Ted Bundy. John Wayne Gacy. Jeffrey Dahmer. The names of notorious serial killers are usually well-known; they echo in the news and in public consciousness. But most people have never heard of Israel Keyes, one of the most ambitious and terrifying serial killers in modern history. The FBI considered his behavior unprecedented. Described by a prosecutor as "a force of pure evil," Keyes 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. Over the course of fourteen years, Keyes 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 to Alaska, 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 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 to the limitations of traditional law enforcement.
Seriously, you must read this book. Below is literally my face upon completing American Predator:
You want to feel this way whilst reading a Tue Crime story, don't you??? I mean, don't you!?
Quite honestly, this is by far one of the most disturbing books that I have ever read.
American Predator is a nonfiction account of the capture and subsequent investigation of serial killer, Israel Keyes.
Fortunately for the reader, this is much more than a droll portrayal of one monster's heinous crimes. Callahan creates a compelling recounting of the investigation of his case, beginning with his final kill and going backward through time.
I thought this was a clever formatting choice by the author. It made the story seem more like you were part of the investigation, versus starting at the beginning of his life and moving forward in a more traditional way.
Reading about Israel was completely disturbing for me. Here was a man, a contemporary of mine, born in the same year, and to walk through his crimes was shocking.
The fact that he traveled extensively in the state where I was living at the time was the icing on the cake.
His level of arrogance, yet ability to plan, and to leave no evidence was bone-chilling. He used his knowledge of surveillance and technology to constantly fly under the radar.
Making this even more disturbing was the seemingly random selection of his victims. There's so much more, but I don't want to give anything away.
American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century by Maureen Callahan is a Viking publication.
When I first noticed this book, the crime didn’t ring any bells for me. As the blurb stated most of us had never heard of Israel Keyes. As far I knew, this was a true crime story I had heard nothing about. But, after reading several positive reviews from my Goodreads peers, my curiosity was piqued, so I added it to the pile.
The book opens in Alaska, with a harrowing scene, in which a teenage girl is kidnapped, her fate obviously precarious. The girl’s father immediately swings into action, collecting reward money for any information about his daughter. However, some of his actions raised a few eyebrows and he quickly became law enforcement's first person of interest.
Meanwhile, Israel Keyes, was moving far, far away from Alaska. Eventually he was pulled over by the cops in Texas, leading to his arrest for murder. It would soon come to light that Israel Keyes had a long history of rape and murder-possibly dating back as far as 1996.
Callahan follows the investigation from Alaska to Texas and back again. Readers get to see what challenges law enforcement faced, including jockeying for position, jurisdiction issues, and politics.
Not only that, judging from the intense interrogations, the investigation was far from pretty. It was a very complex and complicated situation, to be sure. Despite that, the monster was caught- although it was mostly pure luck.
The story was definitely absorbing, and Keyes’ background was truly shocking. But, as the manhunt transitioned to Texas, I was stunned to learn that Keyes had planned his crime so carefully, he had even created a cunning escape route through Texas well in advance. Not only that, one of the spots on this journey through Texas just happened to be in the town I reside in. What? For the life of me, I could not recall hearing anything about this. So, I quickly did a Google search and sure enough, back in 2012 Keyes passed through my little town.
Not only that, he made a pit stop at a state park about thirty miles away, where he had nearly chosen his next victim. The woman was walking a large dog and Keyes ultimately decided that disposing of both a dead body and a large dead dog was too much of a hassle.
In my defense, this did happen eight years ago, and I’ve slept since then. However, now I do vaguely remember hearing about a serial killer marking out our town on a map while planning his escape route. While we may have been spared any of Keyes’ evil doings, investigators are positive that Keyes probably did take someone while he was in Texas.
I guess you never know how close to true evil we are at any given time.
But- I digress-
Overall, this is a spine-tingling true crime saga. Although Keyes never became a household name like other serial killers of his caliber, he was every bit as chilling and terrifying. The man was an enigma, a kind of hybrid serial killer, who failed to fit into a neat profile. He was cunning and as the title states- meticulous! Truly the stuff nightmares are made of!
True Crime enthusiasts will not want to miss this one!
”Payne and Bell recognized Keyes’ threat as the mind control of an experienced criminal. Payne had learned it at Quantico and heard variations in countless confessions.
‘You’ll regret it.’ ‘I’ll hurt you.’
Neither is: ‘I’ll kill you,’ and that gives a victim hope. The best criminals always leave that window open, because it makes manipulating and controlling someone so much easier. And victims often believe, fatally, that they’ll be let go.”
You are looking in the eyes of a stone cold killer.
Israel Keyes is certainly the most terrifying serial killer that you have never heard of. There are a lot of reasons why he has flown under the radar of the general public and most true crime fans. One is the FBI never extracted a full confession from him. Two, the police screw up so many things regarding Keyes while keeping him in custody and while processing his crimes that no one is crowing about the Big, Bad Monster that has been apprehended. Through incompetance, he is allowed to commit suicide before his victims can all be identified (Jeffrey Epsteinesque). ”He [Keyes] covered them; even in death, he said, his victims belonged to him.” Keyes may have never revealed all of his victims, but with adequate handling, he certainly would have most likely revealed more than what will ever be known.
”Not all psychopaths are serial killers, but all serial killers are psychopaths.”
I can get lost down a long and winding rabbit hole discussing all the functioning psychopaths among us. Some of you are married to them or have been married to them. They make really successful, ruthless businessmen, lawyers, and bankers. They focus well on objectives, and morality is something they find to be a laughable concept, though on the surface they appear to be pillars of the community.
Keyes is a meticulous killer and operates without detection for fourteen years. He maintains a family unit, which is unusual. He is self described as two people. One is the man everyone expects him to be, and the other takes pleasure in torturing, raping, and killing people. This story starts at the end because that is where Keyes wants to begin. He is willing to talk about the one that tripped him up and dangle the possibility of others.
As the story unfolds, I keep thinking to myself that he makes some fundamental errors that are unlike him. Has he let the need, the desire to kill, build up too much that it makes him break his own rules? He certainly doesn’t strike me as the typical serial killer who is bored at not being caught and finally wants to bask in the limelight of his notoriety, like for instance the BTK Killer, Dennis Rader. Keyes even makes a point of wanting things kept out of the press for fear that his daughter will learn that her father is a monster. Keyes lives in Alaska and is always careful to drive down to the lower 48 to relieve his need to kill. The don’t-shit-where-you-live concept. He leaves kill kits buried all over the country that consist of cash, body disposal items, and weapons. I’m sure some of those are still out there, awaiting a man who will never return.
Keyes’s parents are both religious nutters. He even describes them as “cult shoppers” who moved all over the country trying to find that new sect of religion that better fit their own beliefs. This criss crossing of the country may be why Keyes feels so comfortable travelling through multiple states, looking for the perfect victims. When his mother is questioned for information, she tells the authorities: “‘Well,’ Heidi said, ‘if God wants that girl to be found, she’ll be found.’” *sigh*
I can feel my whole body tensing when they finally pull over Israel Keyes in Texas for a routine traffic violation, but really they have an inkling that he is a man most wanted in Alaska. The description of the scene is so nerve wracking that I am muttering to myself, “Don’t let him go. Find a way to arrest him.” They don’t want to give a judge any excuse to let this guy walk. Maureen Callahan does an excellent job of making me forget that I know what I know in the moment. I’m one of those readers, though, who can read about the assassination of Lincoln and still be rooting for someone, anyone, to step in the way of Booth’s unalterable bullet. Alas, Lincoln always dies, and I will always still feel his passing acutely.
So why does Keyes do it? ”Why not?” is his answer.
The frustrating part of the book and for the writer is all the unanswered questions to which we will probably never know the answers. His interrogation is handled with a high degree of ineptitude, and he frequently makes his questioners look stupid. Keyes is unique and doesn’t care about credited kills, unlike most other serial killers who brag about their deeds. This makes it much harder to deal with him or negotiate with him. He keeps control. He is the grand manipulator and constantly turns the tables on those trying to solicit any information from him. All he is concerned about is when they will execute him. When they can’t do that right, he controls that as well.
This is a fascinating look into the criminal justice system and the inherent issues that need to be resolved. It is truly amazing that the most dangerous criminals with any degree of intelligence are ever caught.
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...
2.5 "a superficial and amateurish telling but nonetheless very readable" stars !!!
Third Most Disappointing Read of 2021 Award
Israel Keyes was both a serial killer and burgeoning terrorist who dabbled in torture, necrophilia and arson. He took his own life in Alaska prison in December 2012. Many questions remain unanswered as to the extent and frequency of his crimes and even less so in understanding his psychopathology.
Ms. Callahan collated an immense amount of information into this book. Unfortunately she needed help that she did not get or acquire from editors, a co-author (or two) or experts in criminal psychopathology. This led to the book being inadequate for those of us readers wanting depth, analysis and a reasonable stab (pun intended) at understanding the darkness and evil in this man's personality and cognitive functioning. I was quite frustrated by her presentation of the materials, the huge inconsistencies, the low quality of the prose and mostly her very amateurish inferences and her very poor interpretations. Also very many loose ends that needed to be tied up.
Having said that, I feel the author made a valiant attempt and despite the huge flaws was able to present a very readable and frightening book for the general public.
“If he had been about five seconds slower getting out of his car and going into his apartment, he would have been The One that night.”
When we talk about the most prolific and horrifying serial killers, such as Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer etc, we should be adding another name to the list - Israel Keyes.
Prior to the hype around this book, and seeing that Last Podcast on the Left had covered him across a few episodes, I really had never heard of this guy before, which baffles me! Keyes was a true monster, evil incarnate. Some of the details of his crimes left me feeling sick to my stomach and incredibly uneasy before bedtime.
Well-written true crime books are hard to come by, which is why I choose to mostly get my true crime fix through podcasts, but American Predator is one of the best I’ve read. It’s informative and detailed, without becoming dry and tedious. Callahan tells the story of Israel Keyes by starting at what is technically the end, by kicking it off with his arrest. And this works really well, as the narrative is told in such a manner where you learn the crimes in a similar order to law enforcement.
Something I found quite alarming was the control that Keyes had over the investigation, as well as the stubbornness of prosecutor Kevin Feldis, who forced his position as interrogator when really this should have been left to those who had more experience. But hey, the criminal justice system be fucked up sometimes!
All in all, a fantastic true crime novel. This junkie would recommend adding it to your TBR! 5 stars.
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.
This book could really give you nightmares thinking about this man randomly traveling the US, with his buried ‘kill kits’ all over ready for him when the mood struck. Maureen Callahan does a great job introducing us to a frightening killer whose true scope will never be known. There was apparently some attempts to cover up his story by the government for a while when they caught up to him. This was during a period that they were trying to negotiate for information from him. He did give up bodies, but due to time passing, they were not recoverable. This case is really one for the books, and he was just an anomaly, and that there aren’t others like him wandering around out there. But I think that would be naive wishful thinking now. A must-read for for true crime lovers.
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.
The name Israel Keyes is not well known as the other serial killers. It doesn't make any sense why that is when he is clearly the most dangerous thus far. He thrived for 14 years randomly killing, robbing (including banks), cyber stalking, raping, committing arson, and even blowing up property. He did all this in the modern world of extreme surveillance and digital trails. He was intelligent, personable, and highly athletic. Who knows how many people are still out there doing what he did, but they haven't gotten caught yet.
Keyes unique story is what carries this book so well. The author wrote it in a narrative style, so it reads like a crime novel. I appreciate the effort, but something was preventing me from loving it. I feel like a more experienced author would have knocked this out of the park.
Israel Keyes is one incredibly scary guy. I remember watching a true crime documentary about the serial killer a couple of years ago, and was equally enthralled and horrified that such a man existed and the luck it took to catch him.
This is a man who buried kill kits all over America, crossed multiple state lines to evade detection and was so meticulous in his execution that the FBI still don't know how many people he killed. Without his 'help' those victims that were identified likely never would have been found. Yet he's still not widely known to the outside world.
Callahan presents a well documented presentation of all the facts in the Keyes case, describing his last known victim Samantha Koenig and his eventual arrest in Texas. It thoroughly covers the investigation into Samantha's murder, Keyes backstory and the many, many failings in the Anchorage police department and beyond. I think the major failing that Callahan discusses is the fact that Alaska just wasn't prepared to house a man like Keyes. Intelligent, constantly thinking, a psychopath who though himself better and above the law. He thrived on control and power and he played the FBI and judicial system for every scrap of information. He got off on seeing them struggle to untangle his past victims as well as actively reliving his crimes in his mind.
He was utterly terrifying. A new breed of serial killer. Evolved. And I highly doubt he's the only one out there in a population of 7 billion. It's just that he's the only one who's been caught.
Israel Keyes was a serial killer par excellence. He was usually the smartest person in the room ... any room, all kinds of people ... including the police, attorneys, and the FBI agents ... and he was well aware of this fact. He was very much 'at home in his own skin'.
The author spent over a decade researching how the FBI finally caught him, and what transpired afterwards. She did many interviews with folks who knew Israel, and several members of various law enforcement. She had access to classified FBI files.
She does not drag us through a trial scenario. Yay! Most trials are reported in such a mind-numbing way they create a massive 'dead' spot in any book.
Due to ineptitude, from most participants, the opportunity to discover ALL of Keyes' murders slipped through their fingers. Infuriating how stupid some people can be.
If you like true crime, you'd probably like this book. A serial killer ... highly intelligent, physically powerful, emotions aptly handled, and a pure enjoyment of kidnapping, and killing ... not many like him ... thank goodness.
4 Stars = Outstanding. It definitely held my interest.
امتیاز واقعی: ۳/۵ :ایزرائیل کیز قاتل سریالی - متجاوز - دزد بانک - آدمربا - نکروفیل - آتشافروز و این لیست ادامه دارد
اگر تمام ترسها رو میشد جمع کرد و بهش صورت آدمی رو داد، این مرد قطعاً گزینهی خوبی بود. از کیز و زندگیش اونقدر که باید نمیدونیم چون وقتی که دستگیر میشه فقط میخواسته بمیره و وقتی افبیآی اعدامش رو سریعتر عملی نمیکنه، خودش دست به کار میشه و جون خودش رو میگیره. اما اطلاعات خیلی کمی که از جرمهاش و طرز فکرش داریم به اندازه کافی ترسناک و غیرقابل باوره
[این قسمت اذیتکننده هست، اکر حساسید نخونید]
:کیز چند ویژگی خاص داره که مجرمانی که تا به حال در موردشون خوندم متفاوتش میکنه یک. معاصر بودن تقریباً اکثر قاتل سریالیهای بزرگ قب�� از سال ۲۰۰۰ هستند و نبود اینترنت، دوربین امنیتی، دیانای و ضعف پلیس کمک بزرگی براشون بود که به راحتی نقشههاشون رو عملی کنن. فعالیت کیز اما از سال ۲۰۰۱ تا ۲۰۱۲ هست. در اوج تکنولوژی
دو. قصر در رفتن کیز به حدی خوب رد خودش رو مخفی میکرده که حتی یک سابقهی کیفری هم نداشته! میزان هوش و برنامهریزیای که برای این مسئله لازمه دیوانهواره. ساعتها پشت کامپیوتر جستجو میکرده و کیلومترها سفر میکرده. او حتی تا اینجا پیش رفته که تعدادی عمل جراحی و کار پزشکی انجام داده که اونو به قاتل بهتری تبدیل کنه: تغییر اثر انگشت، جراحی اسلیو معده که بتونه ساعتها بدون غذا خوردن شکار کنه و کم کردن تعریق توسط بوتاکس برای به جا گذاشتن کمتر دیانای در نهایت هم تا قبل از مرگش فقط به سه قتل و تعدادی جرم دیگه اعتراف میکنه. درحالی که یادداشت خودکشیای که به جا میگذاره و شواهد دیگه نشون میده که این عدد میتونه تا یازده افزایش پیدا کنه
سه. شاگرد خوب کیز قاتل سریالیهای مهمی مثل تد باندی و اچ اچ هلمز رو ستایش میکرده و از روش کارشون یاد میگرفته. کتاب مایندهانتر براش آینهای بوده که خودش رو توش میدیده و برای بار اول حس میکرده که درک شده
چهار. کاربلدی ترکیب این تمایلات کثیف و با مهارت و قدرت جسمی بالا مثل بنزین و جرقهست. کیز از کودکی در جنگل و با کمترین امکانات بزرگ شد. یاد گرفت که چطور شکار کنه، خونه بسازه، قایق بسازه و وسایل رو تعمیر کنه. به دلیل علاقه زیادش به اسلحهها یاد گرفت که با انواع مختلفشون چطور کار کنه و حتی بمبهای دستی بسازه. در نهایت هم که به ارتش ملحق شد که به طور کامل به یک شکارچی تبدیل شد
پنج. انتخاب رندوم مجرمان و قاتل سریالیها اصولاً تایپ خودشون رو دارند. زن بلوند، مرد لاغر، زوجها. در مورد کیز اما انقدر همهچیز رندومه که قضیه رو ترسناکتر میکنه. به طور کلی یک درصد جمعیت جهان سایکوپت هستند. از اون تعداد بیشتر افراد در بیزینس مشغول به کارند و فقط درصد کمی قاتل سریالی هستند. فقط یک درصد قاتلان سریالی با انگیزه جنسی فعالیت میکنند. کیز توی این دایرهی خیلی کوچیکه. تازه کوچکتر. چون زن و مرد، پیر و جوان، زنده و مرده همه عامل تحریکشن
اما، همونقدر که این تفاوتها جالب توجه هست، شباهتهای همیشگی این آدمها بعد از خوندن هر کتاب من رو متعجب میکنه. الگوی خانوادهی مشکلدار، دوری از جامعه و نشان دادن رفتارهای پرخطر مثل کشتن حیوانات خانگی، آتشافروزی و دزدی در اکثرشون مشترکه. بیشتر این مردها رابطهی سالمی با مادرشون ندارند و پدرهایی دارند که غایب و یا متعرضند
کیز، همونطور که خودش میگه، محصول بدترینِ آمریکاست. تفکرات افراطی و فرقهای، برتری نژاد سفید، آزادی اسلحه و پورن. من به نسخهی صوتی کتاب گوش دادم که نسبتاً خوب خوانده شده بود. نحوهی روایت کتاب هم مشابه خیلی از کتابهای جرم بود که جا داشت خاصتر و گاهی دقیقتر باشه
این کانال جدیدیه که بعد از بسته شدن قبلی درست کردم و کتابها و ریویوها رو اینجا میگذارم Maede's Books
This was interesting enough to buoy me through a mini reading slump, but not something I’m going to give a second’s further thought after flipping the last page.
Stylistically, the first and second halves of this book read almost like two different pieces of writing. It wasn’t overt, and the material was still the same—still about Israel Keyes: his near-blundered capture, followed by his unspooling confessions—but the writing in the first part felt to me like barely more than a spruced-up Wikipedia article. Not bad, but not great, either. By the time we move into Keyes’ history and previous crimes, the prose loosens, lengthens, gathers steam and rhythm.
Story-wise… Maybe I’ve been spoiled by the elegant poignance and precision of Michelle McNamara’s I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. McNamara imbued her pages with much more than a recounting of facts. I felt myself moved to tears at the constellations of people she interviewed, befriended, and described—people, of which she was one, who were connected by pain and fury and injustice.
With Callahan, I just didn’t experience any emotions of even comparable magnitude. I’m not saying that every true crime book should have an “angle”—or that emotionality is an angle—but I do wish there had been more to this story than simply how the police/FBI captured America’s “most meticulous” serial killer. The primary emotion that American Predator roused within me was of body-shaking fury at how the investigators fucked up at almost every turn; the enormity of law enforcement incompetency throughout this case was astounding, and treated with a degree of flippancy that I did not find particularly palatable.
Whether intentional or not, I felt that American Predator, with its laser-focus on Israel Keyes, espoused a certain sensationalism that came at cost of denouncing the systems that foster and embolden police incompetence and violence against women.
Investigative reporter, Maureen Callahan, exceptionally brings to light one of America's (and possibly other countries') most terrifying, but practically unheard-of serial killer, Israel Keyes.
I really appreciated how Callahan: (1) retrieved extensive information about Keyes, even though she found it quite difficult, at times, to get full disclosure; (2) detailed, step-by-step, how Keyes committed some of his crimes (the abduction, torture and murder of middle-aged couple, Bill and Lorraine Courier, really hit home for me); (3) related Keyes's history by securing vital information from his psychiatric evaluation; and, (4) illustrated how specific procedures (e.g. questioning of suspects, a diving crew's strict course of action, etc.) are followed, and even then, how frustrating an investigation can be when proper conduct is not followed.
Callahan shows how Keyes stumped law enforcement because he didn't fit the FBI's criminal profiling in so many ways, leaving us to wonder, how many lives did Keyes take?
This is a well-documented and organized literary work which shows what a monster Keyes truly was. A must-read/listen for fans of true crime!
Last book of 2019 and man, it was a good one. This book is so heartbreaking and intense that I had to take multiple breaks from it.
"Most 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."
This book has consistently received 4/5 star ratings and I was interested to learn about Israel Keyes, a serial killer that most people have never heard of, including me. Let me give credit to the author for her in-depth research and interviews with people who were peripherally involved with Keyes. But the book just doesn't deliver and again I am in the minority!
Keyes confessed to one murder and suggested that maybe he committed two others but he held the police/FBI hostage as he refused to further elucidate if there were other victims. He made demands in order to reveal his victims and then would drop hints but no concrete evidence or names. The officials were working from the theory that Keyes had multitudes of victims and linked his name to almost any unsolved murder they could find. Frankly, it makes law enforcement look idiotic and Keyes as a smug manipulator. I kept waiting for something to happen but it wasn't to be. And then to top it off, and so ends the tale.
CW: descriptions of animal killing, rape, murder, suicide details, descriptions of bloody scenes and dead bodies
Well that was quite traumatic in parts but that's to be expected in a book about a serial killer.
This is one of the first true crime books I have read so I didn't really know what to expect. Not knowing anything about this killer worked in my favour as it was all new information to me. I have to say I thought it was utterly disturbing how wrong detectives and police got things throughout this investigation. An interesting look into the mind of a serial killer but I wasn't blown away by this book.
I don't read much true crime, but I saw this new release and decided to give it a shot. I had never heard of this serial killer before, which is frightening considering how many people he killed and the geographical range of where he did it. The book was written well and most importantly, it was written in a non-exploitative way. I'd recommend it if you're interested in true crime, but I gotta say during and after reading this I was really nervous to go out alone :/
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...
**SPOILER ALERTS in the review if you have not heard the case**
I was excited to see a book on this case so I put a hold at the library (and was first in line). The first two chapters were great and then, for me, I found myself not getting into the writing. This may have nothing to do with Callahan's writing, but my own expectations. True Crime Bullsh** just had so much information that this book felt like a brief summary to the case. It was hard to get a sense of Keyes, and his swarmy smugness and cold dead fell flat. If you are into true crime, and don't know this case, start with this book. If you have heard of this case and know a fair amount, I would skip it and listen to the podcast.
4.0 Stars This was a gripping piece of true crime that focused around a sociopathic serial killer. I was immediately pulled into the beginning of the novel which focused around the kidnapping of a young woman. I found the narrative in the later half to be less gripping because the information recounted felt more disjointed. Overall, I would recommend this one to anyone looking for a dark piece of true crime with a compelling narrative.
American Predator is a true crime novel that recounts how the FBI finally caught the intelligent and meticulous Israel Keyes—it’s shocking to me that I’d never heard of this guy.
I have no idea why there haven’t been a bunch of documentaries about this guy—he admitted to some stuff that helped the FBI close cases, but there was a lot of incompetence along the way at various law enforcement agencies. Maybe covering up the way they bungled some aspects of the case means that they aren’t willing to help out with information to fully bring this terrifying person to light. Or maybe we’re still so fascinated by Bundy and Dahmer and Gein and Gacy that we can barely handle learning the lessons of how some of Keyes’ victims managed to get away. Bundy was someone Keyes looked up to. Yipes. What the FBI did manage to uncover—which covered many states, in the lower 48 and Alaska—is harrowing. What’s equally harrowing is what they suspect but couldn’t prove, and how many potential deaths could possibly be attributed to this man.
If you’re a fan of true crime, this is worth a read.
Wow. Just wow. As a self-professed serial killer junkie (yes, I know that makes me sound unstable), I was blown away to discover a serial killer who was active and caught during my adulthood who I had never heard of. I am absolutely gobsmacked.
Israel Keyes was a textbook psychopath raised by "cult-chasers" and spent many of his formative years in a white supremacist cult and living off the grid (often in a tent or shack with no electricity or running water.) As an adult Israel traveled incessantly and erratically, all over the country and internationally as well. He raped and robbed and kidnapped and murdered. He lied and lied and lied. He was, frankly, an utter monster.
American Predator begins with the abduction of teenager Samantha Koenig in Anchorage, Alaska which results in Keyes' arrest. Authorities think they have a kidnapper and committer of credit card fraud, but soon realize they've apprehended a wildly active, unpredictable serial killer BY COMPLETE ACCIDENT.
Perhaps the scariest element of this story is the utter uselessness of the Anchorage PD, DA, and other law enforcement working on Keyes' case. Their ineptitude boggles the mind.
Despite the horror of this story, the book itself is gripping and I couldn't put it down. Highly recommended for all true crime fans.