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A Bustle “The Best New True Crime Books You Can Read Right Now”
“Maureen Callahan’s deft reporting and stylish writing have created one of the all-time-great serial-killer books: sensitive, chilling, and completely impossible to put down.” —Ada Calhoun, author of St. Marks Is Dead
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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
American Predator is a true-crime book that reads like a fast-paced police procedural. Veteran journalist Maureen Callahan takes us into the mind of a serial killer who crisscrossed the country committing all manner of bizarre crimes—notably, at least a dozen murders. FBI agents identified and caught the low-key Israel Keyes only by sheer luck following a shocking kidnapping and homicide in Anchorage, Alaska. Callahan takes a compassionate-yet-thrilling look at the intense—and sometimes corrupt—investigation and the perpetrator of the most sensational crime spree you’ve never heard of.
Investigative journalist Callahan (Champagne Supernovas: Kate Moss, Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen, and the '90s Renegades Who Remade Fashion) provides a chilling true-crime narrative in this detailed study of Israel Keyes, whom she describes as "a new kind of monster, likely responsible for the greatest string of unsolved disappearances and murders in modern American history." In 2012, a multi-jurisdictional search for Keyes, believed responsible for abducting 18-year-old Samantha Koenig from the Anchorage, Alaska, coffee kiosk where she worked, led to him being stopped for speeding in Texas. In his wallet, the police found Samantha's driver's license. Keyes confessed to killing Samantha, but was less forthcoming about other murders he said he'd committed, and the exact number of his victims was unresolved at the time of his suicide in custody, though he is believed to have killed at least 11 people over 14 years. The text is replete with disturbing revelations such as Keyes having carefully studied books by the FBI's top experts on profiling and serial killers. Through Callahan's access to many of the key players in law enforcement, she has produced the definitive account of a terrifying psychopath. \n