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. 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 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 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. 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 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 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. 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 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. 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 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 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 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. 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 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. 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 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.
- 304 pages
- American Predator
- Maureen Callahan
- 09 November 2018 Maureen Callahan