physical clue or digital footprint. I believe that it was a big stroke of luck that they managed to catch him. And when they did, they had no idea he was a serial killer. All of it came later.I finished this book in 2 days. It is a fast page turner. I am glad that the author did not try to sensationalise or emotionalise this book because it does not need a thing to keep you up at night. I couldn't sleep well because of it. I mourned the victims, both lost and found.It is a terrifying read. I am glad I don't live in America. I would have been scared to death if I were.
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  • Mom_Loves_Reading
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book from Goodreads in exchange for an honest review. Happy Pub Day to “American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century” by Maureen Callahan.True crime enthusiasts will love this! Readers of suspense and thrillers will love this! It is one of the most well written, most well researched non-fiction books I have ever read. Some of the content is hard to stomach, but it is written with sensitivity and care. Crime Junkies recently had a podcast a I received this book from Goodreads in exchange for an honest review. Happy Pub Day to “American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century” by Maureen Callahan.True crime enthusiasts will love this! Readers of suspense and thrillers will love this! It is one of the most well written, most well researched non-fiction books I have ever read. Some of the content is hard to stomach, but it is written with sensitivity and care. Crime Junkies recently had a podcast about Israel Keyes on their Patreon site and like the podcast hosts would say, it gave me full body chills.(Read synopsis on Goodreads) I seriously could not put this book down. I stayed up way too late reading it and the had nightmares about it. It’s terrifying and chilling and one of the best books I’ve read this year.Thank you to @goodreads and @vikingbooks for my review copy! I highly recommend this 5⭐️ read.....#americanpredator #maureencallahan #vikingpress #truecrime #israelkeyes #murderino #serialkiller #crimejunkie #murderinos #suspensethriller #pubday #julybooks #botm #goodreads #booksofinstagram
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  • Jessica (Just a Girl with a Book)
    January 1, 1970
    Wow - what a crazy read! If you know my bookish habits, you know that I struggle reading nonfiction on paper and usually resort to audiobooks. I attribute this to my need for a somewhat fast-paced plot, and informational texts don't often read like thrillers. But I adore documentaries and podcasts, so audio is the medium in which NF is most enjoyable for me.I read this one in under 24 hours, guys. It was that good. Written by award-winning investigative journalist, Maureen Callahan, this book de Wow - what a crazy read! If you know my bookish habits, you know that I struggle reading nonfiction on paper and usually resort to audiobooks. I attribute this to my need for a somewhat fast-paced plot, and informational texts don't often read like thrillers. But I adore documentaries and podcasts, so audio is the medium in which NF is most enjoyable for me.I read this one in under 24 hours, guys. It was that good. Written by award-winning investigative journalist, Maureen Callahan, this book delves into the not-very-well-known story of Israel Keyes, a serial killer active in the 90s and early 2000s, and I was shocked that I'd never heard about him. From hundreds of hours of interviews and thousands of previously unreleased documents, Callahan has compiled an "unputtdownable" account of Keyes and his eventual end. I highly recommend this for the True Crime readers out there!
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